Monday, February 12, 2018

WHEN TO USE "TUDO" AND WHEN TO USE "TODO" IN PORTUGUESE?



Image (Hope) by Hollywata (CC BY 2.0)
Todo o tempo eu recebo dúvidas sobre "TUDO" e "TODO". Tudo o que eu posso fazer é tentar escrever este artigo. Talvez este artigo não tire todas as suas dúvidas. Em todo o caso, não deixe de ler este artigo todo...



I know! I know!The introduction above was really a dull pun, wasn't it? But I promise to improve my puns to the next time... Well, last week I had a conversation with Killian (from Ireland) and Lucía (from Spain). These two friends study Portuguese and it was a pleasure to meet them. In this conversation, one thing caught my eye... Let's see some of the phrases they told me:

  • "Eu vou às aulas de português tudo dia." [WRONG]
  • "Tuda comida brasileira é boa." [WRONG]
  • "Eu não consegui entender todo." [WRONG]

  • The conversation was interesting because both Killian and Lucía told me they already thought these phrases were wrong, but they weren't sure what the right way would be. And you? Would you know what the correct form is for the sentences above?


    The first step is always in the dictionary...

    First of all, we have to know very well what the words "TUDO" and "TODO" mean actually. For this, let's see the table below:

    TUDO TODO
    WHAT IS IT?
    It's always an Indefinite Pronoun. And it will never have variations, you will always write and say "TUDO". It is interesting to note that the opposite of "TUDO" is "NADA".

    HOW CAN I TRANSLATE IT?
    English: everything, all, anything.
    Spanish: todo
    French: tout
    Italian: tutto, ogni cosa

    MAIN IDEAS:
    1) All things. Every thing.
    2) All things within a set.
    WHAT IS IT?
    It can be an indefinite pronoun, it can be an adjective and it can be a noun. Let's see that it has variations: "TODO", "TODOS", "TODA", "TODAS".

    HOW CAN I TRANSLATE IT?
    English: the whole, totality, all, whole, complete, every, any
    Spanish: todo, entero, completo, total, cada
    French: tout, tous, toutes
    Italian: tutto, tutti, ogni, intero

    MAIN IDEAS:
    1) As an indefinite pronoun: Any
    2) As an adjective: whole, complete
    3) As a noun: generality, set


    When should I use "TUDO"?

    See how good it is to devote a little time to grammar? Now, you already know that "TUDO" it's a pronoun indefinite, you know that "TUDO" means "all things"/"everything" and you know that "TUDO" is invariant. With this information, you already know that there is no phrases like:

  • "tudas as coisas" [WRONG]
  • "Eu li tudos os livros." [WRONG]
  • "Tudos os alunos responderam." [WRONG]

  • Can you explain why these sentences are wrong and sound very strange? Exactly! First, "TUDO" should never have variations. So, there is no "tudos", there is no "tudas" and there is no "tuda". Another thing, "TUDO" means "all things within a set". So, if I say "Eu li tudo os livros", I would be redundant. It's like I'm saying "I've read all the books books." and that doesn't make sense;

    Well done! Now that we know how not to use the word "TUDO", let's see how to use it in a proper way:

    Avoiding Repetition:
  • "Paulo, você leu todos os livros?"
    "Sim, eu li tudo."
  • "Você acha que a Marcela vai conseguir passar nas provas e nas atividades?"
    "Claro! Ela vai passar em tudo."

  • Combining with other indefinite pronouns:
  • Você lembra o que aconteceu no parque? Tudo aquilo foi muito estranho.
  • Ô Carla, tudo isto é seu?

  • Indicating the totality of what exists:
  • Nestas eleições, tudo pode acontecer.
  • Você acha que uma bomba atômica pode destruir tudo?

  • Indicating the totality of what exists in a set:
  • Nestas eleições, tudo o que está dentro da lei pode acontecer.
  • Uma bomba atômica pode destruir tudo nesta cidade.


  • When should I use "TODO"?

    When we think about use "TODO", we need to pay even more attention. Because in its case there are variations...So,Now let's remember the possibilities we have when we user "TODO":


    When "TODO" is synonymous of "WHOLE", "COMPLETE":

    Usually, the word "TODO" gives us the idea of "TOTALITY" ("WHOLE", "COMPLETE"). And in these cases, We have to use an article with it and we always will use its singular form. Let's see some examples:

  • Durante todo o dia, conversaram sobre o mesmo assunto.
  • Em todo o mundo se fazem festas.
  • A cidade toda se comoveu com aquela história.

  • Did you notice we can use the article before or after the noun? See the examples:

  • Durante todo o dia, conversaram sobre o mesmo assunto.
  • Durante o dia todo, conversaram sobre o mesmo assunto.
  • Em todo o mundo se fazem festas.
  • No mundo todo se fazem festas. (lembre-se que "EM" + "O" = "NO")
  • Toda a cidade se comoveu com aquela história.
  • A cidade toda se comoveu com aquela história.

  • Within this idea, there is an special form of using "TODO" without the article. That's when we want to have the idea of "ENTIRELY", "COMPLETELY".And in this special case we can use its plural form. See examples:

  • Ela está toda preocupada.
  • Acabamos de ver as crianças todas chorosas.
  • Depois da chuva, ele ficou todo molhado.


  • When "TODO" is synonymous with "ANY" or "EACH":

    In Brazilian Portuguese, there is another special way of using "TODO" to give us the idea of "ANY" or "EACH". I believe you already know the famous "todo dia" that Brazilian people love to say (it means "every day" in English). Let's see other examples:

  • Todo dia, ela faz tudo sempre igual.
  • Todo homem tem um preço.
  • Nem toda mulher gosta de maquiagem.
  • Toda pessoa precisa de bons alimentos.

  • NOTE:
    Remember that those examples above are used only in Brazil, OK? The form used in Portugal and the other countries where European Portuguese is spoken is "todos os..." ou "todas as..." (always in plural). This form is popular in Brazil too , but in Portugal is the only acceptable form. Other examples:

  • Todos os dias, ela faz tudo sempre igual.
  • Todos os homens têm um preço.
  • Nem todas as mulheres gostam de maquiagem.
  • Todas as pessoas precisam de bons alimentos.


  • When "TODO" is a noun (sinonimous of "SET"):

    There's a situation where "TODO" means "THE SET" or "THE TOTALITY". Let's see examples:

  • "Há bolsões de desenvolvimento, mas o país como um todo é atrasado".
  • "Quando eu digo que não gostei da decoração da casa dela, não me refiro apenas aos móveis, mas ao todo."



    This is a very complex subject. There are more special cases and other considerations regarding the differences of use in Brazil and Portugal. There are also cases where "TUDO" and "TODO"Have a different meaning according to an specific expression (as the one that I used in the text that accompanies the photo of this article)... But, I hope this article has helped with the most common questions. Don't forget to leave your comment!






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