I wrote "There is a fish on this cup" because I was under the impression that nesta/nesto meant "on the." It made sense to me in that it's probably more likely that you'd have a picture of a fish ON a cup rather than an actual fish IN a cup. Is that a reasonable translation? And if not, how would you say "There is a fish on this cup"?
I think "he/she/ has a fish..." should also be accepted, shouldn't it? As in "Ele/ela tem um peixe..."
Nope, tem is also used as in "there is/are" for us. "Tem uma mosca na sua sopa" = There is a fly in your soup. "Tem duas garotas andando na rua" = There are two girls walking on the street. If we were going to say someone has a fish, we would use the pronoun "Ele/ela tem um peixe". People always think we drop our pronouns a lot like in spanish, but we don't, it's more common with the first person singular and plural because they are more distinguishable, but we use the third person singular conjugation a lot: ele tem, ela tem, você tem, a gente tem, eles têm¹, vocês têm¹ and also this 'there is/are' thing. So it's better to say the pronoun in case of this conjugation to not get people confused on who you're talking about...
¹This is the third person plural, but it has the same pronounce as the singular conjugation.
Thanks for your information.
With regards to your footnote, in Portugal the pronunciation of (ele) tem and (eles) têm are different. The 'têm' case almost sounds like it has two syllables which, phonetically written in English, sound something like 'tay-ain' spoken quickly. The singular case 'tem' only has one syllable and could be written phonetically in English like 'tain'. The difference in the sounds are subtle, and if someone from Portugal speaks quickly, it may not be easy to distinguish.
The same rules of pronunciation follow for the verb vir (ele vem / eles vêm), and possibly other verbs too.
I'm curious whether there indeed is no difference in pronunciation between tem and têm (and vem and vêm) in Brazil or other Portuguese speaking countries? Can anyone confirm, please?
Thanks for getting back to me. I wasn't sure whether it was a country-wide thing or a dialect from a particular part of Brazil. Thanks for teaching me!
I'm still curious whether people in other Portuguese speaking countries like Angola etc. make a distinction in their pronunciation of 'tem' and 'têm' as in Portugal, or whether they follow the Brazilian convention. Does anyone have an idea? Thanks!
Their Portuguese is usually more inclined to the European variety, so I suppose that can be considered a tip. But it's difficult to know nowadays, so much has changed, African portuguese-speaking countries import a lot of Brazilian culture as much as Portugal. Which may (MAY!) change the way they speak, even if just a little bit.
Haha, a very informative video - thanks a lot for providing the link!
Something the guy in the video does not explain is why the spellings of 'têm' etc. do not change with the Acordo Ortográfico. Perhaps this could be because the Portuguese pronounce 'têm' differently, so would be confused by the singular case spelling?
there is = tem is a popular form; formal portuguese = there is, there are = há. ( no Brasil e em África, o verbo ter é frequentemente usado, no registro informal, em substituição do verbo haver nas acepções impessoais de 'estar presente, encontrar-se', 'existir', 'acontecer, realizar-se' <tem muita gente ainda aí fora; tem muito tempo que ele não aparece; hoje vai ter teatro de graça no clube>; tal emprego é considerado impróprio, mas ocorre também. no português de Portugal, tratando-se de um arcaísmo datável do sXIV - Houaiss)
See cinthiia_mc's comment. It is the 3rd person singular present tense version of "ter" (to have). Here it is used informally to mean "there is" (normally written using the "há" form of the verb "haver"). It only takes this meaning when it is used without a pronoun, so "Ele tem uma bola" = "He has a ball", but "Tem uma bola" = "There is a ball" (i.e. it is impersonal so you could also think of it as "One has a ball" if that makes more sense to you).
The café has chairs OR there are chairs in the restaurant - these sentences are the same and can be said in Portuguese as "O café tem cadeiras" or "Há cadeiras no café" Compare with "She has a car" (ele tem um carro) - you would never use "there is a car" in this situation. So, you use Have (ter) for possession, and you can use Have (ter) or There is (haver) to indicate that something exists.