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I don't know if this ever got explained to people learning Portuguese, but I noticed my favorite learner making a simple but consistent mistake. I could not understand why he was mixing up "onde é" and "onde está" until I got to this question and I finally understand where it's coming from. So decided to share this here, because this is the question that made it clear to me. I might open up a thread to let more people know though. Anyway, here is a quick tidbit:
Onde é a cozinha? is not the same as Onde está a cozinha?
Onde é is used for things that do not move. Like a kitchen, a bathroom, a country, a train station. Onde é a cozinha? means "Where is the kitchen (located)?"
Onde está is used for things that move or can change place, like a person, a car, my lost keys, his cat. Onde está a cozinha? would translate to Where is the kitchen (now)? as in "Where did the kitchen go?"
If you're not in a very formal setting, and you forget which to use, use "cadê" (Cadê a cozinha?), which just means "where is" without specifying the details of the question–just like in English. =)
The choice between ser and estar is also based on whether or not the trait being discussed is a temporary state or a fixed characteristic.
The fact that I am in the kitchen (eu estou na cozinha) is temporary so it uses estar.
The fact that I am tall (eu sou alto) doesn't really change and is a characteristic of my self so it uses ser.
The fact that I am young (I wish) is a characteristic of the self, so Eu sou jovem even though it is really a temporary state.
Lexflex is correct! Aonde is "a+onde" or, in other words, see if you could replace it with "para onde" (to where, to what place). If you could add a "to where" or "where to" in the English version of the sentence, use "aonde". If not, use "onde". For example, for the sentences:
Where do you want to go?
I could say, at least in my head:
Where (to) do you want to go? / Where do you want to go (to)
But if the sentence is something like
Where is the key?
"Where (to) is the key)?"
That wouldn't work so well in this case, right? So use the default onde here.
Onde = Where
Aonde = Where to
Onde você está? = Where are you?
Aonde você vai? = Where are you going?
[note] = Many, many Brazilians do not know the difference and use aonde when they simply mean where. Especially in speech. So try not to get confused by that. =]
In English it is proper to avoid ending a sentence with a proposition, as in, "Where are you going 'to'?" It would correctly be said "To where are you going?" (The preposition is not really needed here at all when speaking informally, as it is assumed that the inquirer wants to know specifically where the person is going.) Having this in mind helps me to determine when I want to use "onde" or "aonde".
That long-discounted rule (dating from a grammarian in the 17th c.) results in unnatural speech. No native speaker of English would use say: To where are you going?
The rules for the placement of prepositions in English are different from romance languages.
I'm not native Portuguese but I am pretty sure of this: 'Onde' = where. 'Aonde', [= A Onde = to where] = 'where (...) to'. 'Aonde' is used when something/someone is going somewhere. Like "where(to) are you going?" (answer: "TO Portugal" ). But if you canNOT use 'to' ('a', 'ao', 'à'), in either the question or the answer, then you probably should use 'onde'. Like "Where is Portugal?" "IN Southern Europe".
Correct me if I'm wrong
That's right, in most cases stress falls on the second-to-last syllable, except for words ending in -i, -im, -is, -u, -um, -us or in a consonant (other than -s, -m) where stress falls on the last syllable.
Stress on the last syllable, but without explicit accent:
- assim (ends in -im)
- ali (ends in -i)
- xampu (ends in -u)
- algum (ends in -um)
- abril (ends in a consonant)
- jantar (ends in a consonant)
- juiz (ends in a consonant, in contrast to juíza)
Stress should normally be on the last syllable, but is marked by an accent as it is actually not on the last syllable:
- grátis (ends in -is)
- chapéu (ends in -u)
- dólar (ends in a consonant)
- açúcar (ends in a consonant)
- nível (ends in a consonant)
- útil (ends in a consonant)
- álcool (ends in a consonant)
- ônibus (ends in a consonant)
Stress should normally be on the second-to-last syllable, but is marked by an accent as it is actually not on the second to last syllable:
- porém (ends in a consonant, but it is -m and not -im, -um)
- através (ends in a consonant, but it is -s and not -is, -us)
Someone shared with me a VERY simple tool to remember most of the exceptions to the 'emphasis on the 2nd to last syllable: LUZIR (pronounced like "Loo-zer" in English - any word that ends with those 5 letters gets the accent. I can't tell you all the exceptions. But by the time you have immersed yourself in listening to and speaking whatever you learn, you'll figure them out!
Yes, LUZIR is a good mnemonic (another version of it is "RULIZ"), but it misses two important cases:
- addition of a final -m or -s after -i or -u (words ending in -im, -is, -um, -us)
- any other consonant (mostly in foreign words)
Those two cases cover about 10% of Portuguese words, mostly with the -is ending.
Wikidictionary defines secretariat as "a permanent administrative office or department, esp. a governmental one." Does that fit the use of 'secretaria' in portuguese?
Wiki defines 'office' as "a room, set of rooms, or building used as a place for commercial, professional, or bureaucratic work." I believe this is most likely what is translated as "escritório". There is a 2nd definition of office - "a position of authority, trust, or service, typically one of a public nature: the office of attorney general" - which I'm sure would be a different word in portugese which I have not yet learned.
I think it's a strange question because Duolingo suggests two possible answers: Where is the office? or Where is the administrative office? I chose the second one, but...it's wrong!! What a shame!! I am not a native speaker but I guess all language have a logical structure... "Secretária" in Portuguese means a administrative department in schools, universities etc, The notion of "office" is a "escritório" in the company, firms etc. Maybe the logical tradution would be "Where is the secretary"?? Duolingo answers another possible tradution: Where is the general office? It's a mess of possible meanings.