In Portuguese, differently than in English, not only the nouns have plural forms, but the adjectives do as well. Remember an adjective in Portuguese has to agree in gender (masculine or feminine) and in number (singular or plural) with the noun it refers to.
Words Ending in a Vowel (a, e, i, o, u):
As a general rule, if a word ends in a vowel (a, e, i, o, u), all you need is to add an s to it. But as in English, there are some exceptions to making the plural in Portuguese. But don’t worry too much about them; just learn the new words both in the singular and the plural.
- Cama leve = camas leves ~ light beds
- Gibi fino = gibis finos ~ thin comic books
- Urubu feio = urubus feios ~ ugly buzzards
Words Ending in an l:
If a word ends in either al or ul, just cut the l off and add an is to it. If the word ends in either an el or ol, cut the l off and add an is to the word as previously mentioned, but also add an accent to those vowels e and o. If the a word ends in il, just add an s to the word because the i is already there.
- Canal = canais ~ channels
- Azul = azuis ~ blue
- Anel = anéis ~ rings
- Lençol = lencóis ~ bed sheets
- Canil = canis ~ kennels
Words ending in em:
If a word ends in em, you take off the m and add ns to the rest of the word to make it plural. If a word has an accent on the é, you carry the accent to the plural form.
- Trem = trens ~ trains
- Refém = reféns ~ hostage
Words ending in r, s or z:
If a word ends in either r, s or z, just add an es to the word to make it plural.
- Motor = motores ~ motors
- Mês* = meses ~ months
- luz = luzes ~ lights
*In this case, the singular form – mês – has an accent because it’s a strong monosyllable word ending in s but the accent is not carried over to the plural form.
Words ending in ão:
A word ending in ão, can have one of the three following different endings in the plural form:, ões, ães, ãos. You’re going to notice that the majority of the nouns in this case are going to have their plural end in ões. Don’t worry about it. As you learn new words ending in ão, just memorize their plural. That’s exactly what Brazilians do.
- Leão = leões ~ lions
- Capitão = capitães ~ captains
- Irmão* = irmãos ~ brothers
*In this case, you’re really just adding an s to the word.
Just as in English, in Portuguese there some nouns that are already in the plural. This means that the word does not have a singular form just the plural.
- Os óculos ~ eyeglasses
- As calças ~ pants
- As férias ~ vacation
- As costas ~ back (part of the body)
I’m glad you’re here! If you’re just starting on your journey of Portuguese learning, be sure to check the Starter Guide.