Conhecê-la vs conhecer-te

There are 2 different phrases in the lessons for ‘Pleasure to meet you’. For informal you, the phrase is ‘prazer em conhecer-te’, but for formal female, the phrase is ‘prazer em conhecê-la’. Why the difference in the form of the verb? Could you use either form of the verb? For informal you, could you use ‘prazer em conhecê-te’?


  • Prazer em conhecer-te → Infinitive (conhecer) + 2nd-person singular object pronoun (te).
  • Prazer em conhecê-la → Infinitive (conhecer) + 3rd-person singular feminine object pronoun (a).

Our formal 2nd-person singular (você) is always conjugated based on 3rd-person forms, which is why we used a 3rd-person pronoun in the second case. Additionally, both the pronoun and the infinitive need some modifications:

  • First, as explained in Clitic Pronouns: 3rd Person | Practice Portuguese, if the last sound before the direct object pronoun is a consonant, that consonant is dropped and an L is placed at the beginning of the clitic. So, we go from conhecer-a to conhece-la.
  • Then, we need to add the circumflex over the last E to maintain the stress on the last syllable, as it should be for the infinitive. So, we go from conhece-la to the final result, conhecê-la. Conhece-la, without accent, is stressed in the middle syllable (nhe) and actually derives from the simple present conjugation conheces (tu conheces + a = tu conhece-la), so it’s important not to confuse the two.

Each of the forms above is the only possibility for each of the cases. Conhecê-te is grammatically incorrect. The object pronoun te doesn’t force the last R to drop from the verb. And with the R there, the stress is naturally put in the right place and no extra accent is needed.


Thanks Joseph for the explanation. So, until I get to that lesson, I should just memorize the two forms! :smiley:

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