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1s, 2s and 3s – Know Your Numbers in Portuguese

Whether you’re trying to pay for your beer (cerveja), arranging to meet your friends (amigos), make a date in your diary or figure out which bus (ônibus) to catch, knowing your numbers in Portuguese is vital – especially if you are trying to get by in one of the ten (dez) Portuguese-speaking countries in the world.

Portuguese is spoken not only in Portugal, but also in other countries such as Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde. Whilst there are a few regional differences, counting in Portuguese doesn’t really vary much across the world.

Learning your numbers (números) in Portuguese isn’t that difficult, especially if you already know basic counting in some of the other Romance languages – like Spanish or French. It’s based on the same principle and with a little practice, you’ll be well on your way to fluent counting, paying the right amount and always getting the right bus in Portuguese!

Cardinal Numbers in Portuguese

First things first – what are cardinal numbers? Well, cardinal numbers are what we use to show a quantity – like one, two and three. They are what we would use to talk about how many coffees (cafés) you want, how many of you there are in your group, or to write down a phone number, for example.

You would also use cardinal numbers to talk about prices and time.

English number Portuguese number
zero zero
one um
two dois
three três
four quatro
five cinco
six seis
seven sete
eight oito
nine nove
ten dez

So, some examples would be:

Eu tenho dois carros. (I have two cars.)

Eu quero oito quilos de farinha. (I want eight kilos of flour.)

Ela tem sete gatos. (She has seven cats.)

Things do get a little more complicated, however. In Portuguese, every object has a gender – either masculine or feminine. So, just to make things a bit more interesting, there are slight changes made to um and dois (one and two) when the object (or person) that you are talking about is feminine.

Number in English Masculine or Unknown Feminine
one um uma
two dois duas

For example:

Eu tenho um irmão. (I have one brother / a brother.)
[We also use um or uma when we would use the article a(n) in English.]

Ele só limpou uma mesa. (He only cleaned one table.)

Ela comeu dois bolos. (She ate two cakes.)

Nós temos duas casas. (We have two houses.)

São duas horas. (It’s two o’clock.)
[When we are talking about the time, we talk about hours (horas) which is a feminine word. Therefore, we use the feminine version of one and two (uma and duas) when we are telling the time.]

And as we count higher…

Numbers in Portuguese – Eleven to Nineteen

English number Portuguese number
eleven onze
twelve doze
thirteen treze
fourteen catorze (sometimes quatorze in Brazil)
fifteen quinze
sixteen dezasseis (sometimes dezesseis in Brazil)
seventeen dezassete (sometimes dezessete in Brazil)
eighteen dezoito
nineteen dezanove (sometimes dezenove in Brazil)

Notice that the numbers sixteen to nineteen work in a similar way as in English:

  • sixteen – dezasseis
  • seventeen – dezassete
  • eighteen – dezoito
  • nineteen – dezanove

Numbers in Portuguese – From Twenty to Ninety-Nine

To make numbers above twenty, we just add the numbers together – just as in English.

English number Portuguese number
twenty vinte
twenty-one vinte e um/uma
twenty-two vinte e dois/duas
thirty trinta
thirty-three trinta e três
thirty-four trinta e quatro
forty quarenta
fifty cinquenta
sixty sessenta
seventy setenta
eighty oitenta
ninety noventa

Although it might not always sound like it, we always use an e between the -ty and the unit number.

Here are some more examples:

Pegue o ônibus vinte e sete. (Take the twenty-seven bus.)

Custa cinquenta e cinco euros por pessoa. (It costs fifty-five euros per person.)

It’s worth noting that as we go higher, the masculine/feminine rule applies to any number ending in one or two.

Ela morou lá por oitenta e dois anos. (She lived there for eighty-two years.)

Eu tenho vinte e duas bananas. (I have twenty-two bananas.)

Numbers in Portuguese – One Hundred and Over

As we reach the dizzy heights of one hundred and over, things are pretty straightforward.

English number Portuguese number
one hundred cem (if the number is 100)
hundred cento
one hundred and one cento e um/uma
one hundred and two cento e dois/duas
one hundred and fifty-seven cento e cinquenta e sete
two hundred duzentos/duzentas
three hundred trezentos/trezentas
four hundred quatrocentos/quatrocentas
five hundred quinhentos/quinhentas
six hundred seiscentos/seiscentas
seven hundred setecentos/setecentas
eight hundred oitocentos/oitocentas
nine hundred novecentos/novecentos
one thousand mil
one thousand and one mil e um/uma
two thousand dois/duas mil
three thousand três mil
six thousand, five hundred and seventy-two seis mil, quinhentos e setenta e dois/duas
ten thousand dez mil
one hundred thousand cem mil
four hundred thousand quatrocentos mil
one million um milhão
five million cinco milhões
one billion in Brazil: um bilhão (sometimes um bilião)
in Portugal: mil milhões
one trillion in Brazil: um trilhão
in Portugal: um bilhão (sometimes um bilião)

For example:

Eu tenho cento e uma coisas para fazer! (I have a hundred and one things to do!)

Cento e oitenta! (One hundred and eighty!)

Maria tem setecentos e trinta e seis amigos no Facebook. (Maria has seven hundred and thirty-six friends on Facebook.)

Os dinosauros viveram sessenta e seis milhões de anos atrás. (The dinosaurs lived sixty-six million years ago.)

If we are talking about how to say years in Portuguese, we would say the full number exactly how it was written. So, whereas in English, I would say that:

“I was born in nineteen, ninety-seven, and the year is two thousand and eighteen,

In Portuguese, we would say:

“Eu nasci em mil novecentos e noventa e sete, e o ano é dois mil e dezoito”.

Using the Word “Meia” in Brazilian Portuguese Numbers

In Brazilian Portuguese numbers, the word meia can sometimes be used instead of seis. This is the case in Brazil, but not in Portugal (due to the difference in accents).

Meia usually means half, but when you are listing numbers – for example, giving a phone number out or confirming a number, some people use meia to avoid confusion as seis and três can sound similar at times.

The word meia comes from uma meia dúzia – meaning half a dozen.


Meu número de telephone ê sete – cinco – oito – dois – três – meia. (My phone number is seven – five – eight – two – three – six.)

Points, Comas and All That Jazz

When you are looking at Portuguese numbers, it can be a little confusing with regard to the decimal point. It’s not you though, there’s good reason: Portuguese uses points and comas differently to English.

Where we would put a point in a number in English, in Portuguese we use a comma:

  • 2.34 would be written 2,34 in Portuguese
  • $5.99 would be written $5,99 in Portuguese

The word for comma in Portuguese is vírgula, so we would say:

Cinco vírgula nove for five point nine or 5.9 – a particularly good ice-skating score.

Rádio Europa está em noventa e três vírgula oito MHz for Rádio Europa is on ninety-three point eight MHz (or 93.8MHz).

Likewise, where we would put a comma in a number, in Portuguese we use a point. So, 3,849 would be 3.849 in Portuguese. The word point, however isn’t spoken, so three thousand, eight hundred and forty-nine would be três mil, oitocentos e quarenta e nove.

Ordinal Numbers in Portuguese

When we talk about ordinal numbers, we are talking about an order or rank. By that, I mean that we are saying Twelfth Night, Fifth Avenue, Queen Elizabeth the Second or “You are currently four hundred and twentieth in the queue”.

In Portuguese, we notate the ordinal numbers slightly differently to how we notate in English – mainly as we don’t use the -th in Portuguese.

This is how we would notate and say ordinal numbers in Portuguese:

Notation in English Notation in Portuguese Written in Portuguese
1st 1°/1ª primeiro/primeira
2nd 2°/2ª segundo/segunda
3rd 3°/3ª terceiro/terceira
4th 4°/4ª quarto/quarta
5th 5°/5ª quinto/quinta
6th 6°/6ª sexto/sexta
7th 7°/7ª sétimo/sétima
8th 8°/8ª oitavo/oitava
9th 9°/9ª nono/nona
10th 10°/10ª décimo/décima
11th 11°/11ª décimo primeiro/décima primeira
12th 12°/12ª décimo segundo/décima segunda
20th 20°/20ª vigésimo/vigésima
21st 21°/21ª vigésimo primeiro
30th 30°/30ª trigésimo/trigésima
40th 40°/40ª quadragésimo/quadragésima
50th 50°/50ª quinquagésimo/quinquagésima
60th 60°/60ª sexagésimo/sexagésima
70th 70°/70ª septuagésimo/septuagésima
80th 80°/80ª octagésimo/octagésima
90th 90°/90ª nonagésimo/nonagésima
100th 100°/100ª centésimo/centésima

So, for example:

Eu vim em nono lugar. (I came in ninth place.)

John Rogan é o segundo homen mais alto de todos os tempos. (John Rogan is the second tallest man ever.)

Elon Musk é a quadragésima quarta pessoa mais rica do mundo. (Elon Musk is the fourty-fourth richest person in the world.)

Esta é a centésima vez que te pedi! (This is the hundredth time that I’ve asked you!)

This works for fractions as well:

dois oitavos (two eighths)

Um quinto tem carregado. (One fifth has loaded.)

It is also worth noting that when we talk about the date in Portuguese, cardinal numbers are used – not ordinal. So, when in English we say that:

Today is the sixth of April,

in Portuguese, we say:

Hoje é o dia seis de abril.

So, there you have it: there’s now nothing that you don’t know about numbers in Portuguese – agora não há nada que você não saiba sobre os números em português!

Boa Sorte!

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