Friday, December 14, 2012

Demonstrative Pork Cuts: Isso, Isto, (or Alot of This and That)

Time for another Portuguese lesson - Gritty style (so you know it's good). Today we deal with demonstratives, which along with articles and quantifiers make up determiners . Anyway enough small talk! Picture virtual bitchslap when uttering previous sentence. Let's look at two demonstratives that are often used, and misused in Portuguese by the Grittless: isso and isto.

Isso denotes something that is located away from the speaker while Isto alludes to that which is near him/her: This here (Isto aqui), and that there (e isso ali).

Let's simulate a common occurrence and put our knowledge to use. You are attending a feijoada and munching on pig ears - which you love - you then spot the person next to you devouring pig feet and marmite (gross). The following exchange ensues:

You ...... "Isso que você está comendo é repulsivo, já isto que eu estou apreciando é delicioso."
That (pig feet and marmite) which you are eating is repulsive; yet this (pig ears) which I am enjoying is delicious.

Person Next To You ....... "Bite me".

These situations come up quite often so make the best of those opportunities and put this vocab to use.
End of lesson. De nada.


  1. Ha ha! Pig feet and marmite - oh yes. You have inspired me! Maybe I could make it into a sandwich...

    Btw, speaking of misusing the words, I notice that most people use isso for both "this" and "that". "Isto" only seems to be used in writing - what's that about?

    1. Humm, 'Isso' abuse, I too find it to be quite common. Purists will say that it is a failing of Brazilian education while others counter stating language evolves, and isso (that) where isto (this) should be is not a big deal (argumentation that never worked for me during childhood when explaining a messy room). Anyway I don't know which side is right; unlike marmite which I know to be wrong under any circumstance - pig feet included or not.