"Does it happen to him?"
Translation:Acontece com ele?
One of life's irritations is that prepositions are not universal. Sometimes Portuguese uses the same preposition as in English and sometimes it doesn't as is the case here ("with" rather than "to").
If you are trying to use a verb you have never used before, this page gives some guidance on how to find the correct preposition for the meaning you want to convey: http://hackingportuguese.com/sample-page/finding-out-what-preposition-to-use-with-a-verb/
If you say "a ele" people will understand you but it sounds way too formal and I don't even know if it's correct but it's...understandable lol
Thank you for adding this comment. When I wrote my answer I tried using the technique described in the link I gave to confirm what I was saying. I found the vast majority of hits agreed with "com" but I did find a couple which used "a" instead so your comment helps me make sense of that.
Guy, "Acontecer Algo A Alguém" is perfectly correct in Portuguese (even in Brazilian Portuguese) although it sounds a bit for formal.
Firstly, thanks for the information. This is something that fascinates me as a learner of Portuguese. I know you will know instinctively that what you say is right. However, if you wanted to use a verb for the first time where would you go, or which resource would you use, to find usage information (like the correct preposition to use to get the meaning you want, for example)? (In English we can usually find that information in a dictionary but I've found it difficult to extract the same thing from Portuguese dictionaries.)
There are no dicionaries in Portuguese for Collocations, Prepositions or even Pronunciation. :(
woof, this was a hard one. I have a feeling this may take me sometime to learn.
Is there a way to translate this sentence with one of the clitic pronouns, like "Lhe acontece?" or something?
It comes from the verb "acontecer" = "to happen" and "acontece" is the third person singular conjugation of the present tense. The best interpretation of "acontece" on its own or in this sentence is "it happens" so the literal translation is "It happens with him?". After changing "with" to the more natural "to" and converting the statement to a question you get back to "Does it happen to him?".
I don't think so... It would be similar to 'makes is happen from him' in English 8-) I am in a kind of easy situation because in Hungarian it is the same expression as in Portuguese: 'történik veled valami' = 'algo acontece contigo' where veled=contigo exactly. Even in English you can also use 'what happened with you' although it is not very common. I'll check my Portuguese paper dictionary at home if this kind of information is available for verbs, my first guess would be it is. Just get into the habit of memorizing verb+preposition for a given meaning when it is applicable. You need to do the same for most languages, as I remember from school, German and Russian also have some prepositions you would just never guess.
Adding to marcingo's answer, when "do" (or "does") is acting as a "helper'' (auxiliary) verb it is not translated even though it can be translated using a form of "fazer" in other circumstances.