Let’s play? We know that to play is a verb with many meanings depending on the context.
In Portuguese, we have a different verb for each one of those contexts.
Let’s have a close look at some of those contexts:
• I play the guitar.
• I play with my dolls.
• I play a very important role on the company I work for.
• I play football.
• The actor who plays Bilbo in “The Hobbit” is very good.
So, if we translate these sentences to Portuguese, the verb to play has, at least, five different translations:
• Eu toco guitarra.
• Eu brinco com as minhas bonecas.
• Eu desempenho um papel importante na empresa onde trabalho.
• Eu jogo futebol.
• O ator que interpreta Bilbo em “The Hobbit” é muito bom.
• Tocar (to play an instrument)
• Brincar (to play with toys, mostly what children do)
• Desempenhar (to play a role)
• Jogar (to play a game)
• Interpretar (to play a character)
Decide which verb “poder” or “conseguir” is the more appropriate:
• I can’t understand this Chinese text.
Eu não consigo compreender este texto chinês.
• Sorry, you can’t use your mobile phone in here.
Desculpe, não pode usar o seu telemóvel aqui.
Helena Rocha (Portuguese Teacher)