Why do Brazilians say…
“It’s more cold today than yesterday.”
Because in Portuguese you say: “É mais frio hoje do que ontem.”
É mais frio hoje do que ontem. It’s more cold today than yesterday.
This sounds perfectly correct if you translate it literally.
But the correct way is: “ It is colder today than yesterday.”
WHY? Let’s see!
In English, like in Portuguese, adjectives normally have three degrees;
The Positive – non-comparative and also known as the base-adjective.- Frank is tall.
The Comparative – comparing two nouns = adj. + “than” – Frank is taller than Mary.
The Superlative – compare more than two nouns = “the” + adj – Frank is the tallest of them all.
And we generally follow the structure as set out above.
But of course we have exceptions like – beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful, or bad, worse, worst, and a few others.
But in most cases we follow the above patterns, adjective + “than”, and “the” + adjective.
Unfortunately/Infelizmente – the exception in English becomes the rule in Portuguese.
I know you also have your exceptions in Portuguese, like:
bom melhor o melhor means good better the best
mau pior o pior means bad worse the worst
But in Portuguese – generally – comparative and superlative phrases mostly rely on the word – mais/more.
Unlike English adjectives, which have special comparative (the -er of bigger) and superlative (the -est of biggest) endings, Portuguese adjectives do not have special forms.
A comparative phrase in Portuguese is basically formed as: mais + adjective + (do) que – means ___-er than.
Thus, Roberto é mais alto do que João or Roberto é mais alto que João = Robert is taller than John.
A superlative phrase also relies on the word mais/more.
Roberto é o mais grande. – Robert is the biggest.
Ana é a mais alta. – Anna is the tallest.
Esses homens são os mais altos. – Those men are the tallest.
Hopefully you understand now why we translate:
“É mais frio hoje do que ontem.” as “It is colder today than yesterday.”
Please Note: We will have specific lessons where we look at typical so-called “Grammar Goofs” made by Brazilians.
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