Skip main navigation

Gender and number agreement: nationalities

Work on your syntax.
gênero e número

1. Agreeing one’s nationality in a sentence may already be intuitive to you. If not, you can follow 3 steps. These steps work across the language for words that describe someone / something. Let’s use the prompt below. We need to replace the flag by its nationality.

Eles são britânicos

(1) Who is the subject? Answer: eles.

(2) Is the subject feminine or masculine? Answer: masculine. Masculine for British is: britânico.

(3) Is the subject singular or plural? Answer: plural. So we need to make britânico plural: britânicos.

Final sentence: Eles são britânicos. Listen BPListen EP

Eles são britânicos.

Let’s do one more example:

Ela é britânica.

(1) Who is the subject? Answer: ela.

(2) Is the subject feminine or masculine? Answer: feminine. Feminine for British is: britânica.

(3) Is the subject singular or plural? Answer: singular. So we don’t need to add anything else: britânica.

Final sentence: Ela é britânica. Listen BPListen EP

Ela é britânica.

2. Where would não go in the sentences above to turn them into negative sentences as in: They are not British / She is not British?

Answer: Eles não são britânicos. Listen BPListen EP

Eles não são britânicos.

Answer: Ela não é britânica. Listen BPListen EP

Ela não é britânica.

3. How would you agree the country’s nationality in both sentences below? Before you scroll down for the answer, try to figure it out. If you need a clue, listen to the answers: Listen BPListen EP Elas são + chinese. Ele não é + chinese.


Elas são chinesas.

Ele não é chinês.

4. Take the content above into account and go a couple of steps back where there is the sentence builder table. Then here in the comments write a few positive and negative sentences. Example:

Vocês são mexicanas.

Vocês não são mexicanas.

This article is from the free online

Foundations of Portuguese for Global Communication

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education