I gave a lingot to someone for an explanation about when to use definite articles with adjectives of objects: when the adjective is not a posessive pronoun, it is optional, but when the adjective is a possessive pronoun, it is required. that is what he said (and it was voted up a lot). Here is "meu neto" instead of "o meu neto", and you would think by the rule I just learned, it would have to be "o meu neto".
What is the actual rule for this? Acutall.. wondering if anyone knows of an online official grammar of portuguese where that sort of thing can be looked up.?
Articles don't go with adjectives, only nouns. When you say, for example, "You're the greatest," "the" goes with the implied noun, such as "person", "athelete", "wife". The explanation you cite confuses this with the fact that for a possessive phrase like, "my friend's grandson," in Portuguese you have to say, "the grandson of my friend" ("o neto de meu amigo").
Are words like 'neto' only used in the gender neutral sense when the speaker doesn't know the gender of the person in question? I ask because in English it would be perfectly acceptable to say 'I write a letter to my grandchild' if the grandchild were female, but I assume it would sound strange to refer to a female grandchild as 'meu neto' in Portuguese... or would it?
One note: the articles and contractions mess me up. However reading up on the grammatical rules just makes my coco hurt. I keep trying to remind myself: how do kids learn to talk? They say something, then someone corrects them. Eventually they learn what sounds right. That's the approach I want to try to emulate.