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# Making Comparisons by Fernanda L. Ferreira, Ph.D.

Sometimes it is not enough to simply describe something; you need to compare it with something else in order to give a clearer idea of what you are talking about. There are two main kinds of comparisons: ones in which unequal elements are being compared and ones in which equal elements are being compared.

## Comparing Unequal Elements

Comparing unequal elements is simple. Whenever you say that one thing is bigger, better, stronger, heavier, and so forth, than another thing, you are saying that these two things are unequal. You probably make comparisons of inequality in English all the time; now let's see how to do it in Portuguese.

TRACK 36

## Comparison of Unequal Elements

 X verb mais (more) ADJECTIVE (do) que (than) Y Brad Pitt é mais bonito que Will Ferrell. Brad Pitt is more handsome than Will Ferrell. X verb menos (less) ADJECTIVE (do) que (than) Y A minha casa é menos confortável que a sua casa. My house is less comfortable than your house. X verb mais (more) NOUN (do) que (than) Y José tem mais amigos que o irmão dele. José has more friends than his brother. X verb menos (less) NOUN (do) que (than) Y João tem menos dinheiro que José. João has less money than José.

In spoken language, the particle do is usually not heard. But it is possible to see it written as in João tem mais paciência do que José (João has more patience than José). Although most comparisons follow the formulas you saw in the table, there are some irregular comparatives that should be noted. The adjective bom (good) has the comparative melhor (better), and the adjective ruim (bad) has the comparative pior (worse). Some examples are Rita é melhor estudante que Pedro (Rita is a better student than Pedro) and Teresa é pior atleta que Jacinto (Teresa is a worse athlete than Jacinto).

## Exercise: Comparing Unequal Elements

Now you give it a try. Read the information below about the people and write a comparative sentence. Here's an example: Pedro, eighteen years old/Jacinto, seventeen years old. > Pedro é mais velho que Jacinto. (Pedro is older than Jacinto). Check your answers in Appendix C.

• Rita, IQ = 120/Teresa, IQ = 110.

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• Marta, forty-three years old/Rodrigo, forty-six years old.

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• Amaro, 1m 70c in height/Cláudio 1m 80c in height.

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• Jorge, 90 kilos in weight/Maria, 63 kilos in weight.

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• Bill Gates \$\$\$\$/Donald Trump \$\$.

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## Comparing Equal Elements

Just as you commonly need to compare things that are unequal, you also need to compare things that are equal in nature. The following table demonstrates how to do this in Portuguese.

TRACK 37

## Comparison of Equal Elements

 X verb tão ADJECTIVE quanto Y Martha é tão famosa quanto Donald. Martha is as famous as Donald. Dave é tão engraçado quanto Jay. Dave is as funny as Jay. X verb tanto, os, a, as NOUN quanto Y Jacinto tem tanto dinheiro quanto Pedro. Jacinto has as much money as Pedro. Eu tenho tanta paciência quanto a minha esposa. I have as much patience as my wife. Eu tenho tantos amigos quanto a minha irmã. I have as many friends as my sister. Rita tem tantas canetas quanto Teresa. Rita has as many pens as Teresa.

As you can see from the examples on the table above, the expression tanto… quanto (as much/many as) in Portuguese can have four different forms depending on the noun: tanto, tantos, tanta, tantas. Always keep in mind these four categories, which intersect: singular, plural, masculine, and feminine.

## Exercise: Comparing Equal Elements

Now give it a try. Fill in the blanks with the correct words in these comparative sentences. Check your answers in Appendix C.

• Jorge é________________________feio________________________Vicente. (Jorge is as ugly as Vincent.)

• Martha é________________________rica________________________Donald. (Martha is as rich as Donald.)

• O Porsche tem________________________potência________________________o Ferrari. (The Porsche has as much power as the Ferrari.)

• Meu computador tem________________________problemas________________________o seu. (My computer has as many problems as yours.)

• Gilberto tem________________________talento________________________Chico. (Gilberto has as much talent as Chico.)

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#### THE EVERYTHING LEARNING BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE BOOK

By Fernanda L. Ferreira, Ph.D.

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