Numbers in Portuguese: How to Count in Portuguese

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Join us as we take you through everything you need to learn how to count in Portuguese. In this article, we will present the Portuguese numbering system in bitesize chunks and cover both cardinal and ordinal numbers.

We will give you some insight into the grammar as some numbers have a gender clause and we will point out the patterns and irregularities to give you a comprehensive guide.

Learning to count in Portuguese is an important part of getting to grips with the language. 

Numbers are used on a daily basis for shopping, dates, and planning and they are sometimes difficult for the ear to hear when larger numbers are spoken as some numbers sound very similar.

Think about our numbering system in English and how 2 and 22 could be confused as the twenty is easy to miss when a native speaker is speaking quickly!

With that in mind, let’s get started on learning Portuguese numbers.

Counting in Portuguese; Cardinal Numbers

Portuguese Numbers 1-10

Much like when we teach a child, one through ten is the best place to start!

Often languages have cognitive patterns in the numbering. Consider the similarity between three and thirty, the way in which we use the number ten, and how the number fifteen is almost like five-ten. 

Learning the teens and tens is quicker once you have mastered the units so let’s start at the beginning and build our Portuguese number learning foundations.

1 – um/uma

2 – dois/duas

3 – três

4 – quatro

5 – cinco

6 – seis

7 – sete

8 – oito

9 – nove

10 – dez

You will likely recognize a familiarity when you compare them to our own numbers as both English and Portuguese are Indo-European languages that share Latin roots.

You may have already noticed that “one” and “two” have masculine and feminine versions. 

When you are using them in conjunction with a gendered noun in Portuguese you have to change the word for the number appropriately.

Here’s an example of gender agreement in action:

  • “Eu tenho uma irmã” (“I have one sister”)
  • “Eu tenho um irmão” (“I have one brother”)
  • “Eu comprei duas maçãs” (“I bought two apples”)
  • “Eu comi dois bolos” (“I ate two cakes”)

As in English sometimes the word for “one” also functions as the word “a” see below: 

  • “Eu comprei um café” (“I bought a coffee”)
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Portuguese Numbers 11-19

The next sequence of Portuguese numbers to learn are 11-19, much like in our language some stand out among the rest. The English word for Eleven is very different from sixteen and seventeen which follow a pattern.

Let’s take a look at them in Portuguese:

11 – onze

12 – doze

13 – treze

14 – catorze

15 – quinze

16 – dezasseis

17 – dezassete

18 – dezoito

19 – dezanove

In Brazil the numbers 16,17 and 19 are pronounced and written with an e in place of the “dezasseis” which becomes “dezesseis”.

This batch of numbers should be fairly simple to memorize as you can see the numbers 16 through 19 are formed with the number 10 (“dez”) and the unit from the first list of numbers we gave you with an “e” (“and”) in the middle.

The exception being 18 “dezoito” drops the “e”. is a slight exception because it drops the e entirely.

You may have noticed the doubling of the “s” in “dezesseis” and “dezessete”.

This is a pronunciation clarifier. Because an “s” in Portuguese is pronounced like our English “S” unless it comes between two vowels. In which case, it sounds more like a “z”.

However, to keep the pronunciation of the “seis” and “sete” parts of the number the double s is used to reinforce the pronunciation as “dez-e-seis” not “dez-e-zeis”. 

It is a formality to keep clarity.

Portuguese numbers 1-100; Multiples of Ten

Much like our own language, once you have the numbers 1-19 mastered the rest becomes a heck of a lot easier to begin forming, recognizing, and memorizing.

Here are some Portuguese multiples of ten:

20 – vinte

30 – trinta

40 – quarenta

50 – cinquenta

60 – sessenta

70 – setenta

80 – oitenta

90 – noventa

The majority of these numbers share similarities with their root digit. Compare “sete” and “setenta”. All of them end “-enta” with the exception of 20 and 30 which are irregular.

Once you have your multiple of ten memorized sling with your root digits you can begin to form two-digit numbers with relative ease. 

If you wanted to form the number 85 you pick the eighth multiple of ten 80 and which in Portuguese is “oitenta” and simply add the Portuguese word for “five” to it without forgetting to slip in the “e” for “and”. 

With “five” being “cinco” you should get the number “oitenta e cinco” written as separate words.

You can use this rule for numbers from 20-99 and if you want to check you can use the following table:

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1 – um/uma11 – onze21 – vinte e um/uma31 – trinta e um/uma41 – quarenta e um/uma51 – cinquenta e um/uma61 – sessenta e um/uma71 – setenta e um/uma81 – oitenta e um/uma91 – noventa e um/uma
2 – dois/duas12 – doze22 – vinte e dois/duas32 – trinta e dois/duas42 – quarenta e dois/duas52 – cinquenta e dois/duas62 – sessenta e dois/duas72 – setenta e dois/duas82 – oitenta e dois/duas92 – noventa e dois/duas
3 – três13 – treze23 – vinte e três33 – trinta e três43 – quarenta e três53 – cinquenta e três63 – sessenta e três73 – setenta e três83 – oitenta e três93 – noventa e três
4 – quatro14 – catorze24 – vinte e quatro34 – trinta e quatro44 – quarenta e quatro54 – cinquenta e quatro64 – sessenta e quatro74 – setenta e quatro84 – oitenta e quatro94 – noventa e quatro
5 – cinco15 – quinze25 – vinte e cinco35 – trinta e cinco45 – quarenta e cinco55 – cinquenta e cinco65 – sessenta e cinco75 – setenta e cinco85 – oitenta e cinco95 – noventa e cinco
6 – seis16 – dezesseis/dezasseis26 – vinte e seis36 – trinta e seis46 – quarenta e seis56 – cinquenta e seis66 – sessenta e seis76 – setenta e seis86 – oitenta e seis96 – noventa e seis
7 – sete17 – dezassete/dezessete27 – vinte e sete37 – trinta e sete47 – quarenta e sete57 – cinquenta e sete67 – sessenta e sete77 – setenta e sete87 – oitenta e sete97 – noventa e sete
8 – oito18 – dezoito28 – vinte e oito38 – trinta e oito48 – quarenta e oito58 – cinquenta e oito68 – sessenta e oito78 – setenta e oito88 – oitenta e oito98 – noventa e oito
9 – nove19 – dezanove/dezenove29 – vinte e nove39 – trinta e nove49 – quarenta e nove59 – cinquenta e nove69 – sessenta e nove79 – setenta e nove89 – oitenta e nove99 – noventa e nove
10 – dez20 – vinte30 – trinta40 – quarenta50 – cinquenta60 – sessenta70 – setenta80 – oitenta90 – noventa100 – cem

Remember when the number ends in 1 or 2 you need to use the correct gender and noun agreement! See the following examples:

  • “Contei vinte e um cachorros” (“I counted twenty-one dogs”)
  • “Ele comeu vinte e uma malaguetas” (“He ate twenty-one chillies”)
  • “Eles trouxeram cinquenta e dois presentes” (“They brought fifty-two gifts”)
  • “Havia cinquenta e duas pessoas” (“There were fifty-two people”)
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Now you know the numbers 1 through 99! Let’s add the word for zero which is simply “zero and the word for “100 is “cem”.

However, “cem” is only used when the number is exactly one-hundred. So in order to add another number you need to learn the word “cento”. Take a look at the following example to help clear things up:

  • 100 – cem
  • 101 – cento e um/uma
  • 124 – cento e vinte e quatro

Sometimes in English we aren’t required to be precise, we can say “hundreds of”. The Portuguese equivalent is “centenas”:

  • “Eu vi centenas de ovelhas” (“I saw hundreds of sheep”)

Up to 1,000 in Portuguese; Multiples of 100

After learning the  Portuguese multiples of 10, comes the Portuguese multiples of 100 which enables you to say any number from one hundred to one thousand!

You should be aware that the hundreds in Portuguese take masculine and feminine forms for noun agreement. Take a look;

200 – duzentos/duzentas

300 – trezentos/trezentas

400 – quatrocentos/quatrocentas

500 – quinhentos/quinhentas

600 – seiscentos/seiscentas

700 – setecentos/setecentas

800 – oitocentos/oitocentas

900 – novecentos/novecentas

The pattern here (if you haven’t spotted it already), is the root digit plus “centos” as a suffix. The exceptions are 200, 300, and 500 which are duzentos, trezentos, and quinhentos respectively.

When we form 3-digit numbers in Portuguese each digit is separated by an “e”.

  • 142 – cento e quarenta e dois
  • 387 – trezentos e oitenta e sete
  • 511 – quinhentos e onze
  • 906 – novecentos e seis

Numbers Above 1000 in Portuguese

Next we will show you how to count beyond the one thousand mark…

Firstly, “one thousand” is said with the word “mil” and “one million” is said as “milhão” in Portuguese.

Milhãochanges in its plural form and becomes “milhões” but “mil” does not.

This means you can say “dois mil” (2,000) but must remember to say “dois milhões” (2,000,000).

The “mil” doesn’t usually require the “e” added unless the number is an exact multiple of 100. The following examples should demonstrate what we mean:

  • 1,435 – mil quatrocentos e cinco
  • 3,056 –  três mil cinquenta e seis
  • 1,400 – mil e quatrocentos
  • 9,800 – nove mil e oitocentos

Millions & Billions

Millions and billions is where things get more complex. 

This is because as with English the numerical value of one million is subject to where you are. 

In American terms, it means one thousand million but in British terms, it means one million million which most of the world now calls a trillion using the Americanisation of its value when in reality it was once one-million-million-million.

Incredibly this gives the trillion figure eighteen decimal places!

The “old” way is often referred to as the long-scale numbering system and the modern/American way is known as the short scale.

Many European languages still hold on to the long-scale numbering system. Portugal included.

This means that in Portuguese one million has 12 zeros and one billion has 18.

But to complicate things, Brazil uses the short-scale numbering system so “um bilhão” means “1,000,000,000” in Brazil, but “1,000,000,000,000” in Portugal or Angola!

Ordinal Numbers in Portuguese

So, hopefully, if you are still with us you will have gotten to grips with your cardinal numbers Let’s take a look at ordinal numbers before we wrap up:

1st – primeiro

2nd – segundo

3rd – terceiro

4th – quarto

5th – quinto

6th – sexto

7th – sétimo

8th – oitavo

9th – nono

10th – décimo

Like our version, they work like an adjective to describe the order of something. As they are treated as adjectives you need to remember to change the gender of the number in relation to the noun it is referring to.

  • o primeiro homem – “the first man”
  • a segunda pessoa – “the second person”
  • o terceiro prêmio – “the third prize”
  • a quarta mulher – “the fourth woman”

The ordinal numbers for multiples of 10 are as follows:

20th – vigésimo

30th – trigésimo

40th – quadragésimo

50th – quinquagésimo

60th – sexagésimo

70th – septuagésimo

80th – octogésimo

90th – nonagésimo

100th – centésimo

Larger ordinal numbers are rarely used but you might here 21st or 44th when we are talking about the reign of kings or presidents etc.

Numbers in Portuguese – Final Thoughts

And with that, you should have everything you need to know about numbers in the palm of your hand.

Of course, it’s a pretty heavy-going article with a big vocabulary dump but hopefully, by setting it out in shorter sections we will have made it an easier read!

But be sure to bookmark and revisit so you can read and learn your Portuguese numbers at your own pace. They are an important part of your language-learning journey after all.

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