What is the difference between “Indicativo” and “Conjuntivo”?

If you are learning Portuguese and if you have just reached level B1 you will now study the subjunctive (conjuntivo em português).

On level A1 and A2, the verb tenses that you will learn in Portuguese will be related to facts, real events. However, once you start the subjunctive, you will learn a tense that will give you the chance to talk about possibilities, about things that are not real, about wishes and fears.

To use Portuguese subjunctive well, you have to use the Portuguese language every day. There is no other way! The “conjuntivo” in Portuguese is all about connectors! We have so many connecters that you can’t go home and try to memorize everything. It doesn’t work!  

To use subjunctive well you have to know the grammar rules and the guidelines that your teacher will teach you. However, sometimes grammar can be hard and very often it doesn’t help much (there are too many exceptions).

As we stated before, “conjuntivo” is about possibilities and wishes but sometimes we can express exactly the same idea with two different modes: indicative and subjunctive.

Check these examples:

SE CALHAR amanhã vou à praia. Mode: Indicative

Translation: Maybe I will go to the beach tomorrow

TALVEZ amanhã vá à praia. Mode: subjunctive

Translation: the same

The value of these two sentences is exactly the same.

É bom ires com ele. Verb tense: infinitivo pessoal

Translation: It’s good that you go with him

É bom que vás com ele. Mode: subjunctive

Translation: the same

The value of these two sentences is exactly the same.

If you live in Portugal and if you are consolidating your Portuguese, you need to find a friend or a partner to help you. In Portuguese, from level B1 on, you have to speak the language every single day.

You have you be exposed and you have to have someone to correct you. Don’t get upset if a native speaker wants to correct you. That will help you a lot!

Are you a Portuguese Intermediate student (B1)? Check our tips.

If your level of Portuguese is already B1, this means that you can already communicate with Portuguese people in Portuguese (if they speak Portuguese with you in a slow and careful way).
Intermediate students of Portuguese in Lisbon (levels B1 and B2) face new challenges at this stage.

When you’re starting from level A1, you have to learn basic grammar, the sounds, and their rules and you have to spend some time memorizing the key rules of the language.

However, once you reach level B1 things change. At this point, you have to find a way to speak Portuguese on a daily basis. You won’t be able to consolidate B1 grammar content in Portuguese without speaking every day.

Check the grammar content at this stage of learning:

1. Preterito perfeito composto (Example: “Eu tenho lido muito” = I have been reading a lot)
2. Pretérito mais que perfeito composto (Example: “Ele tinha ido à praia com a Maria” = He had gone to the beach with Maria)
3. Subjunctive (Present). (Example: “Talvez ele vá ao cinema” = Maybe he will go to the cinema)
4. Subjunctive (future). Example: “Se fores a Lisboa, eu vou contigo” = If you go to Lisbon I will go with you.

Subjunctive in Portuguese can be challenging. We use these structures to talk and describe possibilities, things that are not real, wishes and fears that we have.

There are many connectors to learn and repeating plays a critical role at this point. Learning these connectors isn’t enough. You have to use them often. You have to hear people using it and hopefully, you will recognize them.

Another important tip! Find a teacher to converse in Portuguese. It must be an experienced teacher that will lead you towards those verb tenses and grammar structures that you have been learning and consolidating. Random talk is also useful but isn’t enough to improve your Portuguese consistently.
Watching television with Portuguese subtitles is also a great help at this point. You can also use youtube to support you on this challenge.