Beginning 70: Small talk VII – You cut your hair

MP3 Audio (Lesson) | MP3 Audio (Dialog)

We all relate to the pressure of how to react to a hair cut, especially when we go with a new look or a new style. The good news is that in today’s dialog not only does our friend notice, but she lets us know that the new style is working well, está linda! Thank goodness, because we are always taking a chance with a new hair style.

Lesson audio

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Dialog audio

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 A: Você cortou o cabelo, né? Está linda.
You cut your hair, right? It’s pretty.
  B: Cortei sim, você gosta? Eu ainda não sei, viu?
Yes, I got it cut. Do you like it? I'm still not sure, you know?
  A: Nada disso, está linda mesmo, combina com seu rosto.
No way, it’s really pretty, it goes well with your face.
  B: Obrigada, estava na hora mesmo de ter um novo estilo.
Thanks, it really was time to try a new style.


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  1. Keiko

    Hi Orlando!

    Thank you for another great lesson! I now understand it’s common to use preterite when you talk about your first impressions (e.g. “Eu adorei” in Lesson 69, “combinou com seu rosto” in this lesson). But I also see the present tense used to describe impressions as in “Está linda” in the first and third lines in this lesson. Would you also say “estava linda”? Or is it more polite to use the present tense when the subject is the person you are addressing (by emphasizing that you ARE pretty?)? Is there a difference in nuance between present and preterite when describing impressions? Thank you!


    1. Orlando Kelm

      Hey Keiko,
      Chances are that you are analyzing this more than it needs to be. Notice how the dialog went; Você cortou o cabelo, está lindo “Hey you cut your hair, it’s beautiful. That is, you cut your hair (past tense) and as a result (right now) it is beautiful. It would be pretty weird to say, Você cortou o cabelo e estava lindo (which would almost imply that you cut your hair and it was much better before you cut it!!!

      1. Keiko

        Hi Orlando,

        Thank you for your quick response!

        That’s true! But my understanding is that Brazilians use preterite and say “Eu adorei” to mean what English speakers mean “I love” in the present tense (“adorei” doesn’t mean that they loved it in the past but not anymore, right??). Is it safe to say that you use preterite to describe first impressions in general, but you use present if the context requires it and if you want to emphasize “now”? Sorry to bother you with another question. I’m fascinated by all these little unique features of Portuguese. I really appreciate your taking the time to clear my confusion!

        1. Orlando Kelm

          What awesome observations Keiko! Bom, there are some verbs that seem to lend themselves to being used in both past and present, without much of a difference in the meaning, or with a slight nuance. For example. Acabo de falar com você vs Acabei de falar com você. Here, both mean “I just talked to you.” but the difference in nuance is in reference to the moment and also in what the focus is going to be. If the whole story relates to things n the past, chances are that a speaker will put the sentence in the past. If the whole story relates to how you feel about it right now, then the speaker will put the sentence in the present. I believe this is the case with something like “Eu adoro esse livro” vs “Eu adorei esse livro” Whether you “love” of “loved” the book is really a matter of focus on the event in the past, or your current feelings about it. Hope that helps (or hope that helped)!!!!

          1. Keiko

            Wow, I’m so glad I asked you the follow-up question! Thank you for such insightful explanation. That WAS and IS superinteressante!