Verbs: The Present Indicative and Present ContinuousSo far, we have been concentrating on verbs in the present tense (also known as the ‘present indicative’). As in English, Portuguese tends to use the present tense only when we are referring to actions that are ongoing, or customary. For more literal explanations of what is happening at the present moment, we usually employ what is known as a ‘progressive’ (or continuous) tense, making use of a compound verb form.
To give you an example of what I am on about, we might say ‘I work here’. This is the literal present tense, but denotes an ongoing or customary action. If we wanted to refer to what is happening at this very moment, we would perhaps say ‘I am working here’ (which, strictly speaking, is not in the present tense). A literal translation of ‘I am working here’ would be ‘eu estou a trabalhar aqui’ or the Brazilian equivalent: ‘eu estou trabalhando aqui’ - so whilst we are still referring to the present, these forms are not present indicative but present continuous.
Just before we carry on, let me tell you about some word contractions. The word ‘em’, which can mean ‘in’ or ‘on’, depending on the context, can be merged with the definite or indefinite article to form a single word. Just prefix the definite or indefinite article with the letter ‘n’, for example: em + a = na (in or on the…); em + uma = numa (in or on a…). So to say ‘I live in a house’, instead of translating in full: ‘Eu moro em uma casa’, you can just say ‘Moro numa casa.’
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