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Portuguese Regular Verbs in the Present Tense

It is true that Portuguese verbs are more cumbersome to learn than, say, English. Being a Romance language, Portuguese is not short of verb forms to keep track of.

Fortunately, there are plenty of regular verbs as well, that is, verbs whose conjugation follow a regular pattern. This means that you can learn and apply a conjugation “formula” that works with any regular verb. Neat.

In Portuguese, regular verbs are distributed into 3 conjugation groups:

1st conjugation: -AR (Acordar)2nd conjugation: -ER (Mexer)3rd conjugation: -IR (Partir)
Ele, ela, vocêacordamexeparte
Vocês acordam mexempartem
Eles, elasacordammexempartem

In what follows, I will walk you through the conjugation patterns in greater detail. Namely, we look into some minor spelling adjustments that sometimes occur in the first person of the present tense. Read on.

Here’s an analogous article for the past tensePortuguese Regular Verbs in the Past Tense.  

Regular conjugation

To conjugate any regular verb in the present tense, remove the ending of the infinitive – either ar, er, or ir –  and add, instead, the following endings to the stem (marked in bold):

1st conjugation: -AR (Pensar)2nd conjugation: -ER (Vender)3rd conjugation: -IR (Abrir)
Ele, ela, vocêpensavendeabre
Vocês (vós)*pensam (pensais)vendem (vendeis)abrem (abris)
Eles, elaspensamvendemabrem
Other commonly used regular verbsficar, andar, falar, chegar, costumar, gostar, morarcomer, beber, querer, dever, correr, viverpartir, existir, sentir, dormir

* In modern Portuguese, the 2- and 3-person plural share the same verb form. You may occasionally hear an outdated version (enclosed in parentheses in the table above) in conjunction with the pronoun vós. As its usage becomes ever rarer, I don’t think you should bother to learn it.   

Minor spelling adjustments

There are a few verbs in the -ir group whose conjugation follows the above pattern except for the first person – these are verbs containing either an e or an o in their stem.

So, the e and o become i and u (respectively) in the first person. Here are a few examples:

e to i
despireu dispo, tu despes, ele despe, etc.
mentireu minto, tu mentes, ele mente, etc.
preferireu prefiro, tu preferes, ele, prefere, etc
o to u
cobrireu cubro, tu cobres, ele, cobre, etc.
dormireu durmo, tu dormes, ele dorme, etc.
tossireu tusso, tu tosses, ele tosse, etc.

Also, if the stem of an -er or -ir verb ends in -c, -g, or gu, these consonants change to , -j, and g respectively in the first person of the present tense (to preserve the original consonant sound*): 

c to ç
conhecereu conheço, tu conheces, ele conhece, etc.
parecereu pareço, tu pareces, ele parece, etc.
g to j
fugireu fujo, tu foges, ele foge, etc.
agireu ajo, tu ages, ele age, etc.
gu to g
conseguireu consigo, tu consegues, ele consegue, etc.
seguireu sigo, tu segues, ele segue, etc.

* Learn more about Portuguese phonology and spelling-sound patterns: European Portuguese Pronunciation – Complete Guide to Portuguese Phonology and Spelling-Sound Patterns.

10 non-regular verbs you want to learn

It is true that there are many regular verbs in the present tense (the 1st-conjugation group is by far the largest). However, some of the most widely used Portuguese verbs happen to be irregular. 

Here’re 10 Portuguese irregular verbs you should know by heart:

ser (be)sou, és, é, somos, são
estar (be)estou, estás, está, estamos, estão
ter (have)tenho, tens, tem, temos, têm
haver (there is)
dar (give)dou, dás, dá, damos, dão
pôr (put)ponho, pões, põe, pomos, põem
ir (go)vou, vais, vai, vamos, vão
fazer (do, make)faço, fazes, faz, fazemos, fazem
poder (can)posso, podes, pode, podemos, podem
saber (know)sei, sabes, sabe, sabemos, sabem

Reading tips! Speaking of widely used verbs. Here’re a few reads that will turn you into a better user of Portuguese:

Portuguese Must-Know Irregular Verbs
Making the Most of the Portuguese Verb “Ficar”: Usage Rundown and Conjugation
The Portuguese Verb “Haver” and All the Things You Say with It
The Portuguese Verb “Dar”: Usage and Idiomatic Expressions
Portuguese Verbs Ser vs. Estar: How and When to Use Either

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