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Mastering Verbs: Ouvir, Provar and Tocar in Portuguese

As English-speaking adults learning Portuguese as a foreign language, mastering verbs is an essential part of becoming fluent in this beautiful language. In this blog post, we'll explore three versatile verbs: "ouvir," "provar," and "tocar." These verbs not only have distinct meanings but also offer multiple contexts to enrich your Portuguese vocabulary. Let's dive in!

  • Ouvir (to hear, to listen):

Present Simple Conjugation:

  • Eu ouço (I hear)

  • Você/ele/ela ouve (You hear /he/she hears)

  • Nós ouvimos (We hear)

  • Vocês/eles/elas ouvem (You/they hear)

Past Simple Conjugation:

  • Eu ouvi (I heard)

  • Você/ele/ela ouviu (You/he/she heard)

  • Nós ouvimos (We heard)

  • Vocês/eles/elas ouviram (You/they heard)

"Ouvir" is a verb that denotes the act of hearing, but it can also mean "to listen". Let's see some examples:

  • Present: Eu ouço rádio enquanto dirijo. (I listen to the radio while driving.)

  • Past: Ela ouviu uma história emocionante. (She heard a touching story.)

  • Provar (to taste, to try on, to proof):

Present Simple Conjugation:

  • Eu provo (I taste/try on)

  • Você/ele/ela prova (You taste/try on / he/she tastes/tries on)

  • Nós provamos (We taste/try on)

  • Vocês/eles/elas provam (You/they taste/try on)

Past Simple Conjugation:

  • Eu provei (I tasted/tried on)

  • Você/ele/ela provou (You/he/she tasted/tried on)

  • Nós provamos (We tasted/tried on)

  • Vocês/eles/elas provaram (You/they tasted/tried on)

"Provar" can be translated as "to taste" but it also has other meanings, such as "to try on" (clothes) or "to prove":

  • Present: Nós provamos ostras pela primeira vez ontem.

(We tasted oysters for the first time yesterday.)

  • Past: Ela provou o vestido antes de comprá-lo.

(She tried on the dress before buying it.)

  • Tocar (to touch, to play a musical instrument):

Present Simple Conjugation:

  • Eu toco (I touch/play)

  • Você/ele/ela toca (You touch/play /he/she touches/plays)

  • Nós tocamos (We touch/play)

  • Vocês/eles/elas tocam (You/they touch/play)

Past Simple Conjugation:

  • Eu toquei (I touched/played)

  • Você/ele/ela tocou (You/he/she touched/played)

  • Nós tocamos (We touched/played)

  • Vocês/eles/elas tocaram (You/they touched/played)

The verb "tocar" means "to touch" but it can also mean "to play a musical instrument":

  • Present: Ela toca violão muito bem.

(She plays the guitar very well.)

  • Past: Eles tocaram na madeira para afastar o azar.

(They touched wood to avoid bad luck.)

By understanding the various meanings and contexts of these verbs, you can express yourself more accurately and naturally in Portuguese. Practice using "ouvir" to convey both hearing and listening experiences, "provar" to describe tasting or trying on, and "tocar" to express playing an instrument or the act of touching.

Keep practicing these verbs, and soon you'll notice how seamlessly they become a part of your conversations in Portuguese!

Happy learning! Bons estudos! 😀

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