Portuguese/Contents/L1/Lesson Three - What Are You Going To Do?

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Dialogue 3[edit | edit source]

Ricardo: Olá! Como vai?
João: Bem, obrigado. E você?
Ricardo: Bem. O que vai fazer no sábado?
João: Eu vou passear com a minha mãe. E você?
Ricardo: Vou ao cinema.
João: Não gosta de nadar?
Ricardo: Não, eu e a minha esposa não gostamos de nadar.
João: Eu e a minha família gostamos de nadar.

In this dialogue João and Ricardo are talking about what they are going to do. What day? Well, let's have a look at the days of the week before we go any further.

Os dias da semana Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
segunda-feira terça-feira quarta-feira quinta-feira sexta-feira sábado domingo

Note: If it's clear that you are talking about days of the week, you don't actually have to say 'feira'.

So Ricardo says

Ricardo: Olá. O que vai fazer no sábado?

Olá of course means 'hello'.

O que você vai fazer (no sábado) ?

This is a very useful phrase that basically means 'What are you going to do (on Saturday)?' You can of course replace the 'sábado' with whichever day you want to use. 'No' is a contraction of 'em' (in) and 'o' ('the', masculine). Weekend days are masculine, whereas week days are feminine, so you'll say 'no domingo' (on Sunday) but 'na segunda(-feira)' (on Monday).

The answer will be something along the lines of:

(Eu) vou (fazer, nadar, comer)

This means 'I am going'. 'Vou' is one part of the word 'ir' which means 'to go' in Portuguese. Just like in English, we say what we will do by saying 'going to', in Portuguese we can use the verb 'ir' (which, as a verb, changes for each person that it refers to, like 'estar' and 'ser') to talk about the future. First we need to look at how to conjugate (change for each person) the verb 'ir'. Remember the tree analogy? 'Ir' is called the infinitive - the trunk - of the verb. We can't just simply use it, we have to change it.

IR - Present Indicative Tense
Eu vou - I go
Tu vais - You (familiar) go
Você vai - You (informal) go
Ele/Ela vai  - He/She goes
Nós vamos - We go
Vocês vão - You (plural) go
Eles/Elas vão - They (group of males or mixed) / They (group of females) go

You need to memorize the conjugations for this verb because it is IRREGULAR - it has no pattern to it.

You may also recognize a word from the dialogue. Ricardo asked João,

Como vai? - How are you doing (literally "How are you going?")

This is another way to ask how someone is. Do you remember Como está? from the first lesson? Remember that como means "how". So como vai? literally means "How are you going?". It can be replied to exactly like "Como está".


You may be asking how the word vão is pronounced. Whenever an accent has a tilde (that's the squiggly thing above the "a") you nasalize the vowel. This may be the hardest phonem for a non-native to pronounce. What this means precisely is very difficult to explain. If you speak French you will know how that (in French) the word marron is pronounced without the 'n' on the end. Instead the sound of the "o" comes out of your nose rather your mouth. With any luck we will be able to get some sound files up soon to show you this difficult pronunciation

Now that we know how this verb conjugates for every person, we can use it to say what someone is going to do.

Eu vou
I am going...
nadar- to swim

falar com um amigo - to talk with a friend
beber - to drink
ir ao cinema - go to the cinema

Nós vamos
We are going...

Of course you can use any of the conjugations we have learned, not just eu vou and Nós vamos.

Try out the following exercise

Fill in the following phrases using the appropriate form of the verb 'ir'.

1. Vocês ______ beber. - You (plural) are going to drink

2. Eu ______ comer no domingo. = I am going to eat on Sunday.

3. Ricardo e João ______ ___________ - Ricardo and João are going to swim. {Hint: Which type of conjugation is the phrase "Ricardo and João"?)

4. ____ vais falar com um amigo - You are going to talk with a friend

5. Ela ______ ler na terça-feira. - She is going to read on Tuesday.

6. __ ______ ________ fazer ____ ________? What are you going to do on Thursday?

7. ______ _______ ____ ________ ____ ____________ - You (use você) are going to go to the cinema on Friday.


1. vão

2. vou

3. vão nadar

4. tu

5. vai

6. O que vais fazer na quinta-feira?

7. Você vai ao cinema na sexta-feira.

If you got the last sentence right, well done! You have successfully translated your first sentence from English to Portuguese

The infinitive forms of verbs - like gostar, ser and ir - are used quite a bit in Portuguese - but usually only when there is another verb before them. For instance, we know that we use the infinitive after the verb 'ir'. We also know how to say "I like something". But how do we say "I like to do something"? This is nearly as simple as saying "I am going to do something". Except here we use the verb gostar (remember, this means to like) instead of ir - and we slip the word de in as well.

Eu gosto de
I like
ler - to read

falar - to talk
dormir - to sleep
ir ao cinema com um amigo - to go to the cinema with a friend

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