Placement of object pronoun with infinitive

Discussion in 'Português (Portuguese)' started by kjbutler, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. kjbutler Senior Member

    English - United States
    Where do you place the direct object pronoun of an infinitive? Does it depend on something? For example, with the sentence "They can see us," should I say "Eles podem nos ver" or "Eles podem vê-nos"? Is one wrong or are they both correct?

    Onde se coloca o pronome objeto direto de um infinitivo? Depende de algo? Por exemplo, com a frase "They can see us," devo dizer "Eles podem nos ver" ou "Eles podem vê-nos"? É uma frase correta e uma incorreta? Ou são as dois corretas?
  2. aprendiendo argento

    aprendiendo argento Senior Member

    Premantura - Croatia
    Croatian (Chakavian)
    Eles podem nos ver.
    Eles nos podem ver.
    Eles podem ver-nos.
  3. LuizLeitao

    LuizLeitao Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil

    In the case of the sentence They can see us, you could either write, in Portuguese, "Eles podem nos ver" or "Eles nos podem ver" (the first option sounds more natural and being most usual). On the other hand, "Eles podem -nos" is wrong, once "vê" is present, and not infinitive. But if you meant "Eles podem ver-nos", it's okay (ênclise do verbo no infinitivo).
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  4. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    With infinitives and gerunds you can place the pronoun before or after the verb, though one of the placements may be more common in some regions, or in writing. In Portugal we write "podem-nos ver" with a hyphen.
  5. kjbutler Senior Member

    English - United States
    I thought that when you added a pronoun to the end of an infinitive, you needed to remove the final "r" from the infinitive and place an accent on the preceding letter. Is that only with pronouns like "o" and "a" that become "lo" and "la" after an infinitive?
  6. anaczz

    anaczz Senior Member

    À beira do Oceano Atlântico
    Português (Brasil)
    Yes, it is in the euphony sake.
  7. L'Inconnu Senior Member

    Could you say:

    "Eles podem lo ver"

    That is, if you meant to say 'They can see him/it'.

    I must say that the position of pronouns has thus far proven to be the most confusing of all grammatical topics. Besides the fact that the rules in Portugal are different from those in Brazil, the Brazilians have two styles, colloquial and formal.
  8. anaczz

    anaczz Senior Member

    À beira do Oceano Atlântico
    Português (Brasil)
    No, "o" becomes "lo" only after an infinitive.
    Eles podem vê-lo.

    Another possible way to say it:
    Eles podem-no ver. [especially in the european variant (variety?)]

    In this case, as the verb ends in "m", the pronoun "o" becomes "no".

    You are totaly right!
  9. L'Inconnu Senior Member

    I still don't have a clear understanding of how to use pronouns. Can you say this:

    "Eles podem o ver."

    That is to say, MUST you use the enclitic form of the pronoun? How would a Brazilian normally say it in day-to-day conversation?
  10. Denis555

    Denis555 Senior Member

    Cracóvia, Polônia
    Brazilian Portuguese
    When there are 2 verbs together [one being an infinitive], you have 3 possibilities as already pointed out:
    Eles podem nos ver. (or in the same position but with the pronoun nos stuck together with the first verb with hyphen: Eles podem-nos ver)
    Eles nos podem ver.
    Eles podem ver-nos.

    It gets more complicated when you use o, a, os, as because they can change according to what comes BEFORE.
    1) If what comes before is an M the pronoun becomes no, na, nos, nas.
    *"Eles podem o ver" will forcibly be: Eles podem-no ver [The pronoun sticks together with first verb with hyphen]

    2) If what comes before is an R (from the infinitive) the pronoun becomes lo, la. los, las.
    *"Eles podem ver o" will forcibly be: Eles podem vê-lo
    The pronoun sticks together with second verb with hyphen, the R is lost and the last vowel [ar, er, ir, or] of infinitives will change to [á, ê, i, ô] ->
    with an acute accent (_́),
    e and o with a circumflex accent ( ̂ ) and
    i gets no accent.

    3) When the pronouns o, a, os, as come before the first verb, they don't change! :)
    Eles o podem ver

    In Brazil the preference is to put the pronouns AFTER the second verb:
    Eles podem vê-lo [and also informally or in a day-to-day conversation as you said, you replace o, a, os, as with ele, ela, eles, elas]:
    Eles podem ver ele [always in this final position, no change needed]

    Remember that the preference for this position is true only for the pronouns o, a, os, as.
    Otherwise, the position in the middle [BEFORE THE MAIN VERB, NO HYPHEN] is preferred:
    Eles podem nos ver [= they can see us]
    Eles podem me ver [= they can see me]
    Eles podem te ver [= they can see you]
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  11. L'Inconnu Senior Member

    Ok, it's a bit clearer now. Thanks.

    In effect, if we are dealing with direct object pronouns, you like to put first and second person pronouns in front of the infinitive. However, you prefer to put third person direct object pronouns after the verb. The proper style is to use (o, a, os, as), and change them to either (no, na, nos, nas) or (lo, los, la, las), depending on the ending of the verb to which the pronoun is attached. However, in the colloquial style, you can use subject pronouns ele, ela, etc. as object pronouns.

    I find it curious that the colloquial style is the closest match to English, except, of course, that our direct object pronouns are different than our subject pronouns.

    Which of these sentences sounds the most natural to you?

    Eu lhe disse a verdade
    Eu disse a ele a verdade
    Eu disse a verdade a ele
    Eu lha disse
    Eu a disse a ele
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  12. Denis555

    Denis555 Senior Member

    Cracóvia, Polônia
    Brazilian Portuguese
    To my ears. I'm Brazilian. Graded as 1)... The most. 3)... The least:
    1) Eu lhe disse a verdade /
    Eu disse a ele a verdade [They sound equally natural to me]
    2) Eu a disse a ele [A bit awkward, I wouldn't utter it]
    3) Eu lha disse [Unnatural to my ears and eyes: "Bible" language stuff, kind of "And the Lord said unto thee"]
  13. L'Inconnu Senior Member

    So don't put the third person direct object pronouns (o, a, os, and as) in front of the verb. And, as long as I am in Brazil, don't make contractions with two object pronouns. All this is very enlightening, but I still can't say the simplest things. How would you translate the following sentence into Portuguese?

    'I see it.'

    Vejo isso
    Vejo isto
    Vejo ele
  14. kjbutler Senior Member

    English - United States
    So even though it is preferable to put pronouns like nos, me, and te before the infinitive, you can still place them after, with a hyphen and keeping the r on the infinitive? Such as...
    Eles podem ver-te
    Eles podem ver-me.

    Also, muito obrigado a todos pelas respostas!
  15. Denis555

    Denis555 Senior Member

    Cracóvia, Polônia
    Brazilian Portuguese
    1) -Do you see that bird? -Yes, I see it. = -Você vê aquele passarinho? -Sim, eu vejo. Or -Sim, tô vendo (No "it" necessary. For a Brazilian the context is crystal clear.)
    1) -The way I see it is that we'll have to do something. = -A maneira que eu vejo isso/isto é que teremos que fazer alguma coisa.
    3) -He was unable to help. - I see. = -Ele não pôde ajudar. -Entendo.

    Remember that the easiest way to learn a language normally is
    Portuguese (target language) -> English (native language) and not English -> Portuguese
    That is to say, you'll get used to different ways of saying things from your experiences in the target language.

    Yes, it is possible and but not very much used in Brazil, neither in spoken nor in written language.
    Well, trying to find an equivalent in English:
    He is the man I talked with" --> "He is the man with whom I talked"
    That is a situation I have never thought of" --> "That is a situation of which I have never thought"

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  16. L'Inconnu Senior Member

    So, more to the point, it's best to leave out the pronouns (o, a, os, and as) altogether, except in the enclitic position, where they become (no, na, nos, and nas) or (lo, la, los, and las). Evidently, adding consonants to them lends these pronouns greater distinction, in which case, your more comfortable using them.

    Ele deveu fazê-lo

    In cases where there is no enclisis, however, should I still feel the need for clarity (French and Spanish speakers also do), than I should change these pronouns to (ele, eles, ela, and elas), and put them immediately after the verb (no hyphen).

    Eu vi elas ontem

    Finally, since I won't be using (o, a, os, and as) very often, I also won't be in the habit of combining them with other pronouns to make contactions such as lho, mo and no-lo.

    Ok, I think I understand the colloquial Brazilian style. This discussion went beyond the scope of the original question, but I really needed to get some of these points clarified.

    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013

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