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Advanced Portuguese: How to use the word CUJO?




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Do you know how to use the word CUJO in Portuguese? It's time to learn!


Before we start, you need to know that you won't see Brazilians using this word in a colloquial language in everyday life. It’s used only in formal language, especially in writing.


To be honest, most Brazilians don't even know what CUJO means!


So why am I teaching this? Even if you don't use the word CUJO, it's important to understand its meaning, as you will find this word in articles, books, and other formal texts.


Let's get started.


What does CUJO mean?


Let's translate it to make it easier: CUJO is translated into English as WHOSE.


When to use the word CUJO?


CUJO is a relative and possessive pronoun that indicates ownership. When we use CUJO, there is a clear ownership relationship between the antecedent term and the following one. For example:


  • Aquela é a família de cuja casa todos gostam. (That 's the family whose house everyone likes.)

A família de cuja casa” means that it is the family’s house, the house that belongs to the family.

  • Os alunos, cujas notas foram excelentes, ganharam um prêmio. (Students whose grades were excellent won a prize.)

Alunos cujas notas” means the students’ grades, the grades that belong to the students.


The word CUJO is variable


The word CUJO is variable and must always agree with the noun that comes after it in gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural). For example:


  • Não conheço o designer cuja ideia foi reprovada. (I don't know the designer whose idea was disapproved.)

  • Este é o autor cujos livros foram premiados. (This is the author whose books were awarded.)


More details about the word CUJO


Note that sometimes the word CUJO is preceded by a preposition. This happens when the verb used in the sentence requires the use of a preposition. This subject is called “regência verbal.” For example:


  • Esse é o político com cujas atitudes não concordamos. (This is the politician whose attitudes we do not agree with.)

  • Este é o médico em cuja experiência todos confiam. (This is the doctor whose expertise everyone trusts.)

  • Aquela é a vinícola de cujo vinho todos gostam. (That's the winery whose wine everyone likes.)


One more little detail about the word CUJO: a very common mistake that Brazilians make is putting an article between CUJO and the noun that comes after it. For example:

  • Incorrect: O menino, cujo o pai é professor, chegou. (The boy, whose the father is a teacher, has arrived.)

  • Correct: O menino, cujo pai é professor, chegou. (The boy, whose father is a teacher, has arrived.)


How NOT to use the word CUJO


If you want to use the word CUJO in formal texts, great! But in spoken, colloquial language, I recommend you don't use it.


Let's take some examples and see how we could say the same thing more colloquially.


Sentence with CUJO:

  • Aquela é a família de cuja casa todos gostam. (That's the family whose house everyone likes.)

Instead, we could say:

  • Aquela é a família que tem a casa da qual todos gostam. (That's the family that has the house that everyone likes.)

  • Todos gostam da casa daquela família. (Everyone likes that family's house.)

Sentence with CUJO:

  • Não conheço o designer cuja ideia foi reprovada. (I don't know the designer whose idea was disapproved.)

Instead, we could say:

  • Não conheço o designer de quem a ideia foi reprovada. (I don't know the designer whose idea was disapproved.)

  • Não conheço o designer que teve a ideia reprovada. (I don't know the designer that had his idea disapproved.)

Sentence with CUJO:

  • Este é o autor cujos livros foram premiados. (This is the author whose books were awarded.)

Instead, we could say:

  • Os livros que foram premiados são deste autor. (The books that were awarded are by this author.)

  • Este é o autor que teve livros premiados. (This is the author who has award-winning books.)


That's it! I hope you enjoyed this lesson!


You'll find more Portuguese lessons at the bottom of this page.


Até a próxima!


Speaking Brazilian School Team

 

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