Adjectives – Adjetivos

An adjective is word that attributes a quality or characteristic for a noun modifying it.


Without Adjective With Adjective
O carro – the car O carro pequeno – the small car. (Observe that the word “pequeno” – small – modifies the noun “carro” – car. Being “pequeno” is a characteristic of the car.)
A casa – the house A casa suja – the dirty house. (Observe that the word “suja” – dirty – modifies the noun “casa” – house. Being “suja” is a quality of the house.)

The adjective may attribute a concrete or abstract quality to the noun, it may qualify the noun or indicate quantity.


  • A lição fácil – The easy lesson. (Observe that the word “fácil” – easy – modifies the noun “lição” – lesson. Being “fácil” is an abstract quality of the lesson)
  • A casa branca– the white house. (Observe that the word “branca” – white – modifies the noun “casa” – house. Being “white” is a concrete quality of the house.)
  • Poucas canetas – few pens. (Observe that the word “poucas” – few – quantifies the noun “canetas” – pens)

The adjective may have the same termination when it refers to masculine and feminine words. Observe in the examples below that the adjective remains unchanged even when it refers to a feminine word.


  • O homem forte – The strong man
  • A mulher forte – The strong woman

Usually adjectives ending in “e” and “ista” have just one termination for both genders.

More examples:

  • O menino inteligente – The intelligent boy
  • A menina inteligente – The intelligent girl
  • O professor idealista – The idealist teacher
  • A professora idealista – The idealist teacher.

The adjective may have different terminations according to each gender. Adjectives ending in “o” can be either masculine or neutral. To compose the feminine form of adjectives ending in “o” just change the “o” for the letter “a”


  • O menino alto – The tall boy
  • A menina alta – The tall girl

The adjective agrees in number with the noun. See the examples below:


Singluar Plural
O menino inteligente – the intelligent boy. (singular) Os meninos inteligentes – the intelligent boys. (plural)
A mesa grande – The big table. (singular) As mesas grandes – the big tables.(plura)

Usually in Portuguese the adjective follows the noun.


  • A mulher bonita – The beautiful woman
  • O carro pequeno – The small car

But in some cases the adjective may precede the noun. For these cases the adjective is more emphatic and may attribute a metaphoric quality to the noun.


  • Uma velha amiga – a longtime friend.
  • Una amiga velha – an old friend.

Adjectives in Portuguese

Portuguese English
Alto(a) Tall
Baixo(a) Low
Bom / Boa Good
Quente Hot
Cansado(a) Tired
Curto(a) Short
Fraco(a) Weak
Magro (a) Thin
Fácil Easy
Feio(a) Ugly
Frio(a) Cold
Forte Strong
Grande Big
Bonito (a) Beautiful
Honesto (a) Honest
Inteligente Intelligent
Longo(a) Long
Louco(a) Crazy
Novo(a) new
Pequeno(a) Small
Pobre Poor
Responsável Responsible
Rico(a) Rich
Delicioso(a) Delicious
Triste Sad
Velho(a) Old