Help! My brain cannot possibly hold all of the many verb tenses in Portuguese. Any suggestions on choosing the three most widely used? I feel like I might have a chance of mastering a finite number if it were possibly to narrow the field.
@suzanrowe1, each verb tense has its specific uses, so there’s no verb tense that I would personally recommend skipping altogether.
In general, when approaching any new language, the essential tenses to learn first are the simple present, past and future. For Portuguese, that’s no different. You can focus first on the presente do indicativo (simple present), and then go on to the pretérito perfeito and pretérito imperfeito do indicativo to cover the essential past tenses. The future should not give you any trouble, because we have the option of using the so-called informal future, with a very simple structure (verb ir + infinitive of main verb): Talking About the Future in Portuguese | Practice Portuguese
Hope this helps
I try to avoid explicitly thinking about what tenses I’m using. I certainly don’t give it any conscious thought when I speak in English and to be frank we never learned all these exotic tenses when I was in school (many years ago). I’m trying to just remember how to express common concepts, without explicitly relating it to a specific tense. For example, I know “teria” means “would have” and that’s good enough. I have no idea what formal tense that represents, beyond being some form related to “ter”. This may not be the best approach to learning this complex language but it keeps me sane.