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Intermediate B1

This intensive course is for language learners striving toward the B1 level. The language of instruction is Portuguese. I will speak in English only if need be.

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My suggestion for these two weeks is to focus on*:

  • Conversation
  • Listening comprehension
  • Reading comprehension
  • Compound tenses (Ter auxiliary) / Personal Infinitive / Imperative Mood / Present Subjunctive
  • Prepositional usage

*There's always room to adjust the course according to the group's preferences:

After this course, you'll have come closer to the B1 level and have the tools and strategies to get there and beyond.

Not sure if you should enroll in the A2 or B1 course?

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Beginners A2

This intensive course is for language learners striving toward the A2 level. The language of instruction is English/Portuguese typically in a 30/70 ratio. (I always speak with you in Portuguese as much as possible.)

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My suggestion for these two weeks is to focus on:

  • Listening comprehension
  • Oral interaction
  • Past tense (Perfeito vs. Imperfeito)
  • Prepositional usage
  • Any other aspects according to your preferences as a group

After this course, you'll have come closer to the A2 level and gained the tools to take it further all by yourself.

Not sure if you should enroll in the A2 or B1 course?

Take this placement test

Any questions?


Beginners A1

This intensive course is for language learners striving toward the A1 level. The language of instruction is English/Portuguese typically in a 60/40 ratio. (I always speak with you in Portuguese as much as possible.)

If you've just started your learning journey, it may be that you will find this course a bit challenging. Nothing wrong with that. However, if you want to take it easy, consider enrolling for the Clean Slate A0 instead (if available).

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This is an all-round course, which means that we’ll work on all aspects of language learning according to the A1 level*:

  • Pronunciation
  • Listening comprehension
  • Reading comprehension
  • Conversation
  • Grammar

* There's always room to adjust the course according to your preferences as a group.

After this course, you'll have come closer to the A1 level and gained the tools to take it further all by yourself.

Not sure if you should enroll in the A1 or A2 course?

Take this placement test

Any questions?


Clean Slate A0

Geared toward Absolute Beginners, this course gives you a solid start and foundation to build upon. The language of instruction is almost entirely in English.

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This is an introductory course to the Portuguese language as spoken in Portugal. Throughout the course, we will focus on the Portuguese sound system and basic Portuguese grammar.

You will also learn how to introduce yourself and day-to-day, useful phrases. Finally, we will discuss learning resources and strategies to support your learning journey.

After the course, you will have a basic understanding of European Portuguese pronunciation and grammar. You will also be capable of engaging in simple, short oral interactions. Last but not least, you will be aware of a variety of learning resources and strategies to help you succeed at learning the language.

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Portuguese Reflexive Verbs and Pronouns

Reflexive verbs are abundant in Portuguese and many of them are frequently used in everyday life. 

It is very easy for language learners – especially those without any previous acquaintance with Romance languages – to leave out the reflexive pronoun when they need to say a reflexive verb. And yet, that little word can make all the difference!

More often than not, the non-reflexive version of a given verb means something different altogether. Note the different meanings of atrapalhar-se and atrapalhar in the following example:

Ele atrapalhou-se e perdeu o controlo.
He fumbled and lost control.

Saí porque não quis atrapalhar ninguém.
I left because I didn’t want to disturb anyone.

Also, many learners of Portuguese seem to struggle with getting to grips with the word order concerning the reflexive pronoun and the verb form itself.

In this article, you will learn (1) what reflexive verbs are and what they look like and (2) where to place the reflexive pronoun in relation to the verb form. You will also (3) get acquainted with commonly used Portuguese reflexive verbs and (4) learn about other uses of the reflexive pronoun -se. Read on

Portuguese reflexive verbs and pronouns

Simply put, reflexive verbs imply that the subject and object of a sentence are the same. In other words, the actions denoted by reflexive verbs reflect back on the subject.

In English, reflexive verbs are paired with reflexive pronouns such as myself, yourself, and herself, for example, I washed myself. Analogously, the same applies to Portuguese, that is, the verb forms are paired up with reflexive pronouns.

Here’s what Portuguese reflexive pronouns look like:


And here’s an example of a Portuguese reflexive verb:

Cortar-se (present tense)
Cut oneself
* The first person plural of the verb drops its final -s when followed by the reflexive pronoun – from cortamos to cortamo(-nos).

Notice that the reflexive pronouns above follow the verb forms. However, there are cases where they swap positions. We will be looking into that in a moment.

As mentioned in the introduction, there are considerably more reflexive verbs in Portuguese than in English meaning that many Portuguese reflexive verbs have non-reflexive English equivalents. Here’s an example:

Lembrar-se (present tense)

Again, Portuguese reflexive verbs have, more often than not, a non-reflexive counterpart with a different meaning. For instance, while the verb lembrar-se means remember, the verb lembrar means remind

Nearly all English reflexive verbs are also reflexive in Portuguese, which, in that case, becomes quite intuitive (assuming that you have a good command of English).   

Also, the English structure get + past participle normally has Portuguese reflexive equivalents (get injured > magoar-se; get dressed > vestir-se; get lost > perder-se; etc.)

There is, however, a large number of Portuguese reflexive verbs beyond the above-mentioned categories. In order to keep track of them might be challenging for many, especially if you are not acquainted with other Romance languages from before.

If that’s your case, well, you’ll probably have to learn them by heart. But don’t fret, further down you’ll find usage examples of commonly used Portuguese reflexive verbs to help you become familiarised with them. 

Let’s now turn our focus to word order.

Placement of Portuguese reflexive pronouns

Single verbs

Reflexive pronouns are normally placed after the verb form and linked to it by a hyphen:

Vejo-me ao espelho todas as manhãs.
I see myself in the mirror every morning.

However, there are cases where the reflexive pronoun comes before the verb and, in that case, without the hyphen between them. 

This word order change takes place when the reflexive verb is preceded by either (1) negative words (negative sentences), (2) question words (interrogative sentences), (3) subordinating conjunctions and prepositions, (4) adverbs, or (5) indefinite pronouns and determiners:

1. Negative wordsnão, nunca, ninguém, nenhum, nada, jamais
2. Question wordso que, porque, quanto/a(s), quando, qual/quais , onde, quem
3. Subordinate conjunctions and prepositionsque, para, por, porque, se, como, em, de, conforme, etc.
4. Adverbsainda, , tudo, sempre, também, talvez, pouco, bastante, muito, tanto, tão, só, lá etc.
5. Indefinite pronouns/determinerstudo, todo/a(s), bastantes, muito/a(s), pouco/a(s), alguém, algo, etc.

Tips! The placement of object pronouns follows the exact same rules and patterns of reflexive pronouns. Learn more about Portuguese object pronouns in this article: Portuguese Object Pronouns: What Are They for and Where to Place Them.

Let’s look at a few examples.

1. Negative words

Reflexive pronouns precede the verb form in negative sentences: 

Eu não me penteei hoje.
I didn’t comb my hair today.

Nunca te lembras do meu aniversário.
You never remember my birthday.

Ninguém se sentou à mesa.
No one took a seat around the table. 

Nada se perde, tudo se transforma. 
Nothing gets lost, everything is transformed. 

2. Question words

Reflexive pronouns precede the verb form in interrogative sentences introduced by a question word:

Onde te encontras?
Where are you?

Como te chamas?
What’s your name?

Quem se atrasou?
Who got in late? 

Quando é que te mudas para cá?
When are you moving here?

3. Subordinate conjunctions and prepositions

Reflexive pronouns precede the verb form when the reflexive verb itself is introduced by a subordinating conjunction or preposition:

Acho que te enganas a ti próprio.
I think you’re fooling yourself.

Ele fala comigo para se recordar dos bons velhos tempos.
He talks to me to remember the good old days.

Ele foi-se embora porque se chateou comigo.
He left because he got upset with me.

Ela soube como se apresentar.
Now she knew how to introduce herself.

O Rui acabou por se curar.
Rui managed to heal in the end.

Tenho de me lembrar de tomar o comprimido.
I must remember to take the pill.

Ela anda a falar em se mudar para o Brasil.
She has been talking about moving to Brazil.

É melhor se te levantares mais cedo .
It is better if you get up earlier.

4. Adverbs

Reflexive pronouns precede the verb form when the reflexive verb itself follows certain adverbs:

te esqueceste de mim?
Have you already forgotten me?

Talvez me divirta logo à noite.
Maybe I will have fun later in the evening.

Pouco me importa o que os outros pensam.
I don’t care about what other people might think.

Sempre te sentas ao meu ao meu lado para conversarmos?
Are you finally sitting next to me to have a chat?

Notice that the adverb sempre in the example above corresponds to finally in English. However, sempre also means always, which, in that case, comes after the verb form, thus causing no word order change:

Enganas-te sempre na estrada.
You always take the wrong road.

5. Indefinite pronouns

Reflexive pronouns precede the verb form when the reflexive verb itself follows an indefinite pronoun or determiner:

Sinto-me muito sensível, tudo me magoa.
I feel quite sensitive, everything hurts me.

Todos os homens se afastaram do elefante enraivecido.
All the men moved away from the angry elephant.

Alguém se magoou?
Did someone get hurt?

Poucos se lembram do meu aniversário.
Few bothered to remember my birthday.

Algo se aproximava.
Something was coming closer.

Future and conditional

In the future tense and conditional tenses, reflexive pronouns are normally placed between the stem and the ending of the verb form, all parts separated by hyphens.


Levantar-me-ei mais cedo amanhã.
I will get up earlier tomorrow.


Levantar-me-ia mais cedo se não tivesse tão cansado. 
I would get up earlier if I were not this tired.

However, note that the tone in the examples above is quite formal. In everyday life, people would rather go with something like this: 

FUTURE EQUIVALENT (w/ the auxiliary verb Ir)

Vou-me levantar mais cedo amanhã.
I will get up earlier tomorrow.


Levantava-me mais cedo se não tivesse tão cansado. 
I would get up earlier if I were not this tired.

Reading tips! Learn more about Portuguese verb structures: Portuguese Verb Usage and Tenses: A Practical Guide Anchored to English.

Two verbs

Auxiliary + reflexive verb

When a reflexive verb is preceded by an auxiliary verb – for example, ir, começar, querer, poder, conseguir, estar, ajudar, costumar, among others – its reflexive pronoun can be placed either after (1) the reflexive verb, or (2) after the auxiliary verb (the latter sounds more colloquial). 

Here’s an example with the auxiliary verb ir and the reflexive verb deitar-se:

(1) Vou deitarme agora.
(2) Voume deitar agora.
I will go to bed now.

However, if the verbs are preceded by any of those words that we’ve covered above – question and negative words, as well as certain adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, or pronouns – the reflexive pronoun is best placed before the auxiliary verb:

me vou deitar.
I am already going to bed.

Todos se vão deitar cedo esta noite.
Everyone will go to bed early tonight.

Hoje não me vou deitar antes das 3 da manhã.
Today, I am not going to bed before 3 am.

Quando te vais deitar?
When are you going to bed?

Verb “ter” + reflexive verb

In Portuguese, we use the verb ter to build compound tenses, just the same way we use have in English (take for instance the English present perfect tense with the auxiliary have before the main verb).

In the case of Portuguese compound tenses, the reflexive pronoun normally follows the auxiliary ter, not the reflexive verb itself:

Tenhome deitado tarde.
I have been going to bed late at night.

Again, if the verbs are preceded by any of those words we mentioned above, the reflexive pronoun is best placed before ter:

Nunca me tinha deitado tão tarde antes.
I have been going to bed late at night.

Pelas 21h, todos se tinham deitado.
By 9 pm, everyone had already gone to bed.

Brazilian Portuguese

The placement of reflexive pronouns in Brazilian Portuguese is somewhat more flexible. Often, they come before the verb:

Ontem me lembrei de você.
Yesterday you were on my mind.

Se sente aqui do meu lado.
Sit here by my side.

Further reading! Learn more about how European and Brazilian Portuguese compare:  European vs. Brazilian Portuguese – How Different Are They, Really?

Commonly used Portuguese reflexive verbs

Reflexive in both Portuguese and English

Since these verbs are also used reflexively in English, it will then be intuitive for you to use them reflexively in Portuguese. Here are a few examples of reflexive verbs in both languages:

Present oneself

Ela apresentou-se como sendo líder de equipa.
She presented herself as being a team leader.
Present, introduce

Amanhã vou apresentar a minha namorada aos meus pais.
Tomorrow I will introduce my girlfriend to my parents.
Convince oneself

Ele convenceu-se de que conseguia, e conseguiu!
He convinced himself that he could do it, and he did it!

Tenta convencer o Rodolfo a fazer o mesmo.
Try to convince Rodolfo to do the same.
Cut oneself

Ela cortou-se com uma faca.
She cut herself with a knife.

Ela cortou a laranja a meio.
She cut the orange in half.
Find oneself, be (location)

Encontro-me numa situação delicada.
I find myself in a delicate situation.

Encontro-me em Lisboa
I am in Lisbon
Find, run into

Encontrei os meus óculos, finalmente.
I found my glasses, finally.

Encontrei o Paulo no outro dia.
I ran into Paulo the other day.
Enganar-se (a si mesmo)
Fool oneself, deceive oneself

Ele está apenas a enganar-se a si mesmo.
He’s only fooling himself.
Fool, deceive

Vai enganar outro!
Go away and try to fool someone else!
Hurt oneself

Vais magoar-te!
You’re going to hurt yourself!

As tuas palavras magoaram o teu amigo.
Your words hurt your friend.
Put oneself

Põe-te no meu lugar.
Put yourself in my place.

Põe o livro na mesa.
Put the book on the table.
See yourself

Devias ver-te ao espelho.
You should see yourself in the mirror.

Ela viu um espelho e comprou-o.
She saw a mirror and bought it.
. . . 

Reflexive in Portuguese only

Oftentimes, the English equivalents of Portuguese reflexive verbs are non-reflexive. In that case, you can no longer count on your English skills to guess it right.

It might then be easy for you to say Portuguese verbs in their non-reflexive forms when, in fact, what you want to say requires the opposite.  

See, most reflexive verbs also have a non-reflexive counterpart. However, both variants often mean different things, which can easily lead to misunderstandings. 

Below, you have a list of commonly used reflexive verbs (and their non-reflexive counterparts) to help you become familiarised with them.

Move oneself away

Tu afastaste-te de mim, porquê?
You’ve moved away from me. Why?
Move something away

Afasta um pouco o ecrã.
Move the screen away a few inches.
Cling, hold on

Agarra-te bem à corda se não vais cair!
Hold on tight to the rope, otherwise, you will fall down!
Grab, get a hold of

Isto é uma oportunidade única. Agarra-a!
This is a unique opportunity. Grab it!
Adapt oneself

Ele adaptou-se rápido ao novo trabalho.
He adapted fast to his new job.
Adapt something

Adaptei a guitarra para esquerdinos.
I adapted the guitar for left-handed people.
Get injured

A Sandra aleijou-se a jogar futebol.
Sandra got injured while playing soccer.
Hurt (physically)

Ele aleijou-me no joelho.
He hurt me on my knee.
To fall in love

Apaixonaste-te outra vez?
Did you fall in love again?
Take advantage

Não deixes que eles se aproveitem de ti.
Don’t allow them to take advantage of you.
Take the opportunity

Aproveita que estás no Porto para ir visitar o Palácio de Cristal.
Since you are in Porto, take the opportunity to visit the Palácio de Cristal.
Move oneself closer

Ela está-se a aproximar novamente dele.
She is getting closer to him again.
Move something closer

Podes aproximar um pouco a luz?
Can you move the light a few inches closer?
Get ready (to go out)

Arranjo-me em menos de 10 minutos.
I get ready in less than 10 minutes.
Fix, repair

Conseguiste arranjar a máquina de lavar?
Could you fix the washing machine?

Preciso de arranjar o cabelo antes de sair.
I need to fix my hair before I leave.

Ele vai arrepender-se!
He will regret it.
Fumble, get nervous

O malabarista atrapalhou-se e deixou cair as bolas.
The juggler fumbled and dropped the balls.
Disturb, hinder

Fui-me embora porque não a queria atrapalhar.
I went away because I didn’t want to disturb her.
Run late

Atrasei-me, desculpa!
I am late, sorry!
Delay, retard

As tuas exigências estão a atrasar o processo.
Your demands are delaying the process.
Shut up, stop talking

Calei-me quando percebi que não me ouvias.
I stopped talking when I realized that you were not listening.

Shut up!
Silence someone

Os meus argumentos calaram a Carla.
My arguments made Carla silent.
Get married

Vou-me casar para o próximo ano.
I am getting married next year.

Foi o padre Manoel que nos casou. 
It was Father Manoel who married us.
Get tired

Acredita em mim, vais-te cansar.
Believe me, you’ll get tired.
Tire out

Tu falas muito, assim acabas por cansar as pessoas.
You talk too much; that way you end up tiring out people around you.
Call oneself (literally)

Chamo-me Rita.
My name is Rita.

Ainda não chamaste o médico?
Have you called the doctor yet?
Get upset

Ela chateou-se com o pai dela.
She got upset with her father.
Annoy, hassle

Porque é que me estás a chatear?
Why are you nagging me?
Concentrate (focus)

Não me consigo concentrar com este ruído.
I can’t concentrate with all this noise.
Concentrate, bring together (something)

A indústria está concentrada no norte.
All the industry is concentrated in the north.
Get confused

A Joana confunde-se facilmente quando está cansada. 
Joana gets easily confused when she’s tired.
Confuse (someone)

Eu não quero confundir a Joana.
I don’t want to confuse Joana.
Heal, cure

Ele estava mal mas curou-se
He had been very ill but he healed.
Heal, cure (someone)

O médico curou-o.
The doctor healed him.

Ele demora-se muito tempo para se vestir.
He takes a long time to get dressed.
Take time

Quanto tempo demora?
How much time does it take?
Lie down, go to bed

Deita-te no sofá.
Lie down on the sofa.

A que horas te costumas deitar?
What time do you usually go to bed?
Lay / pour

Deita-o aqui nesta cama.
Lay him on this bed.

Deita alguma água aqui.
Pour some water here.
Manage, fend for oneself

Foi difícil no início, mas acabou por se desenrascar.
It was challenging in the beginning, but she managed it eventually.
Help, fix something for others

Consegues desenrascar-me com isto?
Would you be able to help me out with this?
Hurry up

Estamos atrasados, despacha-te!
We are running late. Hurry up!

Esta manhã consegui despachar todas as encomendas.
This morning I managed to dispatch all the orders.
Say farewell

Despedi-me e fui embora.
I said bye and went away.
Fire, dismiss

Ela tem de despedir 15 empregados.
She must fire 15 employees.
Go (formal)

Ele dirigiu-se aos correios.
He went to the post office

Sonho em dirigir uma orquestra sinfónica.
I dream about conducting a symphonic orchestra.
Have fun

Divertiste-te ontem à noite?
Did you have fun last night?

Fiquei em casa a divertir as crianças.
I stayed home entertaining the children.
Divorciar-se (also Separar-se)
Get divorced

A Teresa divorciou-se do Miguel.
Teresa divorced Miguel.
Lean oneself against

Encosta-te a mim para não caires.
Lean against me so that you don’t fall.
Leaning something against something

Encosta a bicicleta à parede.
Lean the bicycle against the wall.
Get something wrong, make a mistake

Enganei-me e virei à esquerda em vez da direita.
I got it wrong and I turned left instead of right.
Cheat, deceive

Para de enganar as pessoas.
Stop cheating around.

Ela esqueceu-se da reunião.
She forgot about the meeting.
Forget (imperative)

Esquece a reunião! Foi cancelada.
Forget about the meeting! It got canceled.
Get wounded

O Simão feriu-se gravemente na guerra.
Simão got badly wounded at war.
Lift/pick up

Podes levantar a cadeira?
Can you lift the chair?
Habituar-se (also Acostumar-se)
Get oneself used to

Ela já se habituou à nova casa.
She got used to the new house quickly.
Habituar (also Acostumar)
Get something/someone used to

Tenho de habituar o cão a dormir fora.
I must get the dog used to sleeping outside.
Lembrar-se (also Recordar-se)

Lembro-me de quando tinha cinco anos.
I remember when I was five.
Lembra (also Recordar)

Lembra a Rita para tomar o comprimido.
Remind Rita to take the pill.
Get up

A que horas costumas levantar-te?
What time do you usually get up?
Lift / pick up

Podes levantar a cadeira?
Can you lift the chair?
Get busted

Lixaste-me bem!
You screwed me over!

Precisas de lixar a mesa antes de a pintar.
You’ve got to sand the table before you paint it.

Não te metas!
Don’t get involved!
Put, throw in

Mesteste o meu lanche na mochila?
Did you put my snacks in the backpack?
Do something

Tive de me mexer, senão estava lixado,
I had to do something, otherwise, I was screwed.
Stir, touch

Arranja-me uma colher para mexer o arroz.
Give me a spoon to stir the rice.

Não mexas nisso!
Don’t touch that!
Move (change place permanently)

Quando é que te mudas para a Suécia?
When are you moving to Sweden?

Nunca mudas!
You just never change!
Comb (do one’s hair)

Ele penteia-se três vezes ao dia.
He styles his hair three times a day.
Comb (do someone else’s hair)

Penteio a Gabriela todos os dias antes de ela sair para a escola.
I do Gabriela’s hair every day before she leaves for school.
Get lost

O Mário perdeu-se nas montanhas.
Mário got lost in the mountains.

Perdi as minhas chaves.
I’ve lost my keys.
Portar-se (also Comportar-se)

Não te sabes portar bem!
You don’t know how to behave!

Preocupas-te em vão!
You worry in vain!
Get someone worried

Não faças isso, vais preocupar os teus pais.
Don’t do that; you will get your parents worried.

Estás sempre a queixar-te!
You are always complaining!
Make up one’s mind

Resolvi-me! Fico cá.
I’ve made up my mind! I’ll stay around. 
Decide, solve

Resolvi ficar cá.
I decided to stay around.

Consegui resolver o problema.
I managed to solve the problem.
Take a seat, sit

Sente-se, por favor!
Take a seat, please!
Place (sitting someone somewhere)

Onde vais sentar o teu pai?
Where are you placing your father? 
Be, feel

Sentes-te bem?
Are you (feeling) well?

Sinto-me cansado.
I feel tired.
Feel, have a feeling

Adoro sentir o calor do verão.
I love to feel summer’s heat.

Sinto que há não me amas.
I have a feeling that you don’t love me anymore.

Ele tornou-se num monstro.
He became a monster.
Do again, come back

Tornaste a fazer isso?
Did you do that again?

Nunca mais tornes aqui!
Don’t ever come back!

Ele transformou-se num monstro.
He became a monster.
Transform, turn

Consegues transformar chumbo em ouro?
Can you turn lead into gold?
Get dressed

Vou-me vestir.
I will get dressed.
Put on (clothes)

Veste este casaco.
Put on this jacket.
Voltar-se (also Virar-se)
Turn around

Podes voltar-te para mim?
Can you turn around to face me?
Come back

Tens de voltar a Lisboa!
You must come back to Lisbon!
. . . 

Other uses of the reflexive pronoun “se”

Impersonal register

We use the reflexive pronoun se (third-person singular) to speak about things in an impersonal way, just like we say you, one, they, or people in English:

Fala-se muito de política nesta casa.
People talk a lot about politics in this house.

Come-se bem naquele restaurante.
You eat well in that restaurant.


We also use the reflexive pronoun se (often reinforced by the expression um ao outro) to express reciprocity, just like we say each other or one another in English. A few examples:

Eles abraçam-se.
They hug each other.

Nós ajudamo-nos um ao outro.
We help one another

Eles matam-se.
They kill each other.

Eles agarram-se um ao outro.
They hold onto each other.

Other Portuguese verbs that often express this “one another” reciprocity are beijar (kiss), amar (love), magoar (hurt), odear (hate), casar (marry), and encontrar (meet) among others.

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