How to talk about Important Moments in Past

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If it were not for the important moments in life, this life itself would be like a straight line of an electrocardiogram sensor. The ups and downs make life a life, not an existence. It is a crime not to be able to speak about it in Portuguese! Of course, this is a joke, but learning to talk about important moments in life is still important.

How to talk about Important Moments in Past


Events such as getting a job and getting married can be attributed to the usual routine that absolutely everyone lives. They do not make us and our life special. Yes, often significant events in life are important only for us, but it is our path that they radically change.

  • vencer uma competição – win a  competition
  • mudar-se para outro país – move to another country
  • deixar de fumar – quit smoking
  • publicar um livro – publish a book
  • doar dinheiro – donate money
  • emagrecer – lose weight
  • tornar-se dador de sangue – to be a blood donor
  • começar a estudar português – start learning Portuguese

It is hard to argue that some of these events are important not only for one person, but for those around them. And, in general, if people were guided by those important events that have a positive effect on everything around, our world would be much better.

Past Tense

Such events in life can hardly be called regular. They often happen once, but we talk about them when they have already happened, when they are already in the past.

Moreover, here you cannot do without studying the Past Time in Portuguese. Pretérito Perfeito Simples (P.P.S.) is precisely that Past Tense, which describes a short action or result in the past. To form the Past Tense of a regular verb, you need to change its ending. Today in the article we will look at verbs with the ending “-ar”.

Therefore, in the table below, you will see the rule:

Verbos com ending “ -ar ”
Eu – ei
Tu – aste
Ele, ela, você – ou
Nós – ámos
Eles, elas, vocês – aram

Note that the past tense form for the pronoun “nós” is similar to the present tense form for the same pronoun. Only the sign above the letter “a” is added.

Let’s see some examples:

Ontem eu deixei de fumar. (I quit smoking yesterday.)

No ano passado a minha avó recebeu uma medalha de veterano do trabalho. (My grandmother received the Labor Veteran Medal last year.)
Quitting smoking and getting a medal are actions that happened once, this is the result, so we use the time P.P.S. Well, it’s impossible not to call it something very important in life.

Verbs with “-çar, -car, -gar” in P.P.S.

Verbs with the endings “-çar”, “-car” and “– gar” have spelling changes in P.P.S. In other words, so that the word does not change when reading, it is necessary to perform some manipulations. For example, the word “começar(to begin) for the pronoun “eu” is changed to “comecei”. That is, the appropriate ending is added and the letter “ç” is changed to the letter “c”.

For the same reasons, the verb “brincar(to play) changes for the pronoun “eu” to “brinquei”, and the verb “brigar(to scold) also for the pronoun “eu” changes to “briguei”.

In this case, only the pronoun “eu” was unlucky, the rest of the forms for such verbs are obtained strictly according to the rule.
Há um mês comecei a alimentar os animais abandonados. (I started feeding stray animals a month ago.)

Just now

In Portuguese, there is an expression that characterizes an action that just happened, a moment ago. It helps us to share the news about some important event immediately after its completion. This expression is formed as follows: acabar de + infinitive. Since we are talking about the past tense, the verb “acabar(to finish) must be conjugated according to the rule of conjugation of verbs with the ending “-ar” in P. P. S.

Let’s see how this expression can be applied in practice:

Acabei de voltar aos treinos depois uma lesão e já planeio participar numa competição. (I have just returned to training after an injury and am already planning to participate in the competition.)
Acabámos de lançar o nosso livro e já esgotaram todas as cópias. (Our book has just been released and all copies have already been sold out.)
Acabei de vencer esta competição e já quero vencer a próxima. (I just won this competition and I already want to win out the next one.)

This expression is convenient because you only need to conjugate the verb “acabar“, that is, remember its forms. The verb that follows is not conjugated. Plus, it’s very good when subtle details are expressed in such a simple way. You see “acabar de + infinitive“, which means the action or the result is quite fresh.

The verb “ser” in P. P. S.

Irregular verbs are also indispensable in the past tense. And the verb “ser(to be) is indispensable in any situation, especially when talking about important moments in your life. Let’s first look at the forms of its conjugation.

Verbo “ser”
Eu fui
Tu foste
Ele, ela, você foi
Nós fomos
Eles, elas, vocês foram

However, we have good news for you. Forms of the verb “ir(to go) in P.P.S. аbsolutely the same as for the verb “ser“. It is difficult to explain such a coincidence from the point of view of etymology. True, this fact makes it easier to learn Portuguese.

Eles foram simpáticos. (They were nice)

Eles foram a uma Fundação de Caridade e doaram dinheiro. (They went to a Charity Center and donated money.)

From the context, of course, you can understand which of the verbs is used in each part of the sentence. However, at first such a coincidence is frightening with confusion.


We never know what kind of action will lead us to incredible results and change our lives. We do not know which solution will turn the direction of our path 180 degrees. Perhaps the fact that you started learning Portuguese is that important moment in your life that you will one day say: “Um dia eu comecei a aprender português. Agora olhem onde estou.” (Once, I started learning Portuguese. Now look where I am.)

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