Lesson nº 8 for beginners – Answering questions: Sim ou Não?

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Answering questions: Sim ou Não?

When you ask someone a question you expect to hear something like “yes” or “no” as a reply, but in Portuguese that’s not always what happens. Well, if the answer is a negative answer, you can expect a “não” (“no”) as a clear and understandable answer, but if the answer is “yes” you can have something different from a simple “sim” (“yes”). What happens is that in Portuguese, a very common way of answering affirmatively is using a verb; many times the word “sim” is not even used. Confused? Well, let’s have a look at some examples:

If I ask, “Are you a teacher”, you may answer, “Yes, I am a teacher” or “Yes, I am” or just “Yes” – but you would never say “I am” in English.

In Portuguese, if someone asks you “Você é professor?” you may answer “Sim”, “Sim, sou”, or just “Sou” (I am). So, responding with a verb is possible and also very common. Let’s see more examples with the three possible alternatives:

• Você é casado? (Are you married?)
Sim. / Sim, sou. / Sou. (“Yes, I am married”.)
• Você mora em Portugal? (Do you live in Portugal?)
Sim. / Sim, moro. / Moro. (“Yes, I do live in Portugal”)
• Você fala inglês? (Do you speak English?)
Sim. / Sim, falo. / Falo. (“Yes, I do speak English”)

To summarise: if it’s a negative answer, you just have to say “não”, but if it’s an affirmative answer you can say “sim” or you can reply using the verb in the question, as we’ve just seen.

Let’s practice:
Answer these questions affirmatively using just a verb:

• Você é inglês?
• Tu falas português?
• Eles moram em Lagos?
• Vocês são casados?

Answer from last lesson:

Complete with the correct question word:

• Como se chama?
Chamo-me João.
• Quantos anos tem?
Tenho 20 anos
• Onde mora?
Moro em Faro.
• Com quem mora?
Moro com os meus pais.

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