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  • Writer's pictureSpeaking Brazilian

Every Brazilian makes this mistake! PARA or A?

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In this lesson, you will learn the difference between the prepositions PARA and A and will also talk about some common mistakes made by Brazilians regarding the use of these prepositions.

A or PARA?

According to the standard norm, the preposition A should be used to indicate little permanence, and the preposition PARA should be used to indicate long permanence. However, this rule is not respected in informal language and the two prepositions are used interchangeably.

Let's see some examples:

  • Eu viajo ao Brasil todos os anos. (I travel to Brazil every year.)

  • Eu viajo para o Brasil todos os anos. (I travel to Brazil every year.)

  • Ela vai ao trabalho cedo. (She goes to work early.)

  • Ela vai para o trabalho cedo. (She goes to work early.)

  • Ele voltou à faculdade. (He went back to college.)

  • Ele voltou para a faculdade. (He went back to college.)


PRA and PRO are reductions of the preposition PARA with the feminine and masculine articles:

PARA A = PRA (to).

PARA O = PRO (to).

For example:

  • Meu irmão foi para a Inglaterra. (My brother went to England.)

  • Meu irmão foi pra Inglaterra. (My brother went to England.)

  • Você vai para o Rio de Janeiro? (Are you going to Rio de Janeiro?)

  • Você vai pro Rio de Janeiro? (Are you going to Rio de Janeiro?)

A, À or AO?

When the preposition A is used with a definite article, we must connect the preposition to the article.

Preposition A + article A = À (with grave accent)

  • Estou indo à farmácia. (I’m going to the pharmacy.)

Preposition A + article O = AO

  • Estou indo ao supermercado. (I'm going to the supermarket.)

Common mistakes that Brazilians make regarding prepositions that indicate movement:

In Brazil, in colloquial language, the exchange of the preposition A for the preposition EM/NA/NO is very common, despite being considered incorrect according to grammatical rules. Examples:

Colloquial Language/Formal Language:

  • Ele chegou no/ao trabalho cedo. (He arrived at work early.)

  • Ela foi no/ao supermercado. (She went to the supermarket.)

  • Ele voltou na/ à praia para encontrar amigos. (He went back to the beach to meet friends.)

Which language should you use?

It depends on the situation. If you're just communicating with friends in informal situations, you can use informal language. Don't worry about saying everything perfectly, as most Brazilians don't care about that. However, in a more formal situation, or if you are taking a Portuguese test, it is important to use the standard language.

That's it, everybody!

Now it's homework time! Leave a comment below using the prepositions A or PARA.

Até a próxima!

Your teacher,


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