Prepositions / Preposições

Prepositions are small words that connect two elements in a sentence or phrase. To use prepositions correctly is a hard job but, at the same time, using them incorrectly does not affect the understanding of the sentence. Click the arrow to hear the sound.

To – A      / As  

These prepositions are used to indicate the final destiny, time and direction. They are also used along with verbs that indicate movement and in some idiomatic expressions. These prepositions form contractions when used with definite articles. Study the chart below.

Definite Article Feminine Masculine Translation
A As O Os
A+ À Às Ao Aos To/ at/ for + the


Examples: A/As and À/ Às – used before feminine words.

• Ela vai à festa. She is going to the party


Examples: Ao/Aos – used before masculine words.

• Eu fui ao cinema. I went to the movie

Some expressions:


Sentar à mesa – seat at the table

• Vamos nos  sentar à mesa?  Let’s sit at the table?


À tarde – in the afternoon.

• Eu estudo português à tarde. – I study Portuguese in the afternoon.


À noite – in the evening / at night

• Eu estudo português à noite. – I study Portuguese in the evening.


A pé – on foot

• Eu fui ao parque a pé. – I went to the park on foot.


A ponto de – be about to

• Eu estou a ponto de deixar meu trabalho. I’m about to leave my job.


In order to, to, forward, for – Para  

This preposition is used to indicate the final destiny, recipient, deadline and to indicate goals.


  • Meus amigos foram  para o Brasil. My friends went to Brasil. (destiny)
  • Comprei um presente para você. I bought a gift for you. (recipient)
  • Maria está estudando para ter boas notas. Maria is studying in order to have good grades. (goals)
  • Preciso do livro para segunda-feira. I need the book for Monday.  (deadline)


On / In / At – Em  

Em – this preposition indicates places. When used with definite or indefinite articles, a contraction is formed. The contractions’ translation when definite articles are used is on / in / at + the and when indefinite articles are used the contractions’ translation is on /in/ at + a (singular) or + some (plural). Contractions agree in gender and number with the place they refer to. Study the charts below:


Definite Article Feminine Masculine Translation
A As O Os
Em + Na    Nas    No    Nos    on / in / at + the



Indefinite Articles Feminine Masculine Translation
Uma Umas Um Uns
Em + Numa Numas  Num   Nuns    on / in / at + a (or some)


For, by, through – Por   

This preposition is used to indicate the duration of a period, the way used to reach the final destiny, to express gratitude, in passive voice sentences indicating the doer (the active person) of an action and also in some idiomatic expressions.



  • “Código da Vinci” foi escrito por Dan Brown. “Da Vinci Code” was written by Dan Brown.
  • Eu morei no Brasil por 5 anos. I lived in Brazil for 5 years.
  • Cada ingresso custa R$ 5,00 por pessoa. Each ticket costs R$5,00 per person.
  • Obrigado por tudo. Thanks for everything

In some cases por is used with definite articles forming contractions (study the chart below).


Definite Article Feminine Masculine Translation
A As O Os
por+ pela    pelas    pelo    pelos   For / by / through + the


Pela / Pelas – used before feminine words.

  • Ela deixou a casa pela porta de trás. She left the house through the back door.
  • Ela trocou as camisas pelas saias. She exchanged the shirts for the skirts

Pelo / Pelos – used before masculine words.

  • Nós andamos pelo parque. We walked along the park.
  • Obrigado pelos presentes. Thank you for the gifts.


Some expressions using Por / Pelo/ Pela

  • Pelo menos não vai chover amanhã. (at least)

At least it is not going to rain tomorrow.


  • Pela primeira vez eu tive boas notas, (for the first time)

For the first time I had good grades.


  • Pelo amor de Deus, volte logo. (For God’s sake)

For God’s sake come back soon.


  • Por outro lado a cidade tem bons restaurantes. (on the other hand)

On the other hand the city has good restaurants.


  • Por suposto vou estar na sua festa de aniversário. (of course)

Of course, I’m going to be at your birthday party.


From / of – de  

The preposition “de” is used to indicate possession, origin, and material. It is also used with some verbs such as gostar de (to like), precisar de (to need) and to indicate the kind of transport used to reach a place.


  • Comprei um anel de prata. I bought a silver ring.
  • Eles são de São Paulo. They are from Sao Paulo.
  • Eu vou para o Brasil de avião. I’m going to Brazil by plane.

In some cases de is used with definite articles forming contractions (see the chart below). Usually the contractions are used to specify the word the preposition is connected to and also to show the ownership of something.


Definite Article Feminine Masculine Translation
A As O Os
De+ da    das    do    dos    From / of + the


Da / Das – used before feminine words.

  • Ela usou o carro da amiga. She used her friend’s car.
  • Ele não encontrou os livros das amigas. He did not find his friends’ books.

Do / Dos – used before masculine words.

  • Ele gosta dos novos amigos. He likes the new friends.
  • O cachorro do vizinho é pequeno. The neighbor’s dog is small.