1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Portuguese
  4. >
  5. "Quando a bola cair no chão, …

"Quando a bola cair no chão, você perde."

Translation:When the ball hits the ground, you lose.

September 27, 2013



I haven not been able to find a grammar rule to explain this "quando + infinitiv" structure. I would instinctively have used "cai", or is this maybe some future tense I am not yet familiar with?


Yes. If you say "quando a bola cai no chão" you refer to a present situation, sometimes part of a routine. "Quando a bola cair" shows a near future.(possibility).


But it's still the future form in the quando ... clause even though the main clause uses the present?


Using the present tense means it is a general truth, so there is no need to use future tense.


Looking at your tree I guess this question appeared in the Verbs: Infinitive-1 skill. I think the exercise must have been misplaced because "cair" is not the infinitive form of the verb here, it is the 3rd person singular future subjunctive form "cair" (they just happen to look identical for many verbs).


You're right David ^^. I tried to make things easier by simply stating "future/possibility". Subjunctive tends to be scary!!


Uh oh, now I'm scared. :0


Never mind... we (non-natives) are also afraid of phrasal verbs in English


So this is not the famous Portuguese "personal infinitive"?


Nope .... but for most verbs, all conjugations are exactly the same.

Future subjunctives come mostly in conditionals, especially with "quando" and "se". Some typical subjunctive sentences with "que" as well. It's about possible/uncertain things.

Verbs that have different conjugations for future subjunctive and personal infinitive:

  • Ir (para eu ir / quando eu for)
  • Vir (para eu vir / quando eu vier)
  • Ver (para eu ver / quando eu vir) - this is a killer
  • Ser (para eu ser / quando eu for)
  • Estar (para eu estar / quando eu estiver)
  • Querer (para eu querer / quando eu quiser)
  • Saber (para eu saber / quando eu souber)
  • Haver (para haver / quando houver)
  • Ter (para ter / quando tiver)
  • Fazer (para eu fazer / quando eu fizer)


Thank you for this! So the future subjuntive is after the slash? What's before it?


Anything wrong with "when the ball DROPS on the floor"?


Looks good to me (although as I'm a non-native speaker that's probably not very comforting for you). Try suggesting it next time you meet this sentence.


I like how they say "WHEN the ball hits the ground" as if they know for a fact that you're going to lose. Unless it's a game like hacky sack where you'll drop it eventually.


The use of the subjunctive in the Portuguese version makes it clear that we are not absolutely sure the ball will ever hit the ground. Maybe using "if and when" (or even plain "if") rather than "when" in English conveys much the same thing.


cair--falls atingir ----hits chao----floor/ ground What a confusing sentence!!!


Because of not being sure, if the ball would hit ... ought to be considered right


I'm a native English speaker and I'm pretty sure "if" and "would" would not be put together to express this phrase in English. Sometimes you need to give some context to these random phrases. In this case, someone is explaining the rules of a ball game; When the ball (maybe) hits the ground... (a hypothetical situation, in Portuguese calling for the future subjunctive form = cair [which happens to be the same as the infinitive form!]) This verb conjugation site have been VERY helpful to me: https://www.conjugacao.com.br/verbo-cair/


and if you are in a swimming pool, I do not understand the way the ball can hit the ground. I think that " when the ball falls...." could be well written.

Learn Portuguese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.