Saturday, 13 June 2009


The other day I was in the elevator with the locksmith. We spoke in English. We stopped on the first floor and he told me. "We go down here, on the first." I understood and did as he said. "Descemos aqui, no primeiro." But I couldn´t help it and told him the correct sentence would be "We get off here on the first floor". Was I too strict? Maybe. What if I didn´t have another opportunity to correct this typical Brazilian mistake? It´s important to remember that he probably wouldn´t have been understood by someone who didn´t speak Portuguese. So there´s no "go down" to mean "descer do elevador." The same rationale applies to buses. "Descer do ônibus" is to "get off the bus" but "descer do carro " is "get out of the car." How about "subir?" We´d better look it up below:
bike (get off / get on); buses ( get off / get on); cars ( get out of / get in); horses ( get off, get down from / get on , get up on); lifts ( get out of , get off / get in); planes ( get off / get on); ships ( get off / get on)

What do you say when you´re in a hurry and want to get in the elevator? How about? "Hold it! Going up! Going down!" or even "Wait for me."

Adapted from "Como não aprender Inglês" by Michael A. Jacobs


  1. That's the kind of thing which we hardly ever find in ordinary grammar books. I think most of us can't help avoiding L1 when we have to come up with colloquial sentences like these.

    thx 4 sharing =)

  2. @Nelson

    That also happens mostly because the books are not customized for Portuguese speakers; Therefore, they don´t call attention to those things;

  3. so different from the portuguese language.
    I didn't know about that.

  4. I didn't know that either and it's very useful.

  5. I couldn't agree more with my colleagues !

  6. I didn´t know that you get off the bus but you get out of the car. Now that I know, I will start using it the right way

  7. Oh,I think in Portuguese,it's easier.
    English language is fantastic!

  8. Impressing! That shows how deeply our mother tongue interferes with the learning process.
    Congrats for the blog,
    Luis Felipe D.
    Plus 5

  9. Very interesting! Very usefull!

    Carla Plus 5

  10. Wow! That shows how portuguese can be easier than english. English can be Hard and treacherous sometimes, but can be nice to learn.English For the Winner!

    Danuza Plus 5