Achar Vs Encontrar

Both these verbs mean “to find”. I do lots of my own research and I found that Achar carries both meanings, one to “find” an opinion such as I find this comedian funny but also to mean you find something you was looking for. Eg. I found my glasses. Then Encontrar is used to mean you found something by accident or you stopped looking for it but then found it. Such as, I found €10 in my pocket or I found my glasses after I bought new ones.

But I was still somewhat confused so I ask Reddit on R/ Portuguese and it made it more confusing. Some said they use the verbs this exact same way but the other way around. Some said they don’t use achar at all in the context of finding an item, only to find an opinion. Some said they’re interchangeable. Some said they will only use encontrar to mean both deliberate and accidental finds.

I asked ChatGPT and that said that achar is only used for opinions and encontrar is used for both types of findings. But a teacher from Lisbon who is 30 said achar is used for accidental finds and encontrar is used for deliberate finds. Muito confuso

So what’s your opinion? Does it depend which part of Portugal they’re from? Is there a distinction?

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@reececox2000, depending on who you ask, achar for finding something is either more typical of Brazilian Portuguese or just a less used synonym of encontrar. Achar can indeed be used both for opinions and for finding things, but not everyone will use it in both senses and that’s fine. Encontrar is only used for finding someone/something or, if paired with the preposition com, for meeting people (encontrar com = to meet with).

With either verb (encontrar or achar), in practice, I don’t think it’s helpful to distinguish between accidental or intentional findings. Most people, at least in my experience, don’t see any distinction at all. There might be an authoritative source indicating a difference between them in European Portuguese, but I couldn’t find one yet. Not sure about Brazilian Portuguese.

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