"O gerente trabalha mal."

Translation:The manager works badly.

March 2, 2013



I think its only "barely" works if mal comes before the verb

May 29, 2013


That's what I thought. "The manager barely works" = "O gerente mal trabalha", but "O gerente trabalha mal" = The manager is not a good worker. (Although that isn't the literal translation here, it just sounds better to me)

January 30, 2014


story of my life!

March 24, 2014


Sounded like she said 'mau' not 'mal'

January 2, 2016


That really is a factual issue with Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation (especially this approximation to the Rio de Janeiro dialect, however robotic it may sound at times): words ending in a vowel + L combination usually turn into diphthongs, so "mal" does end up sounding a lot like "mau" (regular people make the same mistake you just did).

That said, the only possible option here on structural, logical terms is an adverb (since you're qualifying the verb "trabalhar", i.e. how he works), so only "mal" could ever fit the bill for the sentence.

January 2, 2016


so you mean it's wrong to pronounce mal as mau, or what do you mean by the "mistake"?

July 14, 2016


The mistake is assuming you're using the adjective "mau" instead of the adverb "mal".´

Some Brazilian people might make that mistake in writing (for example, in a chat room/comment board) because they're not fully aware of the difference. Why aren't they aware of the difference? Because they pronounce these two different words in the same way [think of "their/they're/there" confusion in English, it's exactly the same process].

July 15, 2016


I'm not a native speaker, but I believe what Luis_Domingos was saying is that it is not uncommon to confuse/mistake mal and mau in spoken Brazilian Portuguese. However, in this sentence only the adverb mal makes sense because the verb trabalhar is being modified.

July 14, 2016


That's exactly right - since "-al" works as diphthong [aw] in most Brazilian Portuguese dialects, people pronounce "mau" and "mal" in exactly the same way (making them homophones).

In European Portuguese, we pronounce these "L"s as a separate consonant, so no such problems arise.

July 15, 2016


The manager works "badly", so, why cannot be "bad"?? both words could be accepted

January 8, 2016


Bad is an adjective (describes nouns) and badly is an adverb (describes verbs, and sometimes adjectives – in this case how he works).

Adverbs can usually be identified in English by the suffix ly (added at the end) such as safely, nicely, wonderfully and of course, usually, But not always as well for instance is also an adverb. Adverbs describe how an action is done or performed. They are careful (describes they; careful people); they cut carefully (describes how they cut).

All that said, I personally would use poor and poorly in many sentences rather than bad and badly. He has poor taste in clothes but, the milk tastes bad. She works poorly but, she feels badly about that.

But also just the negation, he does not work well is often used.

June 26, 2017


It's clear from the discussion that the sentence means the manager's work is bad. The question is how to translate it, since he "works badly" is simply not idiomatic in English, though there's nothing grammatically wrong with it. Should Duo be made to accept translations that represent what a native English speaker would say to convey the meaning of the Portuguese sentence? That would be good for non-native English speakers who are using the program to improve their English. Examples could be "The manager does poor work" or "The does his job poorly." Other solutions?

February 20, 2019


"The manager hardly works" wasn't accepted :'(

May 7, 2014


I think it is because "hardly works" means he does not work the time is required or is quite difficult to make him work. On the other hand "works badly" means he doesn't work they way it has to be worked, and that's what "trabalha mal" means.

In spanish we have "trabaja mal" and has the same escence than the portuguese one, but "mal trabaja" do means "hardly works". I do not know if you can say "mal trabalha" but I think it would be the correct translation for your answer.

May 7, 2015


how about mau?

August 24, 2014



This helped me a bit. If somebody can clarify what I got from this is pretty much mau/bom are opposites of each other and mal/bem are also opposites of each other. Mal is used for badly/barely instead of mau which is used for just the word bad. Again, anyone feel free to chime in and correct! :D

October 28, 2014


You are correct on pairing bom/mau and bem/mal. The former ones are adjectives and therefore refer to a substantive. The latter ones are adverbs and therefore refer to verbs or adjectives, mal can actually mean bad, as long as it is used as an adverb like this exercise that uses badly

March 4, 2015


Badly mean malamente ..Isn't it ? And bad mean mal..

February 7, 2015


"Malamente" that word does NOT exist in Brazilian Portuguese, the suffix 'mente' is used to make adverbs, 'mal' is already an adverb. Note that 'mau' is an adjective.

March 4, 2015


It is a spanish word, right?

April 30, 2016


"Malamente" is a Spanish word, not Portuguese. But "badly" doesn't always translate to "malamente" in Spanish, eg. Las cosas van mal = things are going badly.

May 21, 2016


"The manager is not up to the job"?

March 2, 2013


Or the manager "barely" works (compared to what is expected of him or her. I wouldn't say that the manageer works badly, but rather "The manager does not work well.

March 16, 2013


The manager works and he is bad at it. Your sentence may lead to the interpretation that he doesn't work, which is incorrect

March 4, 2015


Too much off of the litteral definition, but that should be okay in a real worls translation.

March 24, 2013


The manager barely works should be an acceptable answer.

February 3, 2014


See here, an explanation by a native Brazilian, danmoller: https://www.duolingo.com/#/comment/228268

That's it. Mostly it means "badly" when placed after the element it relates to. (Cozinha mal).

And "barely" when it's placed before (mal cozinha)

February 5, 2014


The manager works little is also wrong, but 'little' was one of the hints?

February 20, 2018


Little = pouco

February 20, 2018
Learn Portuguese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.