Infinitives in Portuguese

Infinitives are impersonal verbs that show no subject agreement or tense. In Portuguese, infinitives can end in -ar, -er or -ir. Here are some examples.

-ar -er -ir
to walk
to eat
to go out
to speak
to drink
to build
to paint
to read
to prefer
to work
to learn
to possess
to like
to know
to laugh

In Portuguese, infinitives can work as nouns and be used as subjects or objects of other verbs. They work just like gerunds (-ing verbs) in English.

infinitives as subjects translation
Aprender português com Duolingo é muito fácil. Learning Portuguese with Duolingo is very easy.
Fumar faz mal para a saúde. Smoking is bad for your health.
Rir faz bem para a alma. Laughing is good for the soul.
infinitives as objects translation
Eu gosto de caminhar pelo bosque. I like walking in the forest.
Sara prefere trabalhar na cidade. Sara prefers working in the city.
Lara gostou de brincar na neve. Lara enjoyed playing in the snow.

Practice your Portuguese!

What do you like doing? What is good for your health? In the comments section, write sentences in Portuguese using infinitives as subject and object nouns.

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November 29, 2017


Infinitives in portuguese do show subject agreement in some cases. e.g: ''Ele nos deu um presente para abrirmos''.

Afaik, Portuguese and Hungarian are the only languages in the world in which infinitives show subject agreement.

December 2, 2017

From what I know, these languages have the personal infinitive...
- Portuguese
- Hungarian
- Galician
- Sardinian

April 28, 2018

In this sentence "Ele nos deu um presente para abrirmos", the verb "abrirmos" is not an infinitive, although it appears so at a first glance. This verb is in the subjunctive mode, which explains why it agrees with the oblique pronoun "nos", in number. Infinitives don't change, thus they don't agree with subjects or objects in any sort of way. Although verbs in Portuguese will always agree in gender, number or tense with their respective subjects, it is not true of infinitives. This is a core rule for infinitives all across the board.

January 1, 2018


Ele nos deu um presente para abrirmos. That is the personal infinitive, not the future subjunctive.

May 19, 2018

What’s a subject, object and what does it mean to “agree in gender”? We never learned English terminology in school for some reason and learning Portuguêse has been a nightmare. Thanks

February 20, 2019

It´s basically just put -ar -er or -ir in the back of the word.

December 5, 2017

Yeah, you're right, but in portuguese has a verb that ends in -or: is it the verb "Por" (put, per, by, for...)

March 14, 2018

É meio estranho saber que para fazer o teste de Português no Duolingo eu precise de uma outra língua auxiliar. Logo, a minha fluência em Português seria dada pela minha capacidade de traduzir os textos em Português para o Francês, por exemplo. E se tipo, eu não for fluente em Francês? Não seria fluente em Português também?


It's weird to know that to take the Portuguese test at Duolingo I need another language. Therefore, my fluency in Portuguese would be due to my ability to translate texts in Portuguese into French, for example. What if I'm not fluent in French? Would not you be fluent in Portuguese too?

July 12, 2018

This post seems wrong. Infinitives are base form verbs, not impersonal verbs, since they can be conjugated for I, you, he, she, it...

Some verbs in Portuguese are impersonal, that is, they are not conjugated for a person. For example, weather conditions. So, grammatically speaking, you can't say "Eu chovo, você chove...", except for poetry =)

E o silêncio, o imenso silêncio que atravessou

Domingo de sol, e eu chovi sem parar


November 5, 2018
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