Elementary 20: I Nearly Froze To Death

MP3 Audio (Lesson) | MP3 Audio (Dialog)

Really? I mean seriously! How is it possible for people to live in places where the winter temperatures are below freezing? We know that many people do, but for people like Marcos in today’s lesson, those cold temperatures are shocking! And that’s what we learn to talk about in today’s lesson.

Lesson audio

Download lesson mp3 file

(Right or control click to save/download file)

Dialog audio

Download dialog mp3 file

(Right or control click to save/download file)
 A: Oi Marcos, você gostou de Nova Iorque?
Hi Marcos, did you like New York?
  B: Gostei, mas nunca passei tanto frio na vida.
I did, but I’ve never been so cold in my life.
  A: Cara, eu te avisei, lembra? Faz um frio da nado em Nova Iorque.
I told you man, remember? It gets really cold in New York.
  B: Sei, e eu que cheguei com um casaco, luvas, gorro e tudo mais, mesmo assim, quando eu saí do taxi, quase morri de frio.
I know, and I got there with a coat, gloves, had, everything, but despite that, when I got out of the taxi the cold almost killed me.
  A: E é aquele um frio que penetra, doi na gente, não é mesmo?
And it’s a cold that penetrates, it hurts you, isn’t that right?
  B: É, realmente, e eu não sei como eles vivem num lugar assim. Eu simplesmente não poderia aguentar.
Yeah, I really don’t know how people live in a place like that. I simply wouldn’t be able to take it.
  A: É, rapaz, eu lembro que uma vez quando eu saí do hotel, o ar que saiu da minha boca congelou.
And, man, I remember one time when I left my hotel, the air that came out of my mouth froze.
  B: Não! É impossível! E o efeito do vento, foi horrível.
No! That’s impossible! And the effect of the wind, it was horrible.


Your email address will not be published.
All fields below are required.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Bret Kauffmann


    This was a great dialogue and breakdown.

    As usual everything flew by me at first but by the end of the lesson I can understand it clear as day.

    One grammar point I’m stuck on though is the word ‘que’ in the beginning of the fourth line:

    “Sei, e eu que cheguei com um casaco,…”

    If I were saying this I would end up just saying: ….e eu cheguei…

    I’m about to dive into my copy of Whitlam’s book to try and dig out the reason but if you could shed some light also that’d be most welcomed.

    Thanks again to both of you. These are super-helpful.


    1. Orlando Kelm

      Hi Bret, ah yes, the famous extra “que” that Brazilians add all the time. In this case you could say, “eu cheguei com um casaco” (I arrived with a coat). Or you could say, “e eu que cheguei com um casaco”, which is kind of like saying in English, “and I’m the one who arrived with the coat.” You’ll find that Brazilians use “que” a lot where you English speaking brain thinks of the word “who”. Hope that helps a bit. Orlando

  2. Thad Kawecki

    Professor Kelm,

    Unless I’m off the mark, passar seems to be one of those protean verbs that changes meaning in different contexts. Could you give a few examples of this verb’s everyday usage?

    1. Orlando Kelm

      Hey Thad,
      Agreed, I love to see which words transfer and which ones don’t. And you caught on that everybody who talks about being cold uses the verb “passar” to say that they are ‘passando frio’, which would be rather weird in English. A couple of other random thoughts:
      1. to spend – passei o dia na casa dela (I spent the day at her house).
      2. not “to happen” (That is to say, you cannot use the Spanish sounding “que pasa” in Portuguese)
      I’ll think of a few more….

      1. Thad Kawecki

        Professor Kelm,
        Thanks for the reply. I found two examples that appear to work with a previously stated, or understood topic of the cold. in ClicaBrasil intermediate 26, Vivian F is talking about the cold and says “eu passava mal” and in #29 Daniela M, again talking about the cold, says “eu passei mal.” It seems like passar can sub for sentir if the feeling is a result of the cold. Is that the only circumstance where it can be used to express “to feel”?

        1. Orlando Kelm

          Yes, and notice that both those carry that meaning of “spent”, as in “I spent time there and it was cold.” And the weird thing about “passar frio” is that you cannot say “passei calor” Go figure?

          1. Alex

            I found this interesting. So I looked it up and passar can mean suffer, i.e experience physical or mental pain.
            I guess a hypothetical Eskimo could be imagined saying “Passei calor”, but not your typical Brazilian

            Another great example I found was “Eu passei fome” ( I suffered hunger)

            Again, thanks for a great set of lessons.

            1. Orlando Kelm

              I remember years ago when we recorded the Portuguese Communication Exercises, that all the Brazilians used “passei frio” to talk about the coldest they had been (Intermediate task 29). I hadn’t expected that all of them would express it that way. It’s always interesting to observe little patterns like that.


  3. Michael

    Can you please explain the expression “frio da nado”? I thought perhaps “um nado” is “a swim”, and the expression might allude to the sense of cold when first jumping in the water, but “da” being feminine suggests it is some other word/meaning. Thanks!

    1. Orlando Kelm

      That is a weird situation, because ‘da nado’ in this case simply means “nada.” So it doesn’t have anything to do with water. Kind of weird, but you don’t have to think of things in terms of masc/fem.

      1. Michael

        Thanks – I was trying to read more into it than was there! lol

    2. Sage

      Faz um frio (danado)

      1. Orlando Kelm