The subjunctive mode (modo Conjuntivo) in Portuguese – part 2

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In this article we will continue to talk about the subjunctive mode and show you the fundamentals. If you miss the part 1, just keep reading bellow.

The subjunctive mode (modo Conjuntivo) in Portuguese – part 2


In our first part we’ve introduced the subjunctive mode in Portuguese. We’ve compared the different modes in order to understand better what this one is and gave the bases to understand this structure. Finally, we showed when we use it and some most frequent situations.

Today we will start a step by step approach and show you when we must use the Present tense of Subjunctive. This will be the basis to understand other tenses.

Once again we repeat that this mode is especially important to understand natives speakers, but not mandatory to express yourself in Portuguese freely. To prove that, we will compare with other form we’ve talked before: the Personal Infinite. This form in much easier, so when you don’t feel enough confident with the subjunctive mode, you can use this one in the most of cases.

Types of sentences

Different ideas can be expressed by verbs our specific words. Checking the part 1, where we write about the word “que”, you will see a group of verbs. These verbs express desire or doubt, in some situations, they are followed by the word “que”. When this happens – verb 1 + “que” + verb 2 – the “verb 2” must be conjugated in subjunctive:

Quero que aprendas português. (I want you learn Portuguese)

In these sentence, the verb 1 and the verb 2 should correspond to different people. Otherwise, when there is no word “que”, we don’t conjugate the verb 2:

Quero aprender português. (I want to learn Portuguese)

The other sentences are introduced by specific words and after these words the verbs are in the Subjunctive. They express different meanings as you can see below.

Concessive sentences

It happens when we have in a sentence one action that counter work other action and in this case, we can use expression as “embora” (although) or “mesmo que” (even if):

Embora esteja frio, ele foi passear no parque. (Although it is cold, he went for a walk in the park)

Mesmo que discordes, vou fazer isto. (Even if you don’t agree, I will do it)

Temporal sentences

They are about time and can be introduced, for example, by “logo/assim que” (as soon as), “antes que” (before) and “até que” (until):

Assim que chegues, telefona-me. (As soon as you arrive, call me)

Antes que publiques o artigo, deixa-me verificá-lo. (Before you publish the article, let me check it out)

Não vamos de férias até que terminemos o projeto. (We are not going on vacation until we finish the project)

Final sentences

When we want to talk about the goal of one action we more frequently use “para que” (in order to”).

Para que recuperes rapidamente, fica em casa. (In order to recover quickly, stay home)

By the way, in all of these sentences, we can change the order the two parts. In the previous example, we could also say:

Fica em casa para que recuperes rapidamente. (Stay home in order to recover quickly)

In both cases, the meaning doesn’t change.

Conditional sentences

In these cases, one part of the sentences depends on the other part. In order words, accomplishment of one action depends on the accomplishment of the other action. The most used words here are “caso” (if, in case of), “sem que/ a não ser que” (while, unless) and “desde que” (since).

Caso estejam interessados, contactem-me. (If you’re interested, contact me)

Sem que faça o pagamento, não podemos entregar a sua encomenda.

(While you don’t make the payment, we cannot deliver your order)

Eu perdoo-te, desde que me digas a verdade. (I forgive you, since you tell me the truth)

A não ser que me digas a verdade, não vou poder ajudar-te.

(Unless you tell me the truth, I won’t be able to help you)

Conjuntivo vs. Infinitivo Pessoal

Now we will how to use the Personal Infinitive instead of Subjunctive to express the same ideas:

Embora → Apesar de

Apesar de estar frio, ele foi passear no parque.

Logo que, assim que → ao / antes que → antes de / até que → até

Ao chegares, telefona-me.

Antes de publicares o artigo, deixa-me verificá-lo.

Não vamos de férias até terminarmos o projeto.

Para que → para

Para recuperares rapidamente, fica em casa.

Caso → no caso de

No caso de estarem interessados, contactem-me.

Sem que, a não ser que → sem

Sem fazer o pagamento, não podemos entregar a sua encomenda.

Sem me dizeres a verdade, não vou poder ajudar-te.

As you can see, in many cases we just need to remove “que” to get them equivalents. Also, only for “mesmo que” and “desde que” there is no equivalent expressions in Personal Infinitive. That’s because their meanings are too specific. Although, probably we could express the same ideas without using the Subjunctive, but in a different way.


We hope this text was easy enough for you to understand and helped to master this mode. It will be the basis for the next article (part 3), where we will talk about the past sentence.  So, if this information was clear, the next step will be much easier.

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