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In-person Intensive Courses Upcoming
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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?

Take this placement test

Any questions?

Inquiry

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?

Inquiry

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).

CEFR Scale

Learn more about the CEFR scale

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?

Inquiry

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.

Any questions?

Inquiry

New dates covering the period Mar–Jun will soon be announced. Fill up this form and I will keep you posted.

Online Intensive Courses Upcoming
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Can't you attend any courses this season? Fill up this form and I will keep you posted on upcoming Intensive Courses.

In-person Intensive Courses Upcoming
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Surprise surprise!

Do you know what constipado means in Portuguese? Probably not what you are thinking...

Get a list of 50+ English-Portuguese False Friends and be surprised.

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Struggling with Pronunciation?

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Portuguese Tricky Verbs: Saber vs Conseguir vs Poder vs Conhecer

There’s a lot of confusion around the following Portuguese verbs: Saber, Conseguir, Poder, and Conhecer

That’s most likely the case for anyone using English as a reference while learning Portuguese. Why?

When in English we use the verb Can, in Portuguese that could be Saber, Conseguir, or Poder depending on the context.

Similarly, when in English we use the verb Know, the Portuguese equivalent could be Saber or Conhecer according to the situation.

In other words, the Portuguese equivalents of Can and Know amount to 4 verbs – Saber, Conseguir, Poder, and Conhecer. In that regard, Portuguese verbs are more nuanced and attuned to context than their English counterparts and that’s what makes it tricky for many language learners.

Luckily, there are contextual guidelines that will help you know when to use either verb – that’s what this short article is all about.

Having said that, keep in mind that these contextual differences are often subtle and sometimes these verbs can even be used interchangeably. What follows is then a simplification of otherwise more complex and subtle verb usage patterns. 

To make it plain and easy to follow, I will be using one dialog thread to take you through it all. Read on.

Saber vs. Conseguir vs. Poder / Can in English

When in English we use Can, in Portuguese that could be either Saber, Conseguir or Poder.

Saber – Skills and Know-how

We use Saber to talk about skills in general:

Joel: Sabes tocar guitarra?
Tiago: Sim, sei (tocar guitarra).
Joel: Can you play guitar? (Do you know how to play guitar?)
Tiago: Yeah, I can play guitar. (Yeah, I know how to play guitar.)

Granted, more often than not, in this kind of situation, we leave out our auxiliary Saber:

Joel: Tocas guitarra? 
Tiago:  Sim, toco (guitarra). 
Joel: Do you play guitar?
Tiago: Yes, I do.

Conseguir – Achievement

One thing is a general skill, another thing is trying to push boundaries within that skill. In the context of a challenge or obstacle that we may or may not overcome, we tend to use Conseguir:

Joel: Consegues tocar aquele solo do Pat Metheny? 
Tiago: Não, isso é muito difícil. Mas um dia vou conseguir.
Joel: Can you play that solo by Pat Metheny?
Tiago: No, that’s very difficult. But one day I’ll manage to do it.

As a rule of thumb, in English, whenever it makes sense for you to use the phrases manage to or be able to, chances are that you want to use Conseguir in Portuguese. 

Poder – Possibility / Permission

We use Poder to express possibility (or the lack of it):

Tiago: Lembras de me perguntar se conseguia tocar aquele solo do Metheny?
Joel: Sim, lembro. Uau, já consegues?!
Tiago: Sim, posso mostrar-te, queres?
Joel: Claro que sim. 
Tiago: Do you remember asking me if I could play that Metheny solo?
Joel: Yes, I remember. Wow, you can play it now?!
Tiago: Yeah, I can show you, shall I?
Joel: Sure, go ahead.

Similarly, we use Poder to express permission (or negate it).

Joel: Posso experimentar a tua guitarra?
Tiago: Claro que sim.
Joel: Can I try out your guitar?
Tiago: Sure, go ahead.

Saber vs. Conhecer /Know in English

Saber – Abract knowlege

Generally, we use Saber to talk about knowledge/information that we learn or that we are told:

Joel: Sabes quem vem a Lisboa para dar um concerto?
Tiago:  Claro que sei. É o Pat Metheny.
Joel: Do you know who’s coming to Lisbon to play a concert?
Tiago: Of course I know. It’s Pat Metheny.

Conhecer – Experiential knowledge

Typically, we use Conhecer when referring to people and places, or even to talk about things people create (things like music, literature, crafts, etc.)

Here’s an example of the latter:

Joel: Conheces os álbuns mais antigos do Pat Metheny.
Tiago: Sim, conheço toda a obra dele.
Joel: You know Pat Metheny’s older albums.
Tiago: Yes, I know all of his work.

Here are a couple of example where Conhecer is referring to people and places respectively:

Joel: E os outros músicos que vão tocar com ele. Conhece-los a todos?
Tiago: conheço o baterista. Os outros são todos novos. 
Joel: And the other musicians who will be playing with him. Do you know all of them?
Tiago: I just know the drummer. The others are all new to the band. 

Joel: O concerto vai ser no Coliseu dos Recreios, conheces esse sítio?
Tiago: Conheço muito bem. 
Joel: The concert will be at the Coliseu dos Recreios, do you know that place?
Tiago: I know it very well.

That’s it. I hope you can now better understand the nuances between these verbs. And if you are wondering, yes, I am a big fan of Pat Metheny 🙂 Até breve

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