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  5. "Nós não tocamos em mulheres."

"Nós não tocamos em mulheres."

Translation:We do not touch women.

December 24, 2012



The verb "tocar" in Portuguese can have different meanings. Here, it means "to touch", and when it has this meaning it can be a transitive and a intransitive verb, meaning "Nós não tocamos mulheres." and "Nós não tocamos EM mulheres." are both correct. Sorry for the confusion!


Aren't they both transitive? (The women are receiving the action, or rather not receiving it, in both cases.) What is the difference in meaning between the two sentences?


There is no difference in meaning. However "not to touch someone" can also mean "not to hurt, not to beat someone".


I've read the whole thread, but Oakbird's question still seems unanswered. (Sorry to hassle you. I imagine you're doing language instruction here as a favor to us, so don't feel you have to answer!)

Anyway, the usage of the preposition isn't obvious, whether or not the verb is transitive... unless you're saying that an intransitive verb always has one version (say, the one with EM?), and a transitive verb is always non-prepositional, in which case both versions are correct.

Is that what you're saying?


What I meant was that the verb "tocar" can be followed, or not, by preposition, so we can have "tocar" and "tocar em", but there is no difference in what the verb means, so whenever you say "tocar" or "tocar em" you will be saying "to touch". There is only one exception, when the verb "tocar" means "a duty". For example: "Toca a mim comprar frutas", what could be translated as "It is my duty to buy fruits", however it is rarely used. Hope it helps.


Or to play a song: tocar uma música.


Can you please explain what transitive and intransitive mean?


Ok so a transitive verb is one where a direct object can "receive" the action of the verb. For example. The boy threw the ball. First ask yourself, "what is the verb?" It's threw. Now ask yourself, "is there a "what" that is being thrown? Yes. The boy "threw" --> THE BALL therefore, the ball is the direct object, and therefore the verb threw in this sentence is transitive.

An intransitive verb in contrast has no object associated with the verb. Lets look at, "She arrived late." Again, first thing you do, ask yourself "what is the verb?" It's "arrived". Now is there an object associated with arrived. Well no, because it's weird to think that you could ever "arrive something". It makes no sense. Therefore it's intransitive. I hope this explanation isn't too confusing!



Transitive verbs in portuguese can be direct or indirect.

Direct takes direct objects (with no prepositions) - Ex: comer (ele come arroz)

Indirect takes indirect objects (with prepositions) - Ex: gostar de (ele gosta DE arroz)


Both of my dictionaries, the "Larousse Portuguese Dictionary" (Larousse 2008) and the "Oxford Essential Portuguese Dictionary" (Oxford University Press, 2012) list "gostar" as an intransitive verb.


It "might" be in some cases, when you say "Eu gosto". But that's not natural, you will surely ask "gosta de que?"

Gostar is SURELY transitive with indirect object in most cases.

See here: (where vti means "verbo transitivo indireto")

http://michaelis.uol.com.br/moderno/portugues/index.php?lingua=portugues-portuguespalavra=gostar (damn Duolingo, destroys the links)

Maybe the acronyms are very similar, both intransitive and indirect transitive uses i, n and t.

Check "chover" and compare. "Chover" is intransitive.


Didn't understand any of that but thanks anyway.


Trying again:

A sentence has three main parts:

  1. The subject (the one that does an action)
  2. The verb (the action)
  3. The object (the target of the action)

Ex: Eu como banana:

Subject = eu
Verb = como
Object banana

Based on this, there are four kinds of verbs:

  1. Intransitivo (intransitive) - Takes no object
  2. Transitivo direto - Takes an object without preposition
  3. Transitivo indireto - Takes an object with preposition
  4. Transitivo direto e indireto - Takes both

1. Eu pulo = I jump
2. Eu como banana
3. Eu gosto de banana
4. Eu entrego o suco para ela (direct: o suco / indirect: para ela)


That was quick, did you copy and paste that? ;-) I'll have to tackle it again tomorrow.


Agree with you. But the use of "em" -this is the proposition- is rare for this sentence or phrase. Usually people don't use it in common language.


It makes sense if you're a Priest or a policeman looking for drugs


Lembro de ter traduzido essa frase lá no meet up do Duolingo em São Paulo. Expressão um tanto esquisita, não? Joguei a frase no google e apareceu a legenda de um filme italiano chamado "Gomorra". o.O


Why "Nós não tocamos as mulheres" is incorrect?


"as mulheres" é mais especifico............ "em mulheres" num contexto mais geral.....


It would be correct if you were translating "We do not touch the women".


My understanding is that "em" in this sentence is totally optional, is not necessary, and the sentence would mean the exact same if "em" were removed. Is this correct?


"Tocar em" means physically touch somebody or something. Without the "em" it could be understood either as be touched "emotionally":

  • "aquela cena do filme me tocou" -> "that scene from the movie has touched me".

...or even as play an instrument (even a bell):

  • "eu toco guitarra" -> "I play [the] guitar".


This is the most confusing discussion thread so far.


The translation is "We don't touch IN women"? Huh?


yeah that's wrong...


What is this sentence trying to say? makes no sense.


It is a Brazilian expression that means "We don't beat women" in the domestic violence sense.


That is good to know, thank you. But I think that should have been made clear in the options.


The sentence doesn't mean "we don't beat women". The sentence means "we don't touch women", and if there's a domestic violence background, then you would infer that "touch" means "beat" in this context.

But the sentence could also be said by a group of shy men that are afraid of physical content with people of the opposite sex. No domestic violence intended here.


Sometimes, Duolingo makes no sense : after three or four 'the boy speaks to the shark', 'There is a bee in the bottle', 'I touch the plate'... I think those are just statements making us work on vocabulary and grammar more than meaningful phrases... c'est un peu Radio Londres!!!


Sorry, could it be "Nós não tocamos nas mulheres" a better way to say that? thanks...


You have a good question.

You might imagine a reason someone says, "We do not touch women." It could be for religious reasons, or it could have to do with sexual orientation. It could be a sarcastic statement made by someone who very much likes to touch women. In all of these cases, "Nós não tocamos nas mulheres" would not be be better.

I will say, though, tocar em is a pretty weird construction to me!



To use "nas" is the same as using "the". That would mean the women are known, and the sentence "We do/did not touch the women" could be used to defend yourself against accusations, to make your female guests comfortable.


Oh my! In French we have lot of words which have different meanings despite the fact they have the same writing but 'tocar' meaning 'touch' and 'play music' and 'duty'... it is too hard for me to understand! :)))))


Don't worry, you'll get used to it :)


The usage is exactly the same in my native Spanish. It never actually means "duty". It's more like saying "it's my turn", or "it's up to me", or "it falls on me"; all of which are idiomatic phrases. As a visual aid, I imagine someone selecting from among a group of people and touching the chosen one.


Are there any rules on which verbs go with 'de' and which ones go with 'em' or do you just have to memorize them

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