use of definite article in place names

Discussion in 'Português (Portuguese)' started by cafwin53, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. cafwin53 Senior Member

    I want to say "go to Belfast". do city names take the definite articles?
    Also, what about countries, for example, Irlanda?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2008
  2. Silvaninha Member

    Norwegian, Norway
    Ir para Belfast. City names do not usually take the definite articles (but I suppose it can depend?) ... for instance, you would say "Eu vou para Lisboa", not "para a Lisboa". "Em Lisboa", not "Na Lisboa", and also "Em Belfast", not "Na/No Belfast".

    Countries vary as well, as you say "Sou de Portugal", but "Sou do Brasil". You're safer just going with "de" ...
  3. cafwin53 Senior Member

    So I would say "é necesario que vade a Belfast, em Irlanda?"
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2008
  4. Silvaninha Member

    Norwegian, Norway
    should the "a" not be an "à"? In which case it is a contraction of a + a ... meaning you have used the definite article?
  5. cafwin53 Senior Member

    But I thought I didnt want to use the definite article with a city name?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2008
  6. Silvaninha Member

    Norwegian, Norway
    That's what I thought as well ... so ... "vade a Belfast" ... a = para?

    Edit : I'm sorry, you're right !
  7. cafwin53 Senior Member

    There's another issue! when to use para and when to use a! I have only been learning Portuguese for a few months! It's all so confusing! been doing Spanish for 8 years so I get muddled!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2008
  8. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    A few aditional notes:

    • When the name of a city is foreign, it usually doesn't take an article.
      E.g., Vou para Bangkok.
      Vou para Dublin.

    • Country names take a definite article, with a few exceptions.
      E.g., Vou para a Irlanda.
      Vou para Portugal.
  9. Silvaninha Member

    Norwegian, Norway
    Yay, a Portuguese!! Thank you!
  10. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Who is the subject of the sentence? Who must go to Belfast?

    The preposition para indicates a permanent or prolonged displacement, as in "I'm going to (live in) the States". The preposition a indicates a short, temporary displacement, as in "I'm going to the supermarket (and I'll be right back)". Some Brazilians do not make this distinction, and use para in both cases.
  11. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Glad to be of service.
  12. cafwin53 Senior Member

    I am writing 150 words describing to a friend how he should entertain a friend on a visit to n.Ireland. I was saying that it was necessary that they (you plural) go to Belfast.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2008
  13. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I would say something like:

    Têm de ir a Belfast, na Irlanda.
    Não podem deixar de ir a Belfast, na Irlanda.

    Both sentences mean "You must go to Belfast, in Ireland".
  14. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    Meninas, Outsider já explicou a respeito, mas vocês podem ler mais um pouco sobre o assunto aqui.
  15. Juca Member

    São Paulo
    Brazil / BP

    I think there is a difference between para and a. If somebody says to me "Vou para o Rio de Janeiro" (informally "Vou pro Rio de Janeiro") , the first thing I'll think is that he is going to live there. "Vou ao Rio de Janeiro" means that he will go there and come back soon.

    Another exemple: suppose you are talking about Bahia and you want to ask whether a friend has already been there. Then you can ask "Você já foi à Bahia?"; I would find "Você já foi pra Bahia?" a little strange. Now, suppose you knew your friend was going to live in Bahia and he calls you over the phone; then it's understandable "Você já foi pra Bahia?" because I'm asking if he has already moved.
  16. Silvaninha Member

    Norwegian, Norway
    I have learned a lot !! Mt obrigada !!
  17. cafwin53 Senior Member

    Yes, this has helped alot! basically it just comes down to length of stay and you need to judge which is more appropriate?
    I think I will just use "a" because I just mean that they should visit Belfast-for the day perhaps.

    Thanks again everyone.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2008
  18. FlyingFish1987 Senior Member

    ola todos

    I am very confused about when to use articles before a country in Portuguese.
    I know you have to use for example for Brazil, o Brasil, but what about other countries?

    obrigada :)
  19. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    Flying, I've merged your question to an existing discussion about articles usage.

    Yes, Brasil has the article before it.
    O Brasil é um país continental.
  20. englishmania

    englishmania Senior Member

    European Portuguese
    Well, I think you have to memorise it as you don't have the "intuition" native speakers do...

    Usually the article is necessary. It varies according to the gender of the word.

    Brasil (masculine word, so o, no, do, ao)
    O Brasil é um país que...
    Ele vive no Brasil. em+o=no
    Ela foi ao Brasil. a+o=ao
    É música do Brasil. de+o=do

    Alemanha (feminine word, so a, na, da, à)
    A Alemanha fica...
    Ele vive na Alemanha. em+a=na
    Ela foi à Alemanha. a+a=à
    A bandeira da Alemanha é... de+a=da

    However, with some countries you don't use the article.

    (masculine word, but... no article)
    Portugal é um país que...
    Ele vive em Portugal.
    Ela foi a Portugal.
    Ele gostou de Portugal.

    Some countries allow both options:
    A França é um país...
    Ele vive em França /na França.
    Ele veio de França/da França.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010
  21. abarwick Member

    Paia, Maui, Hawaii
    UK ¡aprendiendo español! English-Deutsch-Français-[Nederlands]
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010
  22. reka39 Banned

    Hello! It seems to me that 'a' in front of the name of the country is facultative with: Espanha, França, Itália, Inglaterra. Do you agree? Moreover, are there other countries that don't require the article? What about 'Angola'? I always heard without. Do you agree with the list quoted above? Thank you.
  23. Ruca Senior Member


    Hi reka39,

    Yes, the use of the article for Espanha, França, Itália and Inglaterra is facultative, though in european portuguese it would sound more natural if you didn't use the article. Eu vivo em Espanha/em França/em Itália/em Inglaterra is more common in Portugal, but na Espanha, na França, na Itália, na Inglaterra would not sound weird. As for Angola, the use of the article definitely would sound weird: Eu vivo em Angola, not Eu vivo na Angola.

    As for city names, I think the rule is that the preposition "em" should be used, without the article, except for situations where the name of the city is a commom noun. For instance:

    Eu moro em Lisboa;
    Eu moro em Viana do Castelo;
    Eu moro em São Paulo;
    Eu moro no (em+o) Porto (Porto is a common noun);
    Eu moro na (em+a) Figueira da Foz (Figueira is a common noun);
    Eu moro no Rio de Janeiro (Rio is a common noun).

    However, there are a lot of exceptions, such as:
    Eu moro na Maia (I think Maia is a proper noun);
    Eu moro no Machico (I think Machico is a proper noun)
    Eu moro em Vila do Conde (Vila is a common noun but yet you do not use the article).

    Etc, etc.
  24. diego-rj

    diego-rj Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Brazilian Portuguese
    No Brasil, "vivo em Espanha/Itália/Inglaterra" não é usado. Sempre "na Espanha/etc".
  25. Prionace Member

    Portuguese - Portugal
    About cities names don't take it to hard if you have trouble with the exceptions. To this day there are still a lot of Portuguese that get confused, and even there are some places that insist on using the wrong preposition (like in Quarteira, the correct is to say em Quarteira, but the locals say na Quarteira)
  26. reka39 Banned

    Thanks! As I’m interested in the Portuguese spoken in Portugal, I’ll follow Portugueses’ advices.
    According to that list, you should say: ‘estou em Cingapura, em Cuba, em Honduras, em Israel, em Moçambique, em Portugal’. Do you confirm? What about Guinee-Bissau, Macau and Cabo Verde? Do they require ‘Em’? Moreover, does anyone know why in Portuguese is ‘Marrocos’ not ‘Marroco’? Thank you!!
  27. Casquilho Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Indeed, but in those cases, as long as I know, Brazilian Portuguese always applies the article: Rei da França, parques da Inglaterra, morar na Holanda.
  28. Prionace Member

    Portuguese - Portugal
    Correct, except Honduras is "nas Honduras"

    Remaining are: na Guiné-Bissau, em Macau, em Cabo Verde

    Regarding Marrocos I found this: O nome latinizado "Marrocos" tem origem medieval Latim "Morroch", why it has an S doesn't really have an explanation I guess, it just evolved that way.
  29. reka39 Banned

    I forgot São Tomé e Príncipe! Em? no? nos? Thank you!
  30. Prionace Member

    Portuguese - Portugal
    Em São Tomé e Principe
  31. reka39 Banned

    What about Andorra and Eslovénia?
  32. patriota Senior Member

    reka39, use o Google Notícias para ver se os portugueses usam ou não o artigo com cada país do mundo.
  33. reka39 Banned

    Timor? Afeganistão, azerbaijão?
  34. patriota Senior Member

    Clique no link que deixei, substitua o nome do país no campo de busca e pressione a tecla enter do seu teclado.
  35. Prionace Member

    Portuguese - Portugal
    Concordo... Senão o rol de países é quase interminável...
  36. reka39 Banned

  37. J. Bailica Senior Member

    Português - Portugal
  38. Alentugano

    Alentugano Senior Member

    Português - Portugal
    Actually, it's quite the other way around... locals say em/de Quarteira, but the Portuguese media insist on saying na/da Quarteira...
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  39. reka39 Banned

    Hello! Do you agree that an inhabitant of Saudi Arabia is called 'árabe'? Thank you. Moreover, how do you call sb from Andorra and Macau? (to be honest I know know how it is even in my language!)
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  40. patriota Senior Member

    Pessoas da Arábia Saudita podem ser chamadas de árabes, mas esse é o adjetivo usado para todas as pessoas do mundo pertencentes a esse povo. Se quiser especificar o país, use o adjetivo "saudita". Consulte esta lista para ver os gentílicos de todos os países e lugares importantes para a lusofonia (como Macau), ou simplesmente pesquise "gentílico [nome do lugar]" em sua ferramenta de busca predileta.
  41. reka39 Banned

    Thanks for the link! Unfortunately I believe it's more useful for sb that already know the adj. For example is 'andorrano', 'andorrense' or 'andorriano'? I would bet it's the 2nd.. am I right? Another 'doubt': guianense or guianês?
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  42. reka39 Banned

    What about Honduras? Unfortunately newspapers don't help..
    a- Curiosamente, o golo que valeu os primeiros três pontos às Honduras nesta fase foi apontado por ..
    b- pós a difusão de um vídeo que registra o assassinato a tirso de dois jovens em Honduras e...
  43. reka39 Banned

    Moreover, always with reference to that list, I believe in PtE you say 'nicaraguense' not 'nicaragüense'..
  44. Ruca Senior Member



    In PtE "ü" is not used. Anyway, the new spelling rules have done away with the use of ü in Brazil. So, under the new spelling rules, in Brazil it will be written Nicaraguense as well.
  45. mglenadel

    mglenadel Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Brazilian Portuguese
    One more about this: the umlaut used to serve to signal that the "u" was spoken, unlike in words such as "guitarra", which is spoken as "gi-tarra" (with a hard "g"--normally a "g" before "e" and "i" is soft, as in "gelo" or "girafa", so to 'harden' the "g", the "u" is added). Sometimes the "u" after the "g" is spoken, so, to signal this, the "ü" was used. The current agreement (Acordo Ortográfico) does away with the umlaut, and we have to know in which words the "u" is spoken.

    All this to say Nicaraguense and Nicaragüense are spoken the same, with a hard "g" and the "u" spoken.
  46. J. Bailica Senior Member

    Português - Portugal
    Hondurenho (Honduras); guineense (Guiné); andorrenho (Andorra); macaense (Macau); saudita (Arábia Saudita); azeri [acho eu] (Azerbeijão); casaque (Casaquistão).


    Mas agora vais ter de retribuir, satisfazendo uma curiosidade minha: tu dás estas matérias nas aulas, ou és apenas insaciavelmente curiosa e interessada (e ainda bem, provavelmente, desde que consigas dormir à noite :))?

    Já agora: penso que o Ciberdúvidas tem algumas respostas para (pelo menos) os casos mais estranhos deste tipo de questões.
  47. reka39 Banned

    Infelizmente, só muito curiosa!
  48. Alandria Senior Member

    Brasil - São Paulo
    Algumas para memorizarem e que poucos sabem:

    No Recife
    No Crato
    Em Barbalha
    Em treze tílias

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