Beginner's guide to Portuguese reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are very common in Portuguese. They are often (not always) used to talk about doing something to oneself, such as combing one's hair or washing oneself. In these cases, the subject and object of the sentence are the same.

Sentences with reflexive verbs usually have three parts:

subject + reflexive pronoun + verb

Here are some examples using the verb lavar (to wash).

subject reflexive
verb English
Eu me lavo. I wash myself.
Você se lava. You wash yourself.
Ela se lava. She washes herself.
Ele se lava. He washes himself.
Nós nos lavamos. We wash ourselves.
Eles / Elas se lavam. They wash themselves.

Here are other verbs commonly used with reflexive pronouns:

Verb: pentear (to comb oneself)

eu me|você se|ele/ela se|nós nos|eles se :----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----: penteio|penteia|penteia|penteamos|penteiam

Verb: preparar (to prepare oneself)

eu me|você se|ele/ela se|nós nos|eles se :----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----: preparo|prepara|prepara|preparamos|preparam

Verb: machucar (to hurt oneself)

eu me|você se|ele/ela se|nós nos|eles se :----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----: machuco|machuca|machuca|machucamos|machucam

Verb: divertir (to enjoy oneself)

eu me|você se|ele/ela se|nós nos|eles se :----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----: divirto|diverte|diverte|divertimos|divertem

Verb: arrumar (to get ready)

eu me|você se|ele/ela se|nós nos|eles se :----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----: arrumo|arruma|arruma|arrumamos|arrumam

Verb: amar (to love oneself)

eu me|você se|ele/ela se|nós nos|eles se :----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----: amo|ama|ama|amamos|amam

Verb: irritar (to get irritated)

eu me|você se|ele/ela se|nós nos|eles se :----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----: irrito|irrita|irrita|irritamos|irritam

Verb: esquecer (to forget)

eu me|você se|ele/ela se|nós nos|eles se :----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----: esqueço|esquece|esquece|esquecemos|esquecem

Verb: lembrar (to remember)

eu me|você se|ele/ela se|nós nos|eles se :----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----:|:----: lembro|lembra|lembra|lembramos|lembram

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December 4, 2017


There are no "TU" examples: Tu te lembras, tu te lavas... Eu me chamo, chamo-me, tu te chamas, chamas-te...

December 4, 2017

Thank you for this. Not only are a lot of people on Duo wanting to learn the European version (the EU diaspora all over the world is over 100 million) but there are some 27 million in Brazil who use tu in their everyday language and it seems very dismissive to ignore those or pretend they do not exist (or that we are not smart enough....)

This seems to be a particular flaw of Duo's in the Portuguese program since they do try to accommodate Euro Portuguese answers (it would be better however if they actually produced a Euro version tree as there seems to be at least 1 person per week who asks in the forum about how to learn the Euro version so there is certainly more who are interested). Sadly there are not a lot of good alternatives to Duo to learn the Euro version (another reason they should do it) which is why we end up here (even after resisting it for several years first, holding out for some Euro opportunity). The truth is that Brazilian Portuguese is saturated.

Also missing here are the reflexives that follow the verb. Maybe not used so much in Brazilian Portuguese but still a part of it (especially written literature) and Portuguese in general (including all the other countries and territories such as Angola, Mozambique, Goa, Cabo Verde, and several others who follow the Euro standards).

If not an entire tree, then at least some extra [optional] modules (heck, I'd happily pony up lingots for those as bonuses) on Euro-centric teachings such as the reflexives, and tu in-depth. These could also be done in a Portugal accent.

And you know why? Cause the Portuguese for various reason have no problem with the Brazilian form so they will understand us, but we will not understand them (though to be honest, my Portuguese friend has a hard time understanding our other friend who speaks Brazilian with a French accent).

But if it's about numbers, well Duo also teaches Greek, Danish, Hungarian, Czech, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Irish, Welsh, and a few others (but not Finnish) from countries that are similar in population to Portugal, or actually much less, even half.

Okay, that's my soapbox for the week. Let the usual downvotes begin. :)

January 26, 2018

In Brazil "tu" is not worth it, since people don't conjugate it properly. Example: "Você vem comigo?" is the usual. When people use "tu" they should say: "Tu vens comigo?" but what they usually say is: "Tu vem comigo?"

March 10, 2018

seeing the word Tu vens, I am reminded of that song by Alceu Valenca, in which he sings Tu vens, tu vens....uh, teus sinais. I can't remember that name of it. Associacao? no.

August 3, 2018

Bem lembrado.

December 4, 2017

They are rarely used in Brazilian portuguese and everyone understands the "você" form :D which is good, less learning. ;)

December 30, 2017

I have two questions: What is the formal form of "tu" in European Portuguese? What is the plural form of "tu" in European Portuguese

January 5, 2018

There is no actual formal form for "tu". When we want to show more respect we say "o senhor" (for man) or "a senhora" (for woman). For exemple: Do you like music? - O senhor gosta de música?/A senhora gosta de música?

Also, as said before, the plural form of "tu" would be "vós", but that's not really used anymore. It's much more common to see people using "vocês". And so, if you want to be more formal, you can say "os senhores" instead of "vocês" or "vós".

January 9, 2018

Formal 2nd person singular in Portugal would be você.

vós would be 2nd person plural in european portuguese. I read somewhere that it's no longer used much even in Portugal. They mostly use vocês. I really don't know for sure though. I'd be interested in finding out if anyone knows for sure.

January 9, 2018

The plural of "tu" is "vós" in traditional Portuguese, it is also taught in Brazilians schools but nobody uses it in a daily basis.

March 10, 2018

Olá! Sou Brasileiro e quero informar a vocês que na maioria das regiões do Brasil, nós usamos o pronome de tratamento "VOCÊ" no lugar do pronome pessoal do caso reto "TU". Tem regiões que usa o pronome "TU", mas vocês podem usar o pronome "VOCÊ" que a pessoa entenderá também.

VOCÊ = pronome de tratamento. TU = pronome pessoal do caso reto que refere-se a segunda pessoa.

Espero ter ajudado.

June 12, 2018

I would recommend this Book for those willing to learn portuguese. It helped me a lot last year (when I bought it). The price is a little high but its worth it.

January 25, 2018

Very useful!

February 4, 2018

Muito Obrigado :-)

February 8, 2018

I really can't see a difference between "tu" and "voce". Could someone please explain it to me?

March 7, 2018

In European Portuguese "tu" is the informal way to say "you." "Voce" is the more polite/formal way to say "you." When you're speaking to a friend it's common to use "tu." When speaking to a stranger "voce" is the more polite/respectful way to say you. If you want to be even more respectful when speaking to a stranger, someone older or someone in an elevated position, you'd want to use "Senhor" (Sen-yew) and "Senhora" (Sen-or-ah). It's similar to saying "Sir" and "Miss/Ma'am." In Brazil "voce" has become the most common way to say you. I apologize if my spelling and pronunciation is off. I hope that helps.

June 12, 2018

Just to be clear, você is not much used in Portuguese outside of Brazil as it seems rude/crude as a treatment so the native speakers will use, Senhor/a, or the person's name, or their title instead, as well as verb conjugation rather than use você.

Lots of links to follow here:

Also, the "r" is more similar to the English one in Portugal:

June 17, 2018

Where I live a lot of portuguese speakers including my family use voce. Like you said, and in most situations, it's better and more common to use senhor/a or the person's name or their title, but using voce isn't necessarily rude/crude. It all depends on how you use it and your tone of voice. Most people wouldn't get mad or upset at you if you used voce. The people from the older generations probably would get offended, but enough would understand that you're trying to be polite. A lot of it is in your tone.

My mother and I both immigrated from Saint Michael, Azores. I lost most of my portuguese but my mother is a native speaker and relatives on her side are native speakers also.

Thank you for your response btw I appreciate the help. = )

June 17, 2018

Muito obrigado :)

April 30, 2018

These help indices should be downloadable in a text format.

August 3, 2018
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