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I was confused by that too since the last example didn't use an article with it.
I don't understand what 'as' does in this sentences - I mean I would translate this as "I read the your letter" - why isn't it just "Eu leio suas cartas?"
I just accept it as how the Portuguese mind thinks these things out. The article is superfluous for the English speaker (and, assumably, the German as well) but if they think, I read the letters yours, and we mentally translate and then let it go into the subconscious, it's no biggie! French has a LOT of that sort of thing, with reflexive verbs. "I me brush the teeth [mine]' (i.e., "Je me brosse les dents") -you get used to it, and then it's fun.
But this is an entirely different construction (Spanish has the same). I brush my teeth = Yo me cepillo los dientes, but it's because you are doing the brushing to yourself, not because the teeth are yours. In Spanish, you can express "my teeth" as "mis dientes" or as "los dientos mios" but never as "los mis dientes." This is a new construction to me, and I have to admit I don't understand it.
It wouldn't be so surprising if you were Italian, they would translate it as "Io leggo le tue lettere", i.e., the article is always present, even if superfluous. In Portuguese the article is optional, although European Portuguese speakers use it always.
Yes, the pronouns seu/sua/seus/suas are used for both the 3rd person singular and plural.
So 'I read your letters' and 'I read her letters' are both correct answers here? How to distinguish between the two? Or if you were talking to a man, would you say 'eu leio os seus cartas'?
90% of the times, "eu leio (as) suas cartas" means "I read your letters". There is a better translation for "I read his/her letters" which is "eu leio as cartas dele/dela", and we prefer to use that one to remove ambiguity.
If you're talking to a man you say the same thing, "eu leio (as) suas cartas", because "suas" is connected to "cartas" which is feminine. But we say:
- Eu leio (os) seus livros.
because "livros" is masculine.
It can be "tuas", but never "teus", because "cartas" is feminine and "teus" is masculine.
It's a valid translation. Just not how a native (PT-BR that is) will understand without the context.
as mentioned above, you can only use it that way, the only think is that it would be a little informal.. not that you cannot be understood, the phrase has the exact same meaning..
I can't understand why "suas" has two meanings!! How I'll know if it's " her" or " your"??? N also why we put "as" before suas, , what the point???
"suas" will always mean your, as the example we´re discussing.. the context will provide you with that information.. Are we talking about Marie's letters or John's letters?.. you get it? that is going to define it.. and talking about "as" that is only a rule that cannot be more than accepted.. but as I replied before, the meaning is exactly the same, just informal..
I'd never use "suas" for "your" because of this ambiguity in the "third person you" (which i feel is ridiculous). I'd rather use "tuas" for "your". Online Portuguese websites also list second person as "tu". But you know, reality is far from ideal :D
So, I think in portuguese, possessive pronouns (When the pronouns does not touch the noun) have to have the article. While in possessive adjectives(when the pronoun touches the noun), the article is optional. Can anyone confirm?