Elementary 10: I’ve Got To Go Bad

MP3 Audio (Lesson) | MP3 Audio (Dialog)

When you gotta go, you gotta go, and in this lesson we’ve gotta go. But there is no way that we are using those dirty public bathrooms. You will thank us later when you know how to talk about this in Portuguese.

Lesson audio

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Dialog audio

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 A: Vamos para casa.
Let’s go home, OK?
  B: Por quê? Muito cedo ainda.
Why? It’s still really early.
  A: Eu sei, mas eu preciso ir ao banheiro
I know, but I’ve got to go to the bathroom.
  B: Mas tem banheiro aqui, aqui do lado.
But there’s a bathroom here, just right here.
  A: Não, esses são muito sujos, não quero ir aqui.
No, these are really dirty, I don’t want to go here.
  B: Não são tão maus assim.
They aren’t so bad.
  A: Não, porque você é homem e não precisa sentar pra fazer xixi.
No, because you are a guy and you don’t need to sit down to pee.
  B: Tá bom, já sei quando não vale a pena brigar. Vamos embora.
OK, I know when it’s not worth it arguing. Let’s go.


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  1. Otto van Emden

    Can you explain the difference between ‘há’ and ‘tem’ and when to use which?

    1. Orlando Kelm

      This is one of those times when both are interchangeable and there is no difference in the meaning. For example, Há três maçãs na mesa or Tem três maçãs na mesa, both mean “there are three apples on the table. So, feel free to go with either one. I used to think that “tem” was more common, or less formal, but even that it probably splitting hairs. Again, feel free to use either one.

  2. Joe Masters (@Master

    With the comment “aqui do lado” – does this have any meaning of the fact that the bathroom is ‘here on the side’ or could you say “aqui do lado” to refer to something even when it is not particularly to the side of a room?

    1. Orlando Kelm

      The simple answer is probably you can easily say “aqui do lado” even with it is not particularly to the side of the room. A more complete answer is to notice how Brazilians have a tendency to add a preposition when then need to be specific: “aqui do lado de lá” (here to the side over there) or “aqui do lado de cá” (here to the side on this side). I believe that the “de lá” and “de cá” would make things specific enough to apply to your question. In other words, “aqui do lado” (general), “aqui do lado de lá” or “aqui do lado de cá” (specific location in reference to where one is).

      1. Joe Masters

        Obrigado Orlando.

        Eu estou approveitar muito ‘linguadagente’!

        It is proving a really useful complementary resource for my Portuguese learning — helping me a lot with improving my listening skills and also my ‘real’ Portuguese speaking ability i.e. helping me understand the way real Portuguese people sound rather than sounding like a textbook!

  3. chris censullo

    The word “ja” in this example; is there a rule to remember regarding when to use “ja” in an example like this? I know “ja” means “already”, but to an english speaker, it seems like an unnecessary word to say, although I know it is used frequently in sentences like this. How to think about it?

    1. Orlando Kelm

      Agreed, it’s tough to catch on to how many times and places Brazilians throw in an extra “já”! “Eu já não quero” – I don’t want to any more.
      “Você já esteve no Rio?” – Have you ever been to Rio?
      “Já sei quando não vale a pena brigar.” – I know that it’s not even worth arguing.”
      Notice that I didn’t use “already” in any of those translations.
      Basically, almost every sentence can be said without the “já”, so keep your eyes open for the little extra ump that all those sentences have.

  4. donald

    Oi Orlando. When Andreia is talking about ‘fazendo xixi, she says or I think she’s is saying, é muito comum quando você está com a roda dos amigos?? Does it means ‘when you are in a circle of friends? As you explained earlier, it’s the unscripted nuanced exchanges by the native Portuguese speakers such as Andreia, Daniela and the rest of the staff that is captivating. Thanks

    1. Orlando Kelm

      Nice catch Donald! Indeed, you caught a perfect rendition of a circle of friends. I’m impressed that you could pull that out of the conversation.

      1. donald

        It’s so important to try and understand the dialogue when you guys go off script because of its unfettered naturalness. I find myself glued to every word in your discussions with Andreia as there is so much to digest. Thanks to you guys, I’m getting there!!!!

  5. Sam

    On the second line, do many people say, “muito cedo ainda?” or do most people say, “é muito cedo ainda?”
    It feels weird to say that without “it’s” in english, but it is common in Portuguese to say it like it’s written?

    1. Orlando Kelm

      In English we say things like, “you like it?” as well as “do you like it?” My sense is that the difference between “muito cedo ainda?” or “é muito cedo ainda?” works the same way. Either is fine, and the elimination of “é” just makes things sound a bit more informal perhaps, where the full form is “é muito cedo ainda?”