Health Status

An important topic when learning a foreign language is health. In emergency situations, you need to be able to tell what is hurting you and what you need to help. You don’t need to know all the names of diseases to do this. It will be enough to know the names of body parts, simple states and a little additional grammar.


First, let’s look at parts of the head, since special sensations in them may indicate serious health problems, for example, an impending stroke.

  • os olhos (eyes), o nariz (nose), a boca (mouth), a testa (forehead), as orelhas (ears), a garganta (throat)

Next, let’s move on to body parts, but only external ones. It is unlikely that without additional tests it will be possible to say that the kidneys or spleen hurt. Therefore, let’s focus on what is clearer:

  • o braço (arm), a mão (hand), o ombro (shoulder), o cotovelo (elbow), a perna (leg), o joelho (knee), o pé (foot), a cabeça (head), o pescoço (neck), o peito (chest), a barriga (stomach), as costas (back), o dedo (finger)


In general, you don’t have to invent anything and use a verb that exists specifically for this situation: doer (to be sick).

This verb has two features. One peculiarity is that it has only two forms, depending on the number of diseased organs:

dói (hurt) – singular, doem (hurt) – plural. The second feature is that you need to use an indirect object for this verb. To make it more clear, let’s collect the information in a table:

The verb “doer”:
dói (singular), doem (plural) +
Eu -me
Tu -te
Ele, ela, você -lhe
Nós -nos
Vocês -vos
Eles, elas -lhes
  • Hoje dói-me um dente. (Today my tooth hurts.)
  • Doem-vos as pernas? (Do your feet hurt?)

However, in order not to remember this information, there are two unique solutions to their situation. First, we can use the verb “ter(to have):

  • Ela tem dores da cabeça. (She has a headache.)
  • Temos dores da garganta. (We have a sore throat.)

Secondly, we will need the verb “estar(to be) and the preposition “com(with):

  • Estou com dores da barriga. (I have a stomach ache.)
  • Estás com dores nos olhos. (Your eyes hurt).

Affirmative imperative

In this paragraph we will also start with the difficult ones, and then we will see how to get out of the situation. So, we want to give or listen to recommendations. This means we need an imperative. In this case, the verbs change their endings in a special way.

Let’s look at affirmative phrases. So for the pronoun “tu(you) we use a verb form, as for “você(you, singular) in

Presente do Indicativo, to give instructions for action. That is:

  • Faz exercises todos os dias. ((You) Do exercises every day.)
  • Bebe mais água. ((You) Drink more water.)

For the pronoun “você” we recall the verb form for the pronoun “eu”(I) and change its ending to the letter “a” for both regular and irregular verbs. Namely:

Faça desporto para ser saudável. ((You) Exercise to stay healthy.)
Beba sumos naturais. ((You) Drink natural juices.)

Since it is impossible to order something to yourself, there is no imperative for the pronouns “eu” and “nós”. When we refer to ourselves, we say “tu” or “vocês” (you, plural). The situation is similar with the pronouns “ele/eles” and “ela/elas”, because we are addressing the person directly and there is no need to use these pronouns.

We only have the pronoun “vocês” left, but for him the situation is simple. We take the imperative form for the pronoun “você” and add the ending “-m”.

  • Façam dieta algumas vezes por ano. (Diet several times a year.)
  • Bebam menos bebidas alcoólicas. (Drink less alcoholic beverages.)

Negative imperative

In this paragraph, only the form of the negative imperative for the pronoun “tu” is different, because the forms of the imperative for the pronouns “você” and “vocês” do not change, only the negative particle “não(not) is added. But the form of the imperative for the pronoun “tu” is as follows: we take the form of the imperative for the pronoun “você” and add the ending “-s”. Of course, we also need the negative particle “não” in this case. This is what we get:

  • Não faças tanho barulho! Dói-me a cabeça! (Don’t make so much noise! ​​It gives me a headache!)
  • Não bebas tanta água fria! (Don’t drink so much cold water!)

Of course, there are also exceptions to this topic that do not obey these rules and have their own exclusive forms, but we will talk about this another time.

Verb “dever”

If it is difficult to remember information about the formation of an imperative, there is no need to despair. For advice and recommendations, we have a special verb – dever (must, should). This verb cannot be used in an imperative, but in its essence it replaces any imperative. Let’s look at examples.

  • Tu não deves сomer tantos doces! (You shouldn’t eat so many sweets!)
  • Você deve comer mais fruta! (You should eat more fruit!)
  • Vocês devem dormir mais! (You should sleep more!)

It’s much simpler and the wording is much softer, don’t you agree?


Once you have this knowledge, you may feel safer because you can explain your health problem. Moreover, you can even explain what triggered the attack and what you shouldn’t have done, such as drinking a lot of vinho verde (green wine) or eating so much pastéis de nata (cream puffs).

And if we abstract from the negative scenario, then the imperative and the verb “dever” will be useful to you in any other situation – for example, when explaining a route or a recipe.

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