Portuguese articles: O, A, OS and AS

Portuguese has four different words for the English definite article the. The choice of which one to use depends on the noun that follows it, as definite articles have to agree in both gender and number (singular or plural) with the noun they precede. Take a look:

noun definitive article translation
male + singular O cachorro nada bem. The dog swims well.
male + plural Os meninos são fofos The boys are cute.
female + singular A mulher está feliz. The woman is happy.
female + plural As rosas são vermelhas. The roses are red.

Rules for the use of the definite article are different in English and Portuguese. In general, Portuguese speakers use o/a/os/as more than English speakers use the.

Definite articles can be used with all of the following:

use example translation
specific nouns O celular dele é novo. His cell phone is new.
general / abstract nouns A música faz bem para a alma. Music is good for the soul.
proper names A Ana é linda. Ana is beautiful.
titles O Presidente Obama foi reeleito. President Obama was reelected.
parts of the body Quebrei a minha perna. I broke my leg.
family names Os Silva chegaram. The Silvas have arrived.
languages O inglês é fácil de aprender. English is easy to learn.
days of the week As segundas-feiras são terríveis! Mondays are terrible!
geographical elements O Oceano Pacífico é frio. The Pacific Ocean is cold.
seasons O verão é quente. Summer is hot.

Share your experience

Do you have difficulty choosing which form of the to use in Portuguese? What are some tricks you use to remember?

November 19, 2017


Ótima explicação.

November 19, 2017

Once again you've made it look uncomplicated and straitforward. Good use of the letters in colour. Thanks Helpful :))

November 19, 2017

muito obrigado eu preciso disso

July 23, 2018
  • The best do do is use no trick, learn the language itself.

My friend was talking to me in Portuguese (I am Brazilian) and he forgot about "telefone"(telephone) being a male noun. The phrase was terrible.

Eu posso pegar a sua telefone?

However, if someone would like to add a trick, it can.

November 22, 2017
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