Mastering "Debaixo", "Embaixo" and "Abaixo"

Well...perhaps this is too much to concern about, but that is how I use them....

These rules are not THAT strict, but they might help those who are precision lovers.

Physically under objects and other things, somehow nested or covered by it, you use "debaixo", accepting "embaixo" and "sob" too. (Sob is not very common, and often confused for "sobre = on/over").

  • Debaixo/Embaixo da mesa - Sob a mesa - under the table
  • Debaixo do carro - Embaixo do carro - Sob o carro - under the car
  • Debaixo de chuva - Embaixo de chuva - Sob chuva - under rain (in the rain)
  • Debaixo do mesmo teto - Embaixo do mesmo teto - Sob o mesmo teto - under the same roof (lit: ceiling)

Now, for positional orientation or level, use abaixo, accepting also "embaixo" (you see, embaixo will be the easy choice after all :p ). By orientation I mean locating the position of things related to others not necessarily covering them. (Think about the expressions "to the right - à direita" and "to the left - à esquerda". I wonder why there isn't one saying "to the down", but if it existed, it would be "abaixo"). It's good for map analysing, screens, identifying/locating things in the distance. Different from "debaixo", this one usually accepts adverbs.

  • O Uruguai fica abaixo/embaixo do Brasil = Uruguay is below Brazil (looking to a map)
  • O botão fica abaixo/embaixo da foto de perfil = The button is under the profile photo (in a website).
  • Mais abaixo - Mais embaixo = Lower

And finally, if there is motion dowards, use only "abaixo" or "para baixo". (Abaixo fits mostly only after a noun, creating an expression like "down the noun").

  • Desceu/Foi morro abaixo = Went down the hill
  • Foi por água abaixo = Went down the drain (expression meaning it's all lost/over)
  • Rio abaixo = Down the river
  • O edifício foi abaixo = The building went down (fell).

For regular motion dowards, use "para baixo".

Now, the differences :p

  • Minha casa é debaixo/embaixo da (casa) dele (My house is probably part of the same building of his)
  • Minha casa é abaixo da dele (It can mean my house is down the road, or in a lower level, but not necessarily part of the same building)

Here, "embaixo" takes a dubious meaning, but tends to "debaixo".

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February 5, 2015


This precision-lover is very appreciative! Obrigada, isso é muito útil!

February 6, 2015

Making an expression?

February 6, 2015

Yep, I should have said "assembling". "Mounting" comes from programming influences....

February 6, 2015
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