The translation of the word "maior" says it means bigger, but in the answer they say it should be biggest. What is correct?
Both here are correct... o maior = the biggest, maior = bigger. This shirt is bigger = esta camiseta é maior. This shirt is the biggest one = Esta camiseta é A maior. But in this sentence both are correct
So you use the definite article for the superlative? Biggest, smallest, closest etc?
So the only difference between the superlative and comparative in Portuguese is the presence of a definite article?
Oh wow, that's confusing then. Thanks for the explanation, if I come across this sentence again (or someone else) I'll report it ;-)
Well the thing is, if there are two options of cake, and you'd like to have the biggest one, you could either say "eu quero o bolo major" or "eu quero o maior bolo". In this context, the first sentence translates as both "I want the biggest cake" and "I want the bigger cake", whereas the second one makes clear that the translation is "I want THE biggest one". It's just confusing and I personally think that it should be ok to type in "I want the bigger cake"
Thank Paulo. There seems some cultural subtlety that I may not get fully if I don't ask again. If I said this in the bakery when I am served a small cake, will I be understood as wanting the biggest one the shop has, or I may be asked again how big do I want? Would it be clearer to say "eu quero o bolo o maior" if translate from English for wanting the biggest cake?
It depends on the context.
- eu quero o bolo maior = eu quero o maior bolo = I want the biggest cake
- eu quero o bolo maior = I want the bigger cake (if you had to choose)
Thank you so very much for your prompt reply. Yes I think so. It does appear that English makes a clear-cut statement with "bigger" (comparing two sizes) and "biggest" (comparing at least three sizes), while Portuguese tolerates ambiguity with "maior" when placed after the noun (and "lost" the "o" as a result) - and further contextual interpretation is required if you want to be sure of bigger or biggest. On the other hand, "o mailor bolo" leaves no doubt in my mind for the biggest cake from what I learnt so far! Thanks again Paulo!
I would understand it this way: If there were three cakes, one small, one medium and one large and I was given the small cake. If I said "eu quero O bolo maior" it would mean "I want the biggest cake" or in other words the large cake. If I said "eu quero UM bolo maior" it would mean that I want a cake bigger than the one I have, in other words either the medium or large cake.
So, I just got the sentence "She is the worst student" wrong for saying "Ela e a aluna pior" (sorry no accents on my keyboard) and the discussion said that when describing thinks like best and worst it's put before the object... wouldn't that apply here? If so, would it be better to say "Eu quero o maior bolo"?
Why is is that "o pior", "o melhor" and others have been going before the noun in this section, but here it doesn't?
Does this mean literally "the biggest cake", while in an earlier example - pior aluna - the student isn't literally the worst student?
Whereas "eu quero o maior bolo" means "I want the biggest cake"?
When it's before the noun, it's a superlative, and after the noun it's a comparative?