Crase - Portuguese - Further Rules

Further Rules

To determine whether the crasis always apply, or whether one may use the contraction à (with an accent) instead of the preposition a (without an accent), one must pay attention to the rules:

1) it replaces the preposition a by another preposition, as em ("in") or para ("to"). If, with replacement, the definite article a ("the") is still possible, then the crasis applies. Examples:

  • Pedro viajou à Região Nordeste: with grave accent, because it equivalent to "Pedro traveled 'to the' Northeast Region". Here, para a Região Nordeste would also be used.
  • O autor dedicou o livro a sua esposa: without a grave accent in Brazilian Portuguese, because it is equivalent to "the autor dedicated the book 'to' his wife". A consistent use according to the rules in Brazil would not allow para a sua esposa be used instead. In European Portuguese, nevertheless, rules change, and it is O autor dedicou o livro à sua esposa, albeit it can not be explained translanting to English as both sentences carry the same meaning. In Portuguese-speaking countries other than Brazil, para a sua esposa is to be deemed standard usage.

2) in a supposed situation the nominal complement is exchanged, after "a", from a feminine noun for a masculine noun and if with the exchange, it is necessary to use the combination 'ao' (that is used naturally by native speakers), then the crasis applies. Examples:

  • Prestou relevantes serviços à comunidade, he/she paid outstanding services to the community: with a grave accent, because when one changes the object to a masculine noun – "Prestou relevantes serviços ao povo" he/she paid outstanding services to the people - the combination "ao" ("to the") appears.
  • "Chegarei daqui a uma hora" I will arrive in an hour: without crasis, because when you replace the object to a masculine noun - "Chegarei daqui a um minuto" I will arrive in a minute - the combination "ao" does not appear (as "um/uma", indefinite articles, appear instead of "o/a").

Important: The grave accent is never used before masculine words (nouns, names, pronouns, etc.), verbs, personal pronouns, numerals, plural nouns without the use of the feminine plural definite article as ("the"), city names that do not use a feminine article, the word casa ("house") when it has the meaning of one's own home, the word terra ("earth") when it has the meaning of soil, and indefinite, personal, relative or demonstrative pronouns (except the third person and aquele(s) or aquela(s)); between identical nouns§ such as dia a dia "day by day", "everyday", "daily life", gota a gota "dropwise", "drip", and cara a cara "face to face"; and after prepositions.

§ To the exception of

É preciso declarar guerra à guerra! (It is needed to declare war on war!)

É preciso dar mais vida à vida. (One needs to give more life to life)

Read more about this topic:  Crase, Portuguese

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