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Portuguese Preposition "em" and a Quiz

edited January 2018 in Portuguese

Desejo felicidades a todos em 2018, I wish everyone happiness in 2018!

The Portuguese preposition em, at, on, in, is similar to the preposition de, of, from that appears in the December 2017 Living Language Forum, in that it can also contract with definite articles and demonstratives.  

First, let’s see some examples of when em it is used without contractions.

Eu moro em São Paulo. I live in São Paulo.

Os seus documentos estão em ordem. Your documents are in order.

Você está em casa? Are you at home?

The preposition em is contracted with the definite articles a, as, o, os, the, to form na, nas, no, nos, at the, on the, in the.

Examples: A bicicleta está na calçada. The bicycle is on the sidewalk.

Ele guarda as roupas nas gavetas. He puts clothes away in the drawers

A mãe carrega a criança nos braços. The mother carries the child in her arms.

O copo caiu no chão. The glass fell on the floor.

Em can also contract with the demonstratives esta(s), essa(s), este(s), esse(s), aquela(s), aquele(s), isto, isso, aquilo, this, these, that, those to form, nesta(s), nessa(s), neste(s), nesse(s), naquela(s), naquele(s), nisto, nisso, naquilo, at, on, in this, at, on, in these, at, on, in that, at, on, in those.

Examples: Você prefere jantar neste restaurante ou naquele? Would you rather have dinner in this restaurant or in that one? Não toque nisto, é perigoso! Don’t touch this, it’s dangerous! Eles moraram naquela casa por muitos anos. They lived in that house for many years. Há muitas lojas boas nesta rua. There are many good stores on this street. 

Você acredita naquilo que ele está dizendo? Do you believe in what he’s saying?

Em is also used with the following prepositions:

Em baixo, under, below: Os sapatos estavam em baixo da cama. The shoes were under the bed.

Em cima, on, on top of, above: Há uma academia em cima da loja. There’s a gym above the store.  

Em frente, in front of, opposite: Há um belo jardim em frente ao prédio. There’s a beautiful garden in front of the building.

Now, a small quiz to practice. Complete the sentences with one of the following words:nas, em, nestas, na, no, naquele, naquilo, nos

1. A minha casa fica __________ frente à padaria. My house is opposite the bakery.

2. Eu coloquei os livros __________ prateleiras. I put the books on the shelves.

3. Cuidado! Não pise __________! Watch out! Don’t step on that!

4. __________ horas é preciso ter calma. In these moments, you need to be calm

5. Há lindas obras de arte __________ museu que você recomendou. There are beautiful works of art in that museum you recommended. 

6. Ele mora __________ Brasil. He lives in Brazil.

7. Eu moro __________ Estados Unidos. I live in the United States.

8. Elas ficaram __________ minha casa. They stayed at my house.

Answers:1. em; 2. nas; 3. naquilo; 4. Nestas; 5. naquele; 6. no; 7. nos; 8. na

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