Verb to be 2/4

We started talking about verb to be here. Take a few minutes to read the first part of this lesson in case you haven’t yet.

We talked about how we can use the verb ‘estar’ to say emotions, conditions and current actions. On this post, let’s see how to use this verb to tell our location.

Where are you?


First of all, let’s take a look at the question.
Onde você está?
Onde – interrogative pronoun of place
Você – you (2nd person singular; você está = tu estás)
Está – 3rd person singular verb ‘estar’ conjugated in the present tense

So we have: [inter. pronoun]>>[subject]>>[verb]
That is the basic and most common structure to ask where someone or something is.

Asking about a person’s location

  • Onde você está?
  • Onde eu estou?
  • Onde tu estás?
  • Onde ele/ela está?
  • Onde nós estamos?
  • Onde eles estão?
  • Onde vocês estão?
  • Onde eu e meus amigos estamos?
  • Onde você e ele estão?

Asking about the location of movable things

  • Onde está o meu batom?
  • Onde estão os meus papéis?

Asking about the location of fixed things, for example houses, businesses, cities etc.

  • For fix things we use the verb we are going to talk about next ‘ser’. To illustrate:
    • Onde é o banheiro? Where is the bathroom?
    • Onde é o hospital? Where is the hospital?
    • Onde é Piracicaba? Where is Piracicaba? (city’s name)


The answer will follow a similar logic. Usually in Portuguese you can ‘guess’ the answer structure looking at the question. Let’s take a look how it works.

Onde você está?
Eu estou em casa.
I am home.

Eu – subject
Estou – 1st person singular of verb ‘estar’ conjugated in the present tense
Em – preposition of place
Casa – noun

So lets now compare both structures, question and answer:

Q. [inter. pronoun]>>[noun]>>[verb]
A. [noun]>>[verb]>>[preposition]>>place

The easiest and safest way of writing in correct Portuguese is to keep verb and noun together. In spoken language, native speakers tend to separate them, what causes lots of mistakes. Always remember: verb and noun have to agree in number and person, so keeping them together makes the task easier and the occasional mistakes more evident.

Preposition ’em’

This preposition is quite easy and useful, but the tricky part is that it combines with articles when put together. Like this:

Ela está na cama. >> na = em + a (feminine definite article) <<
She is in the bed.

Eles estão numa situação difícil. >> numa = em + uma (feminine indefinite article) <<
They are in a difficult situation.

Vocês estão no cinema. >> no = em + o (masculine definite article) <<
You (pl.) are at the cinema.

Nós estamos num prédio alto. >> num = em + um (masculine indefinite article) <<
We are in a tall building.

>> To learn more about portuguese articles, visit our previous post here.<<

NOTE 1: Casa (house, home) is particular because when it is not preceded by an article, it means it’s the subject’s house. If I say ‘Estou em casa’, with no article, only the preposition ’em’, it means I am talking about MY house (I am home). I could also say ‘Ela está em casa’ meaning she is at her house (she is home).

NOTE 2: Some words and expressions won’t ask for an article. Below are some examples:

  • Estar em maus lençóis = to be in a bad situation
  • Estar em transe = To be on a transe.
  • Estar em coma = To be in a coma.
  • Estar em cárcere = To be in jail.
  • Estar em 2017 [year if only the number] = To be in 2017.

Let’s take a look at some examples to close our topic!


Q. Onde você está?
Where are you?
A. Eu estou em um café em Seul.
I am at a cafe in Seoul.

Q. Onde os seus amigos estão?
Where are your friends?
A. Eles estão correndo no parque.
They are running at the park.
>> To learn more about gerund verbs in Portuguese, visit out previous post here.<<

Q. Onde está a sua irmã?
Where is your sister?
A. Ela está na festa com amigos.
She is at the party with friends.


That’s what we have for today!
You can continue learning about verb to be HERE.

Hope you learned a lot and come back for more!
See you.



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