portuguese-numbers

The Simple Guide to Portuguese Numbers and How to Use Them

Picture this: you’ve just arrived in a Portuguese speaking country.

As you exit the airport and get into a cab, your driver asks for your hotel’s address—can you tell him the street number?

Let’s fast forward a bit.

You’ve managed to get to the hotel, and you’ve worked up an appetite. There’s a bakery right next door. How many items can you order? Will you understand the cashier when they tell you how much you owe?

Food bought and eaten, someone stops you on the street to ask the time. How do you respond?

There’s a reason why numbers are considered such an essential building block for language learners.

Think about it: they’re everywhere!

We rely on numbers to describe things, run daily errands, plan our schedules and find our way around the various places we need to go. It’s fair to say that numbers are present in every aspect of our lives.

In a Portuguese context, it’s no different. You need to know your numbers to be able to make sense of the world around you.

If you’ve just started learning the language or need a refresher lesson on numbers, this post will come in handy.

Join us as we demystify Portuguese numbers.

First up, some advice that will help you commit these digits to memory.

Learn a foreign language with videos

Tips for learning and practicing your Portuguese numbers

When learning the basics, a little bit of creativity goes a long way. With number-crunching, you’ve got a lot of different methods that’ll help you make those digits stick. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Practice your number pronunciation with YouTube videos

A search for “European Portuguese numbers” or “Brazilian Portuguese numbers” will unearth a massive trove of content.

Take a look, for instance, at this video covering European Portuguese numbers or this one that focuses on Brazilian Portuguese numbers. From there, all you have to do is listen to how each number is pronounced and repeat it back to yourself a few times so you can nail your chosen dialect.

Put your numeric knowledge into context using the FluentU app

portuguese-numbers

There’s no point in memorizing all those numbers without knowing how to use them. This is where FluentU comes in handy. This app is dedicated to making learning more authentic.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized learning experiences.

The videos and accompanying exercises are sure to help you see how numbers are used in a Portuguese-speaking context, whether through daily conversations or in various other scenarios where you might need to know how to use these digits.

Use interactive subtitles to quickly look up words and see them used in additional videos. Or, keep practicing what you’ve learned with customized vocabulary lists, dynamic flashcards and fun quizzes!

Memorize the digits using flashcards

Flashcards are quite an effective study tool. Not only can you use them to learn just about anything, but their compact size allows you to focus on the smallest details so you quickly memorize whatever you’re learning.

If you want to give it a shot, you could scour popular flashcard apps like AnkiApp to find some user-generated study aids, or you could create your own sets using a customizable digital flashcard platform like Brainscape.

Test your Portuguese number skills with online games

Learning a language should be fun! You’ll find a ton of different games for Portuguese online.

If you want to practice your numbers from 1-20, SurfaceLanguages has a few options for Brazilian and European Portuguese learners alike. Alternatively, for numbers from 0-100, the Digital Dialects website is a good source—check out their selection of Brazilian and European Portuguese online games.

Mastering Portuguese Numbers (Including Brazilian and European Differences)

A note on numbers and gender agreement

If you’re new to the language, it’s important to know that every word in Portuguese is either masculine or feminine.

In some cases, that means you’ll need to make sure that a number agrees with the gender of the object/subject it’s describing.

All ordinal numbers (i.e. numbers that show a rank like first, second, third, etc.) have a masculine or feminine counterpart. You’ll find a list of all the essential ordinal numbers and their gendered forms later in this post.

In contrast, only some cardinal numbers are gendered.

Masculine/feminine gender agreement rules apply to the numbers um/uma (one), dois/duas (two) and all the hundreds from 200 onward: duzentos/duzentas (200), trezentos/trezentas (300), quatrocentos/quatrocentas (400), etc.

Again, this will become clearer as we take a closer look at the numbers you’re about to learn.

With that in mind, let’s get started on those digits.

Nailing the basics: Portuguese numbers from 0-20

There are some very subtle differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese numbers from 0-20. We’ve put them in bold below so you can compare them.

We’re also including pronunciation links for these numbers and other essential figures throughout this blog post—feel free to click on them to listen to how each of these numbers is pronounced by a native speaker.

Brazilian Portuguese numbers 0-20

0 — zero

1 — um/uma (masculine/feminine)

2 — dois/duas (masculine/feminine)

3 — três

4 — quatro

5 — cinco

6 — seis (Note: the word meia is used when the six is part of a phone number.) 

7 — sete

8 — oito

9 — nove

10 — dez

11 — onze

12 — doze

13 — treze

14 — catorze

15 — quinze

16 — dezesseis

17 — dezessete

18 — dezoito

19 — dezenove

20 — vinte

European Portuguese numbers 0-20

0 — zero

1 — um/uma (masculine/feminine)

2 — dois/duas (masculine/feminine)

3 — três

4 — quatro

5 — cinco

6 — seis

7 — sete

8 — oito

9 — nove

10 — dez

11 — onze

12 — doze

13 — treze

14 — catorze

15 — quinze

16 — dezesseis

17 — dezessete

18 — dezoito

19 — dezenove

20 — vinte

Basic phrases using Portuguese numbers

When you feel like you’ve learned the first 20 numbers well, try to create some sentences with them.

These don’t have to be overly complex—start with a few basic phrases that allow you to practice key grammar rules, like noun and adjective placement. Here are some examples:

Uma casa amarela. (A yellow house.)

The above is a simple, three-word sentence that covers numbers, gendered objects (in Portuguese, “house” is feminine) and basic descriptions (the color yellow).

Duas maçãs vermelhas. (Two red apples. Same logic as above.)

When you’re ready to get more complex, add some verbs into the mix:

Ele comprou três pães. (He bought three bread rolls.)

Eu moro no apartamento número vinte. (I live in apartment number two.)

Some travel phrases might help you too:

Um café, por favor. (One coffee, please.)

O ônibus sai as cinco da tarde. (The bus leaves at five in the afternoon.) 

Taking it further: tens, hundreds, thousands and millions

Both Portuguese dialects follow the same rules for numbers in the tens, hundreds and thousands.

For the tens, you have dez (10), vinte (20), trinta (30), quarenta (40), cinquenta (50), sessenta (60), setenta (70), oitenta (80) and noventa (90).

From 20 onwards, units are linked with the word (and):

Vinte e um (21) (literally translates to twenty and one)

Trinta e dois (32) (thirty and two)

Quarenta e três (43) (forty and three)

Cinquenta e quatro (54) (fifty and four)

Remember, gender rules apply to the hundreds after 200. With that in mind, your hundreds are:

Cem (100, the plural form is centos)

Duzentos/duzentas (200, masculine/feminine)

Trezentos/trezentas (300, masc/fem)

Quatrocentos/quatrocentas (400, masc/fem)

Quinhentos/quinhentas (500, masc/fem)

Seiscentos/seiscentas (600, masc/fem)

Setecentos/setecentas (700, masc/fem)

Oitocentos/oitocentas (800, masc/fem)

Novecentos/novecentas (900, masc/fem)

When it comes to connecting hundreds with tens and units, the same rule applies:

cento e dez (110)

duzentos e vinte e dois (222)

trezentos e cinquenta e nove (359)

quatrocentos e quatro (404)

Thousands are quite straightforward: mil (1,000), dois mil (2,000), três mil (3,000), quatro mil (4,000), cinco mil (5,000), dez mil (10,000), vinte mil (20,000) and cem mil (100,000).

The main difference is in the usage of e when linking thousands and hundreds:

  • The word e only follows hundreds digits that contain two zeros.

mil e cem (1,100)

dois mil e duzentos (2,200)

três mil e trezentos (3,300)

  • When the hundred is followed by other units, only the tens and ones will have the e connector.

mil cento e um (1,101)

quatro mil quinhentos e dez (4,510)

nove mil oitocentos e trinta e sete (9,837)

Millions are treated differently by Brazilian and European Portuguese speakers.

Like American English, Brazilian Portuguese uses a short scale system to name its largest numbers:

million (106) — milhão (singular) or milhões (plural)

billion (109) — bilhão, bilhões

trillion (1012) — trilhão, trilhões

quadrillion (1015) — quatrilhão, quatrilhões

quintillion (1018) — quintilhão, quintilhões

sextillion (1021) — sextilhão, sextilhões

European Portuguese, on the other hand, uses a long scale numbering system:

million (106) — milhão

milliard/thousand million (109) — mil milhões

billion (1012) — bilião

billiard/thousand billion (1015) — mil biliões

trillion (1018) — trilião

trilliard/thousand trillion (1021) — mil triliões

Ordinal numbers in Portuguese

As previously mentioned, all ordinal numbers are gendered. When you’re writing these in numeric form, a ° symbol will follow masculine digits while ª is placed after feminine ones. Pay close attention to how this works with the first 10 ordinal numbers:

Ordinal number in English Portuguese notation (masculine/feminine)Written in full (Portuguese; masculine/feminine) 
1st1°/1ªprimeiro/primeira
2nd2°/2ªsegundo/segunda
3rd3°/3ªterceiro/terceira
4th4°/4ªquarto/quarta
5th5°/5ªquinto/quinta
6th6°/6ªsexto/sexta
7th7°/7ªsétimo/sétima
8th8°/8ªoitavo/oitava
9th9°/9ªnono/nona
10th10°/10ªdécimo/décima

From 11th onward, ordinal numbers follow the same ordered pattern—the tenth is followed by the first/second/third/fourth units we’ve just seen above. Take a look:

Ordinal number in English Portuguese notation (masculine/feminine)Written in full (Portuguese; masculine/feminine) 
11th11°/11ªdécimo primeiro/décima primeira
12th12°/12ªdécimo segundo/décima segunda
13th13°/13ªdécimo terceiro/décima terceira
14th14°/14ªdécimo quarto/décima quarta
15th15°/15ªdécimo quinto/décima quinta
16th16°/16ªdécimo sexto/décima sexta
17th17°/17ªdécimo sétimo/décimo sétima
18th18°/18ªdécimo oitavo/décima oitava
19th19°/19ªdécimo nono/décima nona
20th20°/20ªvigésimo/vigésima
21st21°/21ªvigésimo primeiro/vigésima primeira

Use this same ordering when dealing with the numbers listed below:

Ordinal number in EnglishEnglish Portuguese notation (masculine/feminine)Written in full (Portuguese; masculine/feminine)
30th30°/30ªtrigésimo/trigésima
40th40°/40ªquadragésimo/
quadragésima
50th50°/50ªquinquagésimo/
quinquagésima
60th60°/60ªsexagésimo/
sexagésima
70th70°/70ªseptuagésimo/
septuagésima
80th80°/80ªoctagésimo/
octagésima
90th90°/90ªnonagésimo/
nonagésima

If you want to extend yourself, the hundredths listed below follow the same pattern (the ordinal hundredth + tenths + single units). For example, 42nd would be quadragésimo segundo (42°), 75th would be septuagésimo quinto (75°), the feminine 96th would be nonagésima sexta (96ª) and so forth.

Ordinal number in EnglishPortuguese notation (masculine/feminine)Written in full (Portuguese; masculine/feminine)
100th100°/100ªcentésimo/centésima
200th200°/200ªducentésimo/
ducentésima
300th300°/300ªtrecentésimo/
trecentésima
400th400°/400ªquadringentésimo/
quadringentésima
500th500°/500ªquingentésimo/
quingentésima
600th600°/600ªsexcentésimo/
sexcentésima
700th700°/700ªseptingentésimo/
septingentésima
800th800°/800ªoctingentésimo/
octingentésima
900th900°/900ªnoningentésimo/
noningentésima
1,000th1000°/1000ªmilésimo/milésima

Examples:

1,001st — milésimo primeiro (1001°)

642nd — sexcentésimo quadragésimo segundo (642°)

120th — centésimo vigésimo (120°)

Dealing with Portuguese decimals

In English, a comma is used to separate numbers into thousands while a dot is used for decimals. In Portuguese, the order is reversed.

While English speakers would write 10,000 (ten thousand) with commas, our Lusophone friends would express it as 10.000 (dez mil).

This also applies to currency. Let’s illustrate it with a few examples:

  • You’re talking to a friend who’s traveling around Brazil. He/she just came back from lunch at a buffet restaurant where you pay by the kilo. All up, they paid R$20,50 (vinte reais e cinquenta centavos — twenty Brazilian reais and fifty cents) for their meal.
  • Or, perhaps you went to Portugal recently and desperately needed to replace some torn jeans. Lucky for you, a shopping mall nearby had a pair on sale at a discounted price: €49,99 (quarenta e nove euros e noventa e nove cêntimos — forty-nine euros and ninety-nine cents).

 

Três, dois, um… and blast off! 

We’ve given you all the tools, and now it’s up to you to put them to good use.

Practice your numbers as often as you can. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro at using them. Whether traveling to your dream Portuguese-speaking destination or simply talking to someone who hails from that part of the world, numbers will guide you on your journey to speaking Portuguese like a native.

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