In English, we have by, from, for, to, etc., and in Portuguese, we have por, de, para, a, etc.

Prepositions can be tricky because you often can’t translate them literally. Each one can correspond to multiple possible words in English, and vice versa. For example, de could translate to of, by, from, about, or even to nothing, depending on the context.

There are some general patterns, but usually, you’ll need to consider the construction and meaning of the entire phrase, rather than just that one word. It takes time, but with lots of listening practice and exposure to Portuguese, prepositions will start to become second nature.

Ready to test yourself? Try filling in the missing prepositions in the sentences below.

Eu gosto ___ café - I like coffee

A salada é ___ ele - The salad is for him

Ela vai ___ festa - She goes to the party

Ela vai ___ aí - She goes through there

Eu estou ___ férias - I’m on vacation (holiday)

Sou ___ Portugal - I’m from Portugal

___ onde vais? - Where are you going?

Eu falo ___ ti - I talk about you

Eu espero ___ ti - I’ll wait for you

Preciso ___ dinheiro - I need money

Vou viajar ___ comboio - I’ll travel by train

A criança apontou ___ cima - The child pointed up

Isto sabe ___ morango - This tastes like strawberry

Obrigada ___ presente - Thank you for the gift

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