This has been extracted from the post Who’s afraid of Portuguese verbs? The first steps to fluency. Go here for the full version.
There are three sets of regular verbs in Portuguese
- those ending in ar, for example, falar, to speak
- those ending in er, for example, comer, to eat
- those ending in ir, for example, partir, to leave
To conjugate the verbs in the present tense, you drop the ar, er and ir to get the verb stems – in these examples, the stems are fal, com, part – then add the appropriate endings to the stems.
1) The five endings for ar verbs are: -o, -as, -a, -amos, -am.
- eu falo – I speak
- tu falas – you (singular, familiar) speak (NOTE: The tu form is rarely used in Brazilian Portuguese)
- você/ele/ela fala – you (singular) speak, he speaks, she speaks
- nós falamos – we speak
- vocês/eles/elas falam – you (plural) speak, they speak
So, to learn the present tense of falar, this is what you have to memorise
- Brazilian Portuguese: falo, fala, falamos, falam
- European Portuguese: falo, falas, fala, falamos, falam
2) The five endings for er verbs are: -o, -es, -e, -emos, -em. So to conjugate comer, this is all you have to learn
- Brazilian Portuguese: como, come, comemos, comem
- European Portuguese: como, comes, come, comemos, comem
3) The five endings for ir verbs are exactly the same as for er verbs except in the first person plural, where emos becomes imos: -o, -es, -e, -imos, -em. So to conjugate partir, this is what you have to learn
- Brazilian Portuguese: parto, parte, partimos, partem
- European Portuguese: parto, partes, parte, partimos, partem