All the meanings and expressions of the Portuguese verb dar. 

If you are learning Portuguese, I am sure you have encountered the verb dar. It is one of the most common Portuguese verbs. Your teacher has probably told you it means “to give”, which it does… sometimes. 

Out of all Portuguese verbs, dar is probably the one with the most meanings and uses. This blog post breaks down all the expressions. 

Keep reading to improve your Portuguese grammar and finally understand how to use this difficult verb. 

  1. How to conjugate the verb dar in Portuguese

The verb dar is part of the Portuguese irregular verbs. This means that although it is one of the -ar verbs, it does not follow the usual conjugation patterns. Here are the most common conjugations of the verb dar. 

Presente do indicativo Passado Pretérito Simples Imperfeito Conjuntivo Presente
Eu dou Eu dei Eu dava Eu dê 
Tu dás Tu deste Tu davas Tu dês
Ela dá
Ela deu
Ela dava
Ela dê
Nós damos Nós demos Nós dávamos  Nós dêmos
Elas dão
Elas deram
Elas davam
Elas dêem

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    1. Common Expressions and Meanings of the Verb Dar in Portuguese.  

    1. Dar a

This is the one you probably already know. Dar followed by the preposition a means to give

It follows the structure: dar algo (something) a alguém (someone).

Dei chocolates ao João e ele nem os comeu!
I gave chocolates to João and he didn’t even eat them!

    1. Dar para

The verb dar with the preposition para expresses the idea of to be good for or to be enough for

Este bolo não dá para oito pessoas, é muito pequeno!
This cake is not enough for eight people, it’s too small!

O quê? Este computador dá para fazer isso tudo?
What? You can do all of this with this computer? (This computer is “good to” do all of this)

    1. Dar em

Dar em doesn’t have a proper English translation. However, it is similar to “end up”, “end in” or “become”. It expresses the result of an event, and it is usually followed by a noun. 

Esta situação vai dar em catástrofe… 
This situation is going to end in a disaster…

    1. Dar

The Portuguese verb dar by itself, pretty much translates to “work” in the sense of functioning properly. 

Epá! O meu telemóvel não dá…
Argh! My phone is not working…

    1. Dar com

The expression Dar com means to notice, to come across. 

Dei com muitas coisas tuas quando arrumei o quarto. 
I came across a lot of your things when I tidied the bedroom. 

    1. Dar uma mão

Here is a Portuguese idiom that works just like English. Dar uma mão simply means to give a hand, to help someone

Vou mudar de casa este fim de semana, consegues me dar uma mão?
I’m going to move houses this weekend, can you give me a hand? 

    1. Dar conta de e dar-se conta de

Dar-se conta que in Portuguese means to realise while dar conta de (not reflexive!) translates to to manage to do, to finish on time, to take care of.  

Dei-me conta do problema. 
I realised the problem / I realised there’s a problem. 

Deste conta do trabalho que te enviei?
Did you take care of the problem I sent you you?

    1. Dar um passeio

In Portuguese, we don’t take a walk but instead we give a walk. You can use dar um passeio just like caminhar or passear

Vamos dar um passeio? Preciso de ar fresco!
Should we go for a walk? I need fresh air!

    1. Dar parabéns

To wish a happy birthday or to congratulate in Portuguese are both dar parabéns

Quase me esqueci de dar parabéns à Joana!
I almost forgot to wish Joana a happy birthday!

    1. Dar-se bem/mal

To get along in Portuguese is a reflective verb, dar-se. It is usually followed by the adverbs bem or mal. The preposition used is com

Dás-te bem com a tua irmã?
Do you get along with your sister?

    1. Dar-se por vencido

By now you’ve probably noticed that even the Portuguese reflexive verb dar-se has very different meanings. Well, here’s another one!

Dar-se por vencido means to admit defeat

Está bem. Dou-me por vencido. Escolhe tu onde comemos!
Okay. I admit defeat. You choose where we eat!


    1. Dar-se o trabalho

Dar-se o trabalho (we also hear dar-se ao trabalho) roughly translates to bother. 

Nem te deste o trabalho de limpar a casa!
You didn’t even bother cleaning the house!

    1. Dar trabalho 

Although it looks very similar to the previous example, dar trabalho does not mean the same as dar-se o trabalho

Dar trabalho is used to describe something that requires a lot of effort, that basically makes you work hard for it. 

Mudar de casa dá muito trabalho, estou sem vontade!
Moving houses is a lot of effort, I can’t be bothered. 

    1. Dar à luz

This one always surprises my students. Dar à luz means to give birth in Portuguese. 


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