How to ask questions?

How, where, when, how much, etc.


Tudo bem?

I hope you all had a lovely week (learning Portuguese of course!) and I bet you are looking forward to the weekend!

In today’s lesson, we will learn…

How to ask questions in Portuguese

Some of the first topics most people like to practice when learning a new language are how to ask simple questions, such as:

  • How are you? (Como estás?)

  • How much does it cost? (Quanto custa?)

  • Where is the toilet? (Onde fica o quarto de banho?)

  • When is the next bus? (Quando é o próximo autocarro?)

  • Etc.

You will notice that, in English, the most commonly used question words are HOW, WHEN, WHERE, HOW MUCH, etc.

So, how do you say these words in Portuguese?

Como? = How, like

  • Como está? (How are you?)

  • Como te chamas? (What is your name?)

  • Como se diz ‘apple’ em Português? (How do you say ‘apple’ in Portuguese?)

  • Ela é como a tia. (She is like her auntie).

Quando? = When

  • Quando vais a Portugal? (When are you going to Portugal?)

  • Quando ele falou comigo… (When he spoke with me…)

Quanto? = How Much

  • Quanto custa? (How much does it cost?)

  • Quantas bananas quer? (How many bananas would you like?)

  • Quantos anos tem? (How old are you? - Literal translation: “How many years you have”).

Onde? = Where

  • Onde moras? (Where do you live?)

  • De onde vem? (Where are you coming from?)

  • Por onde é a saída? (Where is the way out?)

Quem? = who / whom / whose

  • Quem fez isto? (Who did this?)

  • De quem é esta caneta? (Whose pen is this?)

Qual, Quais? = which, what, that

(It denotes a preference, a limited number, or emphasizes the subject).

  • Qual é o melhor hotel em Londres? (Which is the best hotel in London?)

  • Quais são as calças que prefere? (Which are the trousers that you prefer?)

  • Qual é a tua cor favorita? (Which one is your favourite colour?)

  • Quais são as cidades mais bonitas que já visitou? (Which are the most beautiful cities you have already visited?)

Porque? = why

  • Porque ele comprou esta casa? (Why did he buy this house?)

  • Porque foste ao hospital? (Why did you go to Hospital?)

O que, Que? = What

1. O que = What

It is used when are asking for a definition or an explanation.

HintO que is usually followed by a pronoun (e.g. ele, elas, você, esse) or a verb. It is never followed by a noun.

  1. O que vais pedir? = What are you going to order? (followed by the verb “Ir” - vais)

  2. O que ela disse? = What did she say? (followed by the pronoun “ela”)

  3. O que esse treinador quer contigo? = What does this coach want with you? (followed by the pronoun “esse”)

  4. O que é “Fado”? = What is “Fado”? (followed by the verb “Ser” - é)

  5. O que aconteceu? = What happened? (followed by the verb “Acontecer” - aconteceu).

2. Que = What

It is used when asking for a definition or an explanation (same as above).

Hint: Que is followed by a noun.

  1. Que tipo de chá preferes? = What kind of tea do you prefer?

  2. Que livro  estás a ler? = What book are you reading?

  3. Que cidades já visitou em Portugal? = What cities have you visited in Portugal? (P.s. “Quais” (which) could equally be used in this example.)

  4. Que cheiro é este? = What is this smell?

Here are some simple exercises you can do at home, to practise what you have just learnt:


Please translate the following sentences:

  1. Where are you going?

  2. How much does an apple cost?

  3. Which one would you like?

  4. What did he say?

  5. When are you going to France?

  6. Who is that man on the TV?

  7. Why are you so sad?

  8. What are you going to order?

  9. What movie are you watching?

  10. How do you like your tea?

I hope this lesson was useful!

Please subscribe to my newsletter and feel free to drop in any comments or questions regarding the exercises!

I will be posting again next week - stay tuned!

Obrigada e até à próxima!