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Advanced Portuguese: What is the grave accent?

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

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Have you ever heard of the grave accent? What is it? In this lesson, you will learn what a crasis is and how to use the grave accent in Portuguese.

What is a crasis?

The word CRASE (crasis) is of Greek origin and means fusion or mixture. In Portuguese grammar, a crasis is represented by the graphic accent called ACENTO GRAVE (grave accent), which indicates the fusion of two identical vowels: the preposition A with the feminine definite article A.

A (preposition) + A (article) = À

A (preposition) + AS (article) = ÀS

When to use the grave accent?

1. Before feminine words.

This is the main rule you need to remember: we DO NOT use the grave accent in front of masculine words:

  • É importante obedecer às regras de trânsito. (It is important to obey traffic rules.)

  • Maria foi à festa de aniversário da sua amiga. (Maria went to her friend's birthday party.)

2. Before some expressions or phrases that express the idea of time, place, or manner, such as:

à noite (at night), à tarde (in the afternoon), à direita (to the right), à esquerda (to the left), à parte (aside), à vista (in sight), às vezes (sometimes), às pressas (in a hurry), among many others:

  • Sempre leio um livro à noite. (I always read a book at night.)

  • Às vezes gosto de dormir até tarde. (Sometimes I like to sleep late.)

3. To indicate exact and specific times:

  • Maria acorda todos os dias às seis da manhã. (Maria wakes up every day at six in the morning.)

  • João chegou em casa à meia-noite. (John arrived home at midnight.)

4. To indicate the days of the week when we are talking about a habit:

  • Maria estuda português às terças e quintas. (Maria studies Portuguese on Tuesdays and Thursdays.)

  • João vai à academia às segundas e quartas. (João goes to the gym on Mondays and Wednesdays.)

5. Before feminine names of cities, states, countries, or places when using the preposition “a” plus the article “a”:

  • Maria vai à Itália visitar seus amigos. (Maria is going to Italy to visit her friends.)

  • João vai à academia todos os dias. (John goes to the gym every day.)

When not to use the grave accent?

1. Before masculine words:

  • Maria gosta de andar a cavalo. (Maria likes to ride horses.)

  • Nós fomos para casa a pé. (We went home on foot.)

2. Before verbs:

  • John está aprendendo a falar português. (John is learning to speak Portuguese.)

  • Ana começou a preparar o almoço cedo. (Ana started to prepare lunch early.)

3. Before most pronouns:

  • João vai dar um presente a ela. (John is going to give her a gift.)

  • Aonde você vai a esta hora? (Where are you going at this hour?)

4. Between repeated words:

  • Maria conversou com João cara a cara. (Maria talked to João face to face.)

  • Vocês precisam ficar lado a lado na fila. (You need to stand side by side in line.)

5. Before plural words unless there is a fusion between the preposition and the feminine article:

  • O texto se referia a mulheres. (sem acento). (The text referred to women. - no accent)

  • O texto se referia às mulheres brasileiras. (com acento). (The text referred to Brazilian women. - with accent)

6. Before a numeral, except for hours:

  • Vou viajar daqui a dois dias. (I'm traveling in two days.)

  • A escola fica a quatro quilômetros daqui. (The school is four kilometers from here.)

When is it optional to use the grave accent?

Before possessive pronouns and feminine proper names:

  • Maria vai entregar a carta à sua mãe. (Maria will deliver the letter to her mother.)

  • Maria vai entregar a carta a sua mãe. (Maria will deliver the letter to her mother.)

  • João contou um segredo à Maria. (John told Mary a secret.)

  • João contou um segredo a Maria. (John told Mary a secret.)

That's it, everybody!

Now it's homework time! Leave a comment below using the grave accen

Até a próxima!

Your teacher,


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