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Question: "em" x "no" x "na"

How do you know when to use the following??

em = in/on

no = in/on the (masculine)

na = in/on the (feminine)

ie: Why is it "no Rio de Janeiro" and "no Maranhão", but "em São Luiz"??

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mountebank
Jul. 31st, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
Yes, very confusing, even for native speakers. What is even weirder is when you read about the 50 American states in the Brazilian press. For example, "na Califórnia" but "em Nova York." If I remember correctly, it's "no Mississipi," which makes no sense!

"No Brasil," but "em Portugal." They say "no Rio" for both city and state, and likewise "em São Paulo" for both city and state. "Na Bahia" refers to both the State of Bahia, and the city of Salvador.

At one time I had a list. I wish I still had it. That's the best thing to do. Make a list of cities, states, and countries in Portuguese. Then ask a very patient native speaker to give you the appropriate word for "in."

(...then reprint that list here so we can all learn from it!)

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Welcome to Portuguese Notes!

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