Interesting verb conjugation realization

There I was, going through Português Em Foco, Unidade 12, about the PPS, and it suddenly dawns on me that verbs that end in -çar , -gar and -car get weird for what I see as a good reason.

Notably that C and G can have hard and soft sounds depending on the next vowel. And to keep the same hard-softness of the c or g in the conjugations, one has to replace some letters.

Example - ficar - hard c - 1st person singular PPS - ficei would have a soft C - so it gets replaced by qu to keep the hard c sound - fiquei.

Once I saw this, I suddenly saw many other verbs with this pattern. C becoming qu, ç becoming c and g becoming gu…

Damn!!! A pattern!!!


Yes, those changes are usually just to maintain the same consonant sound. Nicely spotted :slight_smile:


I have created from various sources a “Portuguese Verb Cheat Sheet” in Word. It covers all the the rules and patterns for verb formation and irregular infinitives/subjunctives used in forming the verb person/tense. Not everyone’s cup of tea but I am most definitely a better systems analyst than I am a linguist! I would upload if it were possible using this message tool but I have copied and pasted the text as best I can below.
3.1. Maintaining pronunciation rules.
Pronunciation of c or g in Portuguese can be hard or soft. These letters are hard when occurring before o or a and soft when occurring before an e or i. For example, the verb fico has the hard c replaced by qu when it occurs before an i or e in the conjugation. Fico in the 1st person indicative but fique in the 1st person conjunctive. A table showing these changes is below.
Infinitive ending Before a/o Before e/i Examples
-car no change qu ficar/fiquei
-çar no change c comecar/comecei
-cer ç no change conhecer/conheço
-gar no change gu pagar/paguei
-ger/-gir j no change dirigir/dirijo
-guer/guir g no change seguir/sigo

In the absence of being unable to load a word document I have created a link where you should be able to access the document

Happy to respond to any feedback or problems loading this document.



Thanks for sharing this Sean, a great resource for Portuguese learners :slight_smile: