Every language has a few verbs that have more meanings than one can count. Portuguese has dar, ficar, among others. These verbs are quite difficult to translate from Portuguese to English due to their slight differences, often difficult for learners to understand.

One of the English verbs whose meaning varies the most depending on the context is the verb to take. Native English speakers use this verb to describe so many things that when it’s time to learn a new language, in this case Portuguese, they forget the subtleties.

In European Portuguese class, you might have learned that to take is tirar. Although it is true in certain cases, there are many other translations. If you don’t master said translations, not only does it mean that your sentences will be incorrect, but also that when someone talks to you in Portuguese, you will not understand.

In this blog post, you can find all the variations and translations of to take in Portuguese with example sentences to teach you the right prepositions for each one.

Curious about other verbs? Ser and estar in European Portuguese.

1. Levar

Levar is used when you are transporting something or someone, usually when you are not staying, but solely dropping said thing or person. It is often confused with trazer. The main difference is that trazer goes in the direction of the speaker (more similar to to bring) while levar describes a movement in the opposite direction of the speaker.

Todos os dias, levo as crianças à escola às 8 (oito) da manhã.
Every day, I take the kids to school at 8am.

2. Trazer (also: to bring)

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Portuguese language learners tend to confuse trazer with levar, as both can be translated to to take.
To take in English is used to describe something towards and from the speaker and in Portuguese both are distinct.

Traz um bolo para o jantar amanhã, tá bem?
Take a cake with you tomorrow, will you?

3. Pegar

Portuguese speakers use pegar to express the idea of grabbing, or quickly holding.

Teacher tip: Careful! Pegar works with the preposition em which combines with articles and forms no, na, nos, num, numas, naquele etc. Don’t forget it!

Pega naquele copo que está na mesa, se faz favor, vou lavar a louça.
Take that cup that’s on the table please, I’m going to wash the dishes.

When followed by a type of transportation, pegar also means to take in Portuguese.

Fui de autocarro até lá, mas para voltar peguei no comboio.
I went there by bus, but to return I took a train.

4. Tomar

Tomar most commonly describes ingesting something, taking it inwards (as in, in your body). For example, a drink, medicine, etc.

Tomaste o teu remédio hoje? Não te esqueças!
Did you take your medicine today? Don’t forget!

Teacher tip: Less often taught in textbooks but just as used, tomar bem/mal means to take (something) well/badly.

Fiquei contente porque ela tomou aquilo bem.
I was glad because she took it well.

5. Apanhar

Apanhar is closer to to catch than to take. We use it to say we quickly take or catch something. It is quite similar to pegar in this sense. Or, just like pegar, it can mean to take transport.

Ele apanhou as chaves e saiu logo de casa.
He took the keys and left the house right after.
Temos de apanhar o autocarro das 10, é o último dia de hoje.
We have to take (catch) the 10pm bus, it’s the last one today.

6. Aceitar

Aceita este dinheiro, vai te ajudar.
Take (accept) this money, it will help you.

Of course, we can also say:

Pega neste dinheiro, vai te ajudar. 

But it is slightly different. In the first example, the emphasis is on the accepting, rather than the taking. It’s more specific and less aggressive.

7. Tirar

Teacher tip: Similar to English, Tirar algo de means to take something from, we use the preposition de in this case. Don’t forget about the contractions with the articles!

Ele deve ter tirado o computador da secretária dele, não está lá.
He must have taken the computer from his desk, it’s not there.
Podem tirar o carro dali? As pessoas não podem entrar na loja.
Can you take your car out of there? People can’t come into the shop.

8. Roubar

Weirdly enough, to take in English can be synonymous of to steal. To steal in Portuguese is roubar, although in this case we can also use pegar.

Nem acredito, ele pegou no meu dinheiro. Que ladrão!
Nem acredito, ele roubou o meu dinheiro. Que ladrão!
I can’t believe it, he stole my money. What a thief!


9. Demorar

Demorar is used to say something takes time. 

Quanto tempo demoras para chegar aqui?
How long do you take to get here? 


To take – exercises

Guess which one of the verbs above is correct, and conjugate it correctly. Write your answers in the comments 

…. a tua prenda, mas não era preciso!
I will take your gift, but you didn’t have to!

…. na minha carteira? Não a encontro.
Did you take my wallet? I can’t find it.

Acho que alguém … o meu saco. E agora?
I think someone took my bag. What now?









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