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"A menina ajuda o gato a comer."

Translation:The girl helps the cat to eat.

October 31, 2013



Well, in portuguese, it sounds strange to omit the "a". Sorry, but it is not natural. It would be something like writing this: "The girl helps the cat eat", without the "to". Hope it helped.


That's perfectly fine in English.


Haha I guess I've been speaking English and Spanish unnaturally too because I always omit the "to"! Oh well, I guess maybe it depends on formality? Thanks for your input! :)


:) I guess sometimes I also forget this, in english. But no, it is not about formality. In portuguese, some verbs need a particle to link them to the next thing, while others don't. We call it "artigo": in english, "article". Hence, we say "ajuda a comer", with article. But we say "Eu paguei Pedro" (without article), which means "I payed Pedro".

The first would be a "verbo transitivo direto", because it links directly to the noun. The second, with article, is a "verbo transitivo indireto", because it is indirectly linked. It need the article to make its connection to the next item.

By the way, according to "definr (dot) com" (an online very fast dictionary), "article" in this case means: "(Grammar) a determiner that may indicate the specificity of reference of a noun phrase"

To make things even worse, in some cases we need to use both forms in the same sentence. Some verbs are what we call "transitivo direto e indireto", which mean they need both (with and without article).

You're welcome, Paulo


Yes, and ajudar is a predicament! It is a direct and indirect verb! =). A person can say "eu o ajudo" (direct) and "eu lhe ajudei" (indirect).


We call it "artigo": in english, "article".

I thought we called them "prepositions"...



Sure! You're correct.


Well, then this paragraph also does not apply here:

By the way, according to "definr (dot) com" (an online very fast dictionary), "article" in this case means: "(Grammar) a determiner that may indicate the specificity of reference of a noun phrase"

And this too:

Hence, we say "ajuda a comer", with article. But we say "Eu paguei Pedro" (without article), which means "I payed Pedro"


It can be confusing enough trying to learn PT... That's all.


Wow. Hopefully it'll just start to come naturally with practice. If not I'm going to have to take a 5 min break for every PT conversation just to consult grammar haha. Thanks a lot though, this will definitely help with my writing.


Don't worry, you're doing well. Just keep going. One lesson a day (or two) and a lot of patience: that's all it takes. In the beginning, every new skill is like this. We need to stop and think before we act. After a while, it becomes natural and, then, automatic.

Think about the process of learning to drive a car. It's a nightmare to think, look here and there, decide, turn the wheel, push pedals, shift gears, break and another thousand details. In the beginning, even a short talk to someone is enough to break concentration and mess everything.

Then, all of a sudden, it becomes automatic. It's very much like a muscle. If you use it, it grows. If you stop using, it shrinks.


This was helpful. Thanks


what prevents this sentence from meaning: 'the girl helps the cat to eat her' ?


I believe because there is no clitic/reflexive such as comer-se...


How necessary is the "a" before "comer"? Is it more of a formality? Basically, is it grammatically incorrect to say, "A menina ajuda o gato comer"?


The natural way is to omit A


To echo a question already asked here but not definitively answered:

What prevents this sentence from meaning: "the girl helps the cat to eat her"?


= A menina ajuda o gato a comê-la.


Why the ê? In that form it must have a different representation than "come"?


You when have "-lo,-la,-los,-las", the infinitive changes:

  • abraçar = abraçá-
  • comer = comê-
  • proibir = proibi-
  • concluir = concluí-


Okay, thanks for that. I won't ask anymore in that case because I'm pretty sure I've not studied them here yet!


Here, these might help you understand the "clitics" better because, in my opinion, I do not think Duo explains them well (to be fair, they are rather difficult and involved):


Lo/La | Los/Las

If the last sound before the enclitic is a consonant, substitute the consonant and use the forms with l (since the mesoclitics are triggered by two verb tenses with radicals ending in -r, the third person mesoclitic pronouns are always -lo/la/los/las).:

  • [Tu] Amava-lo assim tanto? Did you love him that much?

Here, the form amavas lost its s in the process; in some situations (periphrastic/ modal verbs with main verbs of the first and second conjugations in the infinitive; mesoclisis of those same verbs in the future and conditional), you may also need to add an accent to the last vowel to maintain its sound before the change:

  • [Ele] vai amá-lo para sempre. He will love him forever.

Here, amar lost its r in the process of receiving an enclitic, but the language needed a device to make sure people pronounce the open a that existed in –ar before the change; incidentally, this also helps distinguish it from [ele/ela] ama, which has two different closed As (and wouldn’t fit here.

  • [Tu] tê-lo-ás. You will/shall have it. (terás)

If the infinitive/verb radical ends in -ar (first conjugation), the verb form will end in -á; if the infinitive ends in -er (second conjugation), the verb form will end in -ê. Third conjugation verbs (ending in -ir) simply lose the r.

  • Conhecê-lo é amá-lo. To know him is to love him.

(Conhecer / Amar) [Tu] Vais tingi-la de azul. You will dye it [e.g. a shirt] blue. (Tingir)

Bonus reading:


But be aware, while these are written by a former course contributor and mod for the PT course here on DL, these are written from an EP standpoint (but it applies to formal BR too).


The chronology of this thread is quite hard to follow, hence so is the content. Thus, I need to ask again. Why is it "a comer"? To me that looks like - to to eat.

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