Adjectives in Portuguese (Adjetivos)

In Portuguese, the adjectives have the same function (to describe and/or “qualify” the noun) but they do not work the same way in a sentence. In English, the adjective must come before the noun, whereas in Portuguese most of times it comes after the noun.

Also, in Portuguese adjectives have plural and singular forms and most of them have masculine and feminine forms.

This way, while in English we say a big house,  in Portuguese is told uma casa grande (big = grande). See another examples:

  • a tall man = um homem alto
  • a tall woman = uma mulher alta
  • smart boys = garotos espertos
  • smart girls = garotas espertas
  • ugly car = carro feio
  • ugly cars = carros feios
  • ugly house = casa feia
  • ugly houses = casas feias
  • big house = casa grande
  • big car =  carro grande

In the cases above, the adjective “agrees” with the noun, depending on the gender and the number of the noun. Here there are some rules to follow.


Most adjectives in masculine form end in -o. Ex: alto (tall), bonito (handsome), feio (ugly), esperto (smart), and so on. For those words, their feminine forms are made by replacing the -o for -a: alta, bonita, feia, esperta..

If the end of the adjective is not -o, they follow the rules below:

1. If the adjective ends in -ês, -or and –u (except for -eu – see below), an A is added to the end of the word:

português – portuguesa

sedutor – sedutora

cru – crua

2. Adjectives ending in -eu replace this suffix for -eia, and the ones that end in -éu are replaced by -oa:

plebeu – plebeia

ateu – ateia

ilhéu – ilhoa

adjectives in portuguese

3. The adjectives that end in -ão may end in -ona or ,

brincalhão – brincalhona

pagão – pagã

4. There are also some adjectives that can be used for both genres interchangeably:

inteligente (homem inteligente/mulher inteligente)

grande (buraco grande/casa grande)

simples (processo simples/coisa simples)

jovem (rapaz jovem/moça jovem)

excelente (menino excelente/resposta excelente)

feliz (homem feliz/mulher feliz)

5. Some few adjectives have irregular forms:

bom – boa

mau – má


Here we also have the general rule of adding -s to the end of the adjective. However, there are some suffixes that change in the plural:

-ão: -ãos, -ões (alemão – alemães, brincalhão – brincalhões)

-al: -ais (leal – leais)

-el: -eis (terrível – terríveis)

-il: -is, -eis (imbecil – imbecis, útil – úteis)

ul: uis (azul – azuis)

-r, -z, -ês: add –es in the end (maior – maiores, veloz -velozes, francês – franceses),

I will publish here in the future a list of the most common adjectives in Portuguese. See you!


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