"Ele lê suas cartas."

Translation:He reads his letters.

June 7, 2013

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Why wouldn't you have "as suas cartas" in this case?


We have that too... also correct


No difference with only "suas cartas"? When do you most likely add the "as" here? I mean its like saying 'the your letters' which would be redundant as 'your' would already specify which letters. Or ...it is ok to specify more with 'as' to point out wich which of your letters.


I also opened up this discussion wondering what the difference was between "suas cartas" and "as suas cartas." In Italian you always have to put both the article and the possessive adjective. It doesn't get translated as "the your letters." It's just the way it needs to be said in Italian.


When to use "teus" and "saus" ?

  • Seu/teu = your (masculine singular words)
  • Sua/tua = your (feminine singular words)
  • Seus, suas, teus, tuas are the plural forms.
  • Seu/seus = his
  • Sua/suas = her
  • Teu, tua, teus, tuas are used for "tu"(you)
  • Seu, sua, seus, suas for "você" (you).

The possessives for "você" are used more often.


I'm confused. If seu/seus = his, why is the answer "ele lê suas cartas" (he reads his letters)?


Ele lê as cartas DELE . = as próprias cartas (own ) I think is BETTER than, Ele lê suas cartas (De quem? Dele ?! ou de outra pessoa? (another person? ) This is very confusing for the Brazilians, it has double meaning.


"suas" is used because "cartas" is a feminine word: "as cartas" (the letters). If "jornais" was used instead of 'cartas', then the answer would be "Ele lê SEUS jornais": "os jornais" (the newspapers).

It might be helpful to remember that: - seu(s): is used for masculine words - sua(s): is used for feminine words In both cases you add the "s" if the possessed object is plural.


The gender matches the object, not the subject. "Cartas" is feminine and plural, so you use the feminine plural "suas" regardless of whether they're his or hers.


"The possessives for você are used more often." It depends on the region of Brasil. Here, in South (Rio Grande do Sul), we only use "tu / teu / tua". In some other states of South and Northeast people also use "tu" very often. And Portugal, of course.


I know. Just because "você" is used more often over "tu". I know people from the South region are used to saying "tu". In total, "você" os more frequently used.


I thought the possesive modifiers'(seu, teu, sua, tua, and their plurals) genders depend on the word modified...


Yes, the possessive adjectives depend on the object possessed.


The correct translation says "his letters" but "suas cartas" is "her letters" as in "He reads her letters", right?


It can be his or her since "suas" matches the noun "cartas" (feminine, plural). But, to avoid misunderstood, you can use "as cartas dele" (his letters) or "as cartas dela" ( her letters).


Do possessives in Portuguese agree with the noun they modify instead of the subject? That holds true as well for French.



Ele lê sua carta

Ele lê suAS cartAS

Ele lê seu livro

Ele lê seuS livroS


whats wrong in the translation " he reads your letter" for above Portuguese phrase because 'suas' mean 'his/your'


How does one tell the meaning between "his" and "yours"?


It's not possible to determine that from the given sentence. That's a typical case of ambiguity.

From the correct grammatical point of view, you would write "Ele lê TUAS cartas" in order to express 'your' letters (2nd person). There is no confusion here.

However when using "SUAS cartas" it opens the possibility that we are referring to "VOCÊ" (informal 'you'), which is a treatment pronoun widely used in Brazil in place of the subject pronoun "TU" (the 2nd person subject pronoun).

In the Portuguese grammar, whenever you use a treatment pronoun you are suppose to conjugate the verb using the 3rd person.

That's the reason we have the ambiguity.

For example, the sentence "Ele lê suas cartas" can mean: 1. He reads your letters. (because the speaker might be referring to the 2nd person of the conversation as "VOCÊ" rather than "TU", which enforces the usage of "SUAS")

  1. He reads his letters. (the speaker is talking about the 3rd person possessed letters, hence "SUAS" is properly used)

Usually the best way to solve this problem is to be more specific like: "Ele lê suas PRÓPRIAS cartas" (He reads his own letters) In this case, there is no doubt that the letters belong to the subject of the sentence.

(sorry it became long - it's a very interesting question that I think deserves a detailed explanation)


If this is indeed correct, thank you so much for clearly explaining this rule! I have been stuck on this teu/tua and seu/sua distinction for days.


Yeah, "he reads your letterS" should also be accepted


It is accepted; that's what I wrote and it was marked correct.


Why would "He reads his cards" not be accepted?


It is a bit more unlikely, but it should be accepted, since we don't have any context. I thought of Magic/RPG cards :]


Because cartas is more used for letter instead of cards. When you say cartas it will probably be a letter, unless given the proper context.


So if a question comes up asking for English to Portuguese translation of a possessive example e.g "your dog", would it be correct to say either "teu cachorro" or "seu cachorro", given you can't differentiate "you" in English like you can in Portuguese (você vs tu)?



Tu lavas teu cachorro? Você lava seu cachorro?


Does suas not mean sus (their) like in Spanish?


Ele lê minhas cartas (my)

Ele lê as cartas dele (his)

Ele lê suas cartas (your, singular or plural. You can use it for 'their' or 'his', but isn't recommended)

Ele lê as cartas deles (their)


What's wrong with 'He read your letters'?


That should be "He reads your letters".


is "suas cartas" = "her letters"? or = "«plural her» letters"?

why should it be "his/«plural his»" when it's a feminine "suas"?


The possessive pronoun "suas" matches the gender and number of the thing possessed ("cartas", so feminine plural), not the possessor (so we don't know whether they're male or female).

Portuguese also has possessive pronouns that match the possessor, so you could say "Ele lê as cartas dela" if you wanted to make it clear that the letters were hers and not his.


"ele lê as suas cartas" was marked wrong. :'( Makes me wonder 'quando e como' to use the 'the'.


I would think that is wrong too. The "his letters" in the sentence says that the letters belong to the subject ("He"). From Portuguese grammar perspective, by adding the definite article "as" to "suas cartas" you would be saying that the letters belong to the listener. So, the English translation for "Ele lê as suas cartas" would become "He reads your letters".


Thank you. Apparently, @Paulenrique said it was correct 2 years ago in response to @chetinho.


Yes, it is also correct. But we use "seu/sua" specially for "your", so it is easy to get the wrong meaning without further context. To avoid this, you can use "Ele lê as cartas dele" (dele = his).


I put " He reads your letters" and it was correct. It also said that the other translation is "He reads his letters". Is this a mistake? I got confused lol please help me understand this.


Actually, seu/sua/seus/suas = his, her, its, your. (you get it by the context).

dele = his

dela = her


"suas" can refer either to the person(s) who now possesses the letters or to the person(s) who sent them?


Why not as suas cartas?


It's also right.


Why is 'He reads your letters.' not acceptable?

[deactivated user]

    In Portuguese, how can you tell when someone says "Her" and/or "Him"?


    You can use "dele" and "dela" to avoid ambiguity.


    On the "Type what you hear", I have played it 100 times, but I can only hear "Ele lê as suas cartas" and not "Ele lê suas cartas".

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