Using all opportunities to learn Portuguese is a no-brainer. But I bet you hadn’t thought of learning the language when hearing locals speak in English!

There’s one thing we say in English, which is understandable, but not quite right: ‘pode ser’. Literally it means, ‘it can be’.

So, how and when do we use it? Let me literally translate it for you:

1. When agreeing, but not very keen on the proposal:

-Queres mais bolo? - Do you want more cake? - [kehrsh maeesh bol]

-Pode ser. - It can be. (OK, although I’m not super enthusiastic about it, but yeah; let’s have another piece.)

2. When presenting another alternative:

-Vamos à praia amanhã logo de manhã? - Shall we go to the beach first thing tomorrow morning? - [vamuzAH praia amanhannn log d manhannn]

-Pode ser depois do almoço? - Can it be after lunch? (After lunch works better for me.)

3. When expressing uncertainty:

-Sabes quando é que ele chega? - Do you know when he’s arriving? - [sAHbsh kwandEHk ele chega]

-Pode ser que seja hoje, mas não tenho a certeza. - It can be today, but I’m not sure. (Maybe today, but I’m not sure.)

Keep your ears out for these and other Portuguese mistakes in English, pode ser?

If you have enjoyed this quick lesson and would like to learn more Portuguese outside of the box, then please contact Catarina from The Language Unschool -