Elementary 27: I Hate Pets

MP3 Audio (Lesson) | MP3 Audio (Dialog)

“Oh, look at the cute little puppy!” Well, some love to look at the cute little puppy, but others can only think of the awful sensation of shedding hair, licked faces, and smelly fur. Whether you are a pet lover or a pet despiser, we’ve got you covered to talk about it in Portuguese.

Lesson audio

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Dialog audio

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 A: Você gosta mais de gato ou de cachorro?
Do you like cats or dogs more?
  B: Nenhum dos dois, sou alérgica aos animais domésticos.
Neither of the two, I’m allergic to pets.
  A: Mas os gatos são tão lindos, e os cachorros tem tanta personalidade!
But cats are so beautiful, and dogs have so much personality!
  B: E eles soltam pelos em todo lugar, é terrível.
And they shed fur everywhere, it’s terrible.
  A: Então nem se eu te desse um cachorrinho de presente?
So not even if I gave you a little puppy for a present?
  B: Não, por favor, nem assim aceitaria, detesto esses bichos.
Please don’t, I wouldn’t accept it, I hate these pets.


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  1. Bern Hyland

    In place of the line “Então nem se eu te desse..” would it also be acceptable to say “Então nem se eu te der…”? Past lessons have recommended use of future subjunctive in statements like “Se voce quiser…”

    I am thinking that in this line, either could work. It’s just that “desse” suggests more an improbable or purely theoretical notion, while “der” suggests something with a more real possibility of being enacted in the future. It all depends on how serious the speaker is about giving her friend a puppy.

    Prof. Kelm, can you shed some light?

    1. Orlando Kelm

      OK, quick grammar review… When you have a clause with “if” there are two basic patterns, e.g.: 1. If I have money I will buy a car. 2. If I had money I would buy a car.
      In the first example, we use “have” and follow up with “will” and in the second example we use “had” with “would”
      Portuguese technically works the same way, e.g.: 1. Se eu tiver dinheiro eu vou comprar o carro. 2. Se eu tivesse dinheiro eu compraria o carro.
      As you mentioned, option 2 seems more hypothetical, what one would do if he has money.

      In actual everyday speech, these two forms are often mixed up back and forth and it’s not that big of a deal. You will notice, however, that in this dialog the “desse” is followed up in the next line with “aceitaria” giving the idea of ‘if you gave me the dog, I would not accept it…”

      1. Bern Hyland

        Yes, in this case “aceitaria” is on the other side of the “if” clause, and it corresponds with “desse.” But if the first speaker used “der,” then I’m guessing the second speaker would have to answer “Não, por favor, nem assim aceitarei” or “Não, por favor, nem assim vou acertar.” Yes?

        1. Orlando Kelm

          You know how in English some people say, “If I was sick I’d take that medicine.” and others say, “If I were sick I’d take the medicine.” Both mean about 100% the same thing. Some will insist that “If I were…” is more correct, but in actual speech, they flip flop. Anyway, the same thing happens with “se der” or “se desse” Technically they are different, but in everyday speech, people will flip flop without much sense of a difference. All this to say that the second speaker in this dialog could easily have said, aceitaria, aceito, vou aceitar with either desse or der. Sorry it’s not more cut and dried, but that’s kind of the way things flip flop.

          1. Bern Hyland

            That totally makes sense in terms of how people actually talk.

            How about if it was the same speaker? I am thinking that in that case, the mismatch of subjunctive tenses would sound more obviously “wrong” in conversation. That is, if the same speaker were talking, she could say, “Se voce me desse um cachorro, eu nao aceitaria” or “Se voce me der um cachorro eu nao vou aceitar.” Would it sound strange for the same speaker to mix things up and say, “Se voce me desse um cachorro, eu nao vou acertar” or “Se voce me der um cachorro eu nao aceitaria.”?

            1. Orlando Kelm

              If it’s the same speaker, yes it’s more likely to coincide with the normal rule, but even in that case, it may also go either way. Crazy, isn’t it?