"Você tocou em um elefante?"

Translation:Have you touched an elephant?

October 24, 2013

This discussion is locked.


I'm still not understanding why the "em" is necessary here.


Some verbs simply ask for a preposition.

If you play an instrument, you use "tocar" without a preposition:

  • Tocar violão = To play the guitar
  • Tocar piano = To play the piano

If you touch something, you use "em".


I've seen tocar no a lot. I don't understand, which is it tocar em ou no?

  • tocar em = to touch
  • tocar no = to touch the + masculine noun


These same phrases also appear in the reverse tree (English from Portuguese) and when the translation was "voce tocou um elefante" without "em" it didn't seem to make sense to a lot of the native speakers. I read comments like: "What was he trying to do? Play the elephant as if it were a musical instrument?"

It looks like they're slowly changing all the translations where you touch something with your hand to "tocar em" in Portuguese.


Funny. Thanks for the chuckle.


Can't "em" and um" be put together to make "num"? It would make sense since you can make "no" with "em" and "o".


yes, but some of them are not mandatory. Writing "num" or "em um" is opitional.


"Num" is welcome in Portugal. In Brazil it's often in speech, but it's not seen as formal when in writing.


Could someone please tell me how a present perfect construction (Have you touched an elephant?) and a past simple construction ("Did you touch an elephant?") be interchangeable?

This has to be the most confusing part of this course so far for me.


I think it's in the article. Voice tocou em UM elefante- It kinda sounds weird to say did touch an elephant, unless maybe the questioner recognizes a certain smell. Have you ever touched an elephant (I've taken the liberty of adding ever, feels more idiomatic in English) makes more sense here.

Você tocou NO elefante- in this case the article tells us it's a particular elephant, and implies maybe a particular instance, so did you touch the elephant feels like a more natural translation.


So this means both, Did you touch an elephant and Have you touched an elephant?


"Você tocou num elefante" is marked wrong, shouldn't it be excepted?


It's also right.


I spelled tocou incorrectly. I spelled it "touco" because that is how it sounded to me. What is the difference?


Dona Robovoz does not appear do be pronouncing "tocou" properly.

I hear her saying the first syllable with an "o" aberto. Since the "o" is unstressed in this verb form, it should be pronounced fechado.

Any Brazilians care to comment on this?


Bad sound, indeed.

Both "o" should be closed like "ô", the first should be weak, the second strong.

[deactivated user]

    "tocar" also could be "tocar um instrumento" - so this sounds to me like "Have you played (drums?) ON an elephant? :-) I'd leave out the "em" ...


    Why is "did you touch an elephant?" wrong here?


    How about " Você tocou um elefante?"


    It does not sound good.


    But, if you're talking in present tense you'd say, 'Voce toca um elefante'. Is there any particular reason we add 'em'? Or is this just the way it is?


    I'd say "você toca em um elefante". We usually say "tocar em", and a few times just "tocar".


    This is confusing my Spanish brain...

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