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[ARCHIVE] Prepositions for time

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[ARCHIVE] Prepositions for time

Post by EranBarLev »

Original post by Danmoller | Archived post

Hello there!

Although having translations different from the straightfoward dictionary translations, prepositions are mostly well behaved also when used with time in sentences.

Time and location/movements are the only cases where prepositions can have consistent translations. Other cases will probably demand experience more than understanding, but there are some tips to understand those too. (See prepositions for places here; see other prepositions here.)

So, let's get started!

Dates, days, months and years

In Portuguese using the prepositions for these cases is simpler than in English: all of them use the same preposition: "em". But it might be confusing because of the articles.

(Remember that "no" and "na" are just contractions of "em + o" and "em + a".)

When telling a numeric date or a named month, no article is used:

  • Aconteceu em 5 de abril. = It happened on April 5th.
  • Ela nasceu em 1977. = She was born in 1977.
  • Ele volta em agosto. = He returns in August.

Week days, on the other hand, will always require the article:

  • The show is on Friday. = O show é na sexta-feira.
  • She travels on Sunday. = Ela viaja no Domingo.

These prepositions can be omitted: "... é sexta-feira", "...viaja Domingo".

When the name of the time unit is present, the article is also needed:

If the unit is "mês", it's necessary to add a "de" after it.

  • O Natal é comemorado no dia 25 de dezembro. = Christmas is celebrated on December 25th.
  • As aulas começam no mês de agosto. = The classes start on August.
  • Estamos no ano 2015, quase em 2016. = We are in the year 2015, almost in 2016.
  • Foi na primeira semana de janeiro. = It was on the first week of January.

Repeating week days:

If something happens regularly on certain week days, use the preposition "a" or "em" plus the plural article:

  • Ele joga às/nas quartas-feiras. = He plays on Wednesdays.
  • Ele não trabalha aos/nos domingos. = De does not work on Sundays.

Using "a" is more formal and better for written texts.

Clock time

Clock times will translate "at" as "a" and an article is needed.

If the following time is feminine, add the article "a" making it "à" (a+a).
If masculine, the article is "o", making it "ao" (a+o).
And if plural, add the respective "s".

  • O filme começa às sete. = The movie starts at seven.
  • Ela se levanta às oito horas. = She gets up at eight o'clock.
  • Almoçamos ao meio-dia. = We have lunch at noon.
  • Lobisomens aparecem à meia-noite. = Werewolfs appear at midnight.

When telling the day period, use "de" before it:

  • Vejo-te às cinco da tarde. = See you at five in the afternoon.
  • São seis da manhã! = It's six in the morning!


For terms, the preposition used is also "em", without articles:

  • A encomenda chegará em 10 dias. = The order will arrive in 10 days.
  • Te vejo em meia hora. = I see you in half an hour.

Another very common option is "dentro de" (within), which has the same meaning.

Go back to "Prepositions! - All you wanted to know":

Go back to the Portuguese Help Index:

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