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Rules for combined usage of definite article and possessive personal pronoun in Portuguese

One of the grammatical matters that Portuguese and Italian are in common is that they both use a combination of a definite article and a possessive personal pronoun to describe the possession. For instance,

em português,
o meu telefone = my telephone ; a tua casa = your house
in italiano,
il mio telefono = my telephone ; la tua casa = your house

However, such structure does not exist in neither English, nor French, nor German, nor Spanish (according to my best and limited knowledge in all these languages).

By referring to the following webpage of the italki database regarding such grammatical structure in Italian,

I would like to ask, are there any exceptions where such structure is not adopted? As seen in the webpage, when one expresses a SINGULAR family member in Italian, the above structure is not observed. For instance,
mio padre = my father ; mia madre = my mother

But, when the family members are in plural, then the combinational structure is needed. For instance,
i miei genitori = my parents

Hence, does Portuguese also follow the same rules, or are there any additional exceptions of where we should be aware?? Please kindly let me know.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Additional Details:

Many thanks to all the respondents who have provided the comments and suggestions. Unfortunately, there seems to be some misunderstanding to what I would like to ask originally.

In fact, what I want to know is that, in Portuguese, do we always use the form of "(definite/indefinite article) + (possessive personal pronouns) + (noun)" to express the possession? For instance (as quoted from respondent Thamihw),
** o meu sapato = my shoe ; a minha carteira = my wallet ; (etc.) **

Are there any exceptions, in Portuguese, that we may simply use the form of "(possessive personal pronouns) + (noun)" to express the possession, i.e., without any definite/indefinite article? For instance (as quoted from respondent Wdenira de Fatima),
** meu pai = my father ; minha mãe = my mother **

Should anyone know the exceptions, please kindly inform me in what situation(s) that such exceptions would apply. You may simply modifier the already given answers, should you be one of the respondents.

It should be clarified that, at the present stage, I am already aware of the formation/usage of BOTH the definite/indefinite articles (i.e, o / os / a / as; um / uma / uns / umas) AND the possessive personal pronouns (for instance, meu / minha / meus / minhas) with respect to the gender (masculine/feminine) and the quantity (singular/plural). Hence, explanations in this matter are not very necessary.

Thank you very much for your kind attention. Good day to all / Bom dia a todos.

Additional Details:

To Kayleigh: Thank you very much for the comments and for further clarifying the question. I am sorry that I have put up a question considered to be complicated.

Well, honestly, as an English speaker, we use only EITHER a definite/indefinite article (the / a / an) OR a possessive personal pronoun (my / your, etc.) before a noun. This is same as in French, German, and Spanish (as far as I know). Hence, it is somehow interesting and a bit strange to see that Portuguese and Italian have this kind of grammatical structure. As I have already noticed the general usage and exceptions in Italian about such grammatical structure (from the wiki-knowledge database as given in the message of the original question), I would like to ask about the respective rules in Portuguese.

Thank you very much for the kind attention and for the participation of the discussion.

Additional Details:

To edu v v: Thank you very much for your answers and the well explained examples. Although there are no strict rules regarding the combinational use of both definite article and possessive personal pronoun, there is generally a necessity of such grammatical structure when the described noun is preceded by certain prepositions (except for a few exceptions, such as omission of feminine definite article after preposition "para").

Thank you all for the interests of my posed questions and many thanks to all respondents for the participations of the discussions. May I wish you all a good weekend. / Que todos tenham un bom fin de semana.

For learning: Portuguese
Base language: English
Category: Uncategorized



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    There is not a rule in portuguese for use article before a possessive pronoun. You can say "minha casa" or "a minha casa", both are correct, at least in brazilian portuguese. You must use the article only if there is some prepositions before the noun:

    1- minha casa é nova= my house is new - correct

    2- a minha casa é nova= my house is new - correct

    3- na minha casa= at my home - with the preposition "em" you have to use the article.

    4- * em minha casa= at my house - this phrases is grammatically wrong in portuguese, although many people speak like that.

    5- eu fui com meu carro/ eu fui com o meu carro= I went with my car- both phrases are used in in brazilian portuguese and both are correct.

    6- o carro da minha mãe= the car of my mother - correct

    7- * o carro de minha mãe= the car of my mother - this phrase is also grammatically wrong but actually spoken in many regions in Brazil.

    8- eu fui para minha casa= I went to my home - correct

    9- * eu fui para a minha casa= I went to my home - this phrase is not wrong, but would be not actually used because the preposition "para" already ends in "a", so you cannot put another "a" after it .

    10- eu fui para o meu quarto= I went to my room - here the phrase is correct because the definite article is "o"

    11- eu fui para meu quarto= I went to my room - this phrase is grammatically wrong because the preposition "para" requires the article "o" before a masculine noun. If the noun is feminine, as in phrase 9, the article "a" can be ommited because "para" ends iin "a" and you don't have to repeat "a" two times.

    A major problem for students of Portuguese is that nouns have male and female can not simply identifies them with "o" for male and "a" for feminine.

    In this case MEU PAI (my father) is male, MINHA MÃE (my mother) is female, MEUS PAIS (my parents) is male.

    MEU, MINHA, MEUS. are demonstrative pronouns and are variables according noun gender
    Meu - masc. / Meus - masc. plural
    Minha - fem. / Minhas - fem. plural

    In order to know the gender of plural nouns, you need to consider these points:

    1st - A group will be considered male if there is AT LEAST ONE male object among the others:

    Os meus amigos - all your friends are male or at least one of them is a male.
    As minhas amigas - all your friends are female.

    2nd - The group's gender follows the individual noun's gender.

    A minha asa - my wing.
    As minhas asas - my wings.
    O meu braço - my arm.
    Os meus braços - my arms.

    So, keeping the 1st point, what would be the "parents" gender?
    O pai (m) and a mãe (f).

    At least, one of them is male (o pai)... so, putting them together will bring you a male group "os pais".

    "Os pais" means either "the relatives" or "the fathers" while "as mães" means "the mothers"... a group with no male elements :)
    my relatives = os meus parentes

    the plural form in portuguese always has an "S" on the article and possive and also the object.

    o meu sapato = my shoe
    os meus sapatos = my shoes
    a minha carteira = my wallet
    as minhas carteiras = my wallets


    Thanks for asking this question! I don't know the answer because for me it's always the opposite of what I do! (you know how it is)...I just want to redefine the question (how I understand it).

    For example: Onde está o George? (we use O in front of George) although sometimes I see and hear (and write) Onde está George?

    With meus sapatos - when can we use OS meus sapatos and when can we use only meus sapatos (without the OS) in a sentence.

    When do we NOT use O/A/OS/AS with the noun when it already has a possessive (meu/meus/minha/minhas)...?

    PS I think this question is a lot more complicated than it's being perceived!

    The definite article before possessive pronouns is more used in written portuguese, while in spoken brazilian portuguese the definite article is rarely used before a possessive pronoun, and the use can vary according to the region in Brazil because there are many dialects, so this is not an easy question and there is not a clear rule to determine it.
    The fact is that the possessive pronoun already definine the noun, if you say "minha casa" (my house) you can only refer to one determided house, so it's not necessary to use a definite article because the definite article is used just to determine the noun. That's why most languages don't use an article before a possessive pronoun. In portuguese you can do it if you want, but it's not necessary to understand the phrase.

    O = The = Singular

    Os = The = Plural

    Exemple: O menino subiu na árvore = The boy climbed the tree.
    Os meninos subiram na árvore = The boys climbed the tree.

    Menino! Venha aqui! = Boy! come here!

    You will not use "The boy! Come here!"
    It is the same thing in English.

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