Expressing Bigger & Smaller in Portuguese

A very common mistake that students learning Portuguese make is in the way that they express that something is bigger or smaller. The word for big in Portuguese is “grande,” and the word for small is “pequeno” or “pequena.” Many times, to say bigger or smaller, a Portuguese learner will say “mais grande” or “mais pequeno,” which literally translates as “more big” and “more small.” This, however, is incorrect! See the table below for the correct way!

English Portuguese English Portuguese
big grande bigger maior
small pequeno/a smaller menor

As you can see, the correct way of expressing “bigger” and “smaller” in Portuguese is “maior” and “menor.”