Relative Pronouns – Pronomes Relativos

Relative Pronouns

A relative pronoun is a word that connects or combines two elements in a sentence standing in a place of a noun. Relative pronouns always refer to the antecedent word.


  • This is the book. I edited the book
  • This is the book that I edited.

Observe that the word “that” is connecting two sentences: “This is the book” and “I edited the book” The relative pronoun “that”, in the example above refer to the previous word “book”.

In this lesson you’ll learn some relative pronouns in Portuguese.


“Que” means who, whom, which and that, thus it can be used to refer to both people and things. “Que” can be used with or without a preposition even when it refers to people.


  • A menina que estava no parque é Laura. (The girl who was in the park is Laura)
  • A porta que está quebrada. (The door that is broken)
  • O homem que encontramos ontem, é meu amigo. (The man whom we met is my friend)


“Quem” mean who or whom. This relative pronoun is used just to refer to people. “Quien” is singular and “quienes” is plural. A preposition must precede this pronoun. Study the examples below:


  • A pessoa a quem ele dedicou o troféu também foi um vencedor. (The person to whom he dedicated the trophy was also a winner)
  • O ator a quem me referi ganhou o Oscar. (The actor who I referred won the Oscar)

Qual / Quais

“Qual / quais” means that, which, whom, whom. In other words they have the same meaning as “Que” and “Quem” do. They are used to refer to both people and things. “Qual” is singular and “quais” is plural. Definite articles must precede and agree with these relative pronouns. If the preposition that proceed the pronoun has more than 2 syllables, you have to use “qual”. Study the examples below:


  • O ator sobre o qual falei é muito talentoso. (The actor who I talked about is very talented.)
  • O caso o qual estou investigando ocorreu em São Paulo. (The case that I’m investigating occurred in Sao Paulo.)

Cujo / cujos / cuja / cujas

“Cujo / cujos / cuja / cujas” mean whose. These relative pronouns agree in gender and number with the possessed thing (and not the owner).


  • O menino cuja irmã está doente, estuda em outra escola. (The boy whose sister is sick, studies in another school.)
  • O professor cujos alunos estão no parque, é meu amigo. (The teacher whose students are in the park, is my friend.)
  • A menina cujo irmão está doente, estuda em outra escola. (The boy whose sister is sick, studies in another school.)
  • O professor cujas filhas você conheceu é Alfredo. (The teacher whose daughters you met is Alfredo)

Observe that in all examples above cujo / cujos / cuja / cujas – agree with the possessed things.


“Onde” also means “em que” and always refer to places.


  • A cidade onde nasci é pequena. (the city where I was born is small)