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  5. "Justice is expensive."

"Justice is expensive."

Translation:Justiça é caro.

February 28, 2013



Is this right? Isn't it "cara"?


This is a particular case of the nominal agreement. There are many special cases in the portuguese nominal agreement and the word "caro" is one of them.

1) The word caro:
- If it's an adjective: it follows the main rule
ex: Os sapatos estavam caros. / As bananas estão caras.
- If it's an adverb: it's invariable
ex: Comprei caro os sapatos. / As bananas custaram caro.

2) Expressions similar to "É Bom / É Necessário / É Proibido / É Permitido", in this case "É caro":
- These expressions only agree with the noun if it's preceded by an article or a similar word; otherwise, the expression remains invariable:
ex: Água mineral é bom. / A água mineral é boa para a saúde.
ex: Virtude é necessário. / A virtude é necessária.
ex: Bebida alcoólica é proibido. / A bebida alcoólica é proibida.

So, following this second “rule”:

I'm not an expert, I'm just trying to show you how I see it.
If you're interested in learning more particular cases, I found these pages (you can choose which one is easier for you to understand):



Thank you so much for digging so deeply into Portuguese grammar to discover this gem. I answered another question in this discussion using my hazy understanding of what Paulenrique had said and your answer is so much better than mine. There I say that this is probably too subtle a point to be the subject of a Duolingo exercise, but now I'm glad they included it because I learnt a lot from the comments here.


Excellent research, however, I forgot to add one point. In portuguese, it sometimes also depends on who is saying something. For example:

Eu sou rico (I'm rich) --- Man is saying it; Eu sou rica (I'm rich) --- Woman is saying it

In addition, it also depends on who or what you're talking about, for example:

É bonita (she's beautiful)--- looking at a girl; É bonito (he's beautiful/handsome)--- looking at a boy;


Not really. On this sentence "caro" might mean hard/difficult, in general, so it's not related to the word justiça.maybe this is the why they used in the masculine form. It also may mean "justice takes much effort". i dunno if you got the point, but i think the word "expensive" on this case didnt work well... "justice is hard" would be better, then could be translated as "justiça é caro". Got it?


Paulo, there are two discussions about this sentence, I just wrote this in the other one:

The Michaelis online dictionary has a second definition of "caro" (the first is "highly valued" or "expensive") which seems to fit here, it is: "2. difficult, hard earned, requiring sacrifices or considerable expense".

This meaning agrees with what you are saying. Even with this meaning it is still an adjective and I would have thought it needed to agree in gender with "Justiça" and become "cara". But, from what you say there is another rule I'm missing, the idea that the word is a general property and keeps its masculine form. Do you have any examples of other words that work like this?


ok, "manteiga(fem) é bom(masc)" / "salsa (a type of dance) is chato(masc)" / "lasanha(fem) é gostoso(masc)" / "casa é muito caro(masc - expensive)"... but you have to say "ESSA casa é muito cara" (specific house)


I think I see what your saying. That's something I have never noticed before. Thanks so much for these examples, in fact, if I saw them elsewhere I would probably be smug enough to think I'd spotted an error in the Portuguese :-)


for this structure you can't use article, plural, or any other quantifier: "casa é caro", "casas são caras", "as casas são caras", "essa casa é cara", "minha casa é cara". that structure is just for general contexts.


Err, I think you have made a strange mistake there. The examples you're using may confuse people. It depends on context. For example:

Comer manteiga é bom para a saude -- correct

(A) manteiga é boa -- correct; (A) manteiga é bom -- wrong;

o prato de lasanha(fem) é gostoso(masc) -- Correct; (A) lasanha(fem) é gostosa -- Correct; (A) lasanha(fem) é gostoso -- wrong;

The same applies to the rest of your examples. The actor, the verb, or noun, may change the "gender" of the adjective.

I think if duolingo provided the whole sentence it would be something like : Fazer justiça é caro --- correct ; o custo da Justiça é caro -- correct; o valor gasto com a justiça é caro -- correct; A justiça é caro --- wrong;

Hope it helps.

Also it's worth noting that duolingo seems to be using brazilian portuguese, which is odd, since Portuguese originates in Portugal. Although as a whole, its mainly the same, there are subtle differences which may create some misunderstandings.


I think you're right, I did research and then I answered the question using some of the explanations I found. =)


I think I get it, but since we're learning adjectives and all the plural/singular masculine/feminine complications, this phrase/translation might prove to be misleading in the beginning phases of the exercises.


for sure... sometimes I also get a little bit stressed when that happens. sometimes I just write down the sentence in order to not lose hearts again!! Hope you can get through this!! :)


I think you're right :O


Shouldn't this be "Justiça é cara"?


See the comments by Paulenrique elsewhere in this discussion. The way I try to understand what he says is to consider "caro" here to have the quality of an abstract noun (meaning hard or difficult to obtain) and to think of the sentence as equating "justiça" and "caro" and thus gender agreement doesn't come into it. Whether this a good way of looking at things I don't know. Anyway, it seems too subtle a point for a Duolingo exercise and they should stick with less advanced concepts I believe.

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