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English

Learning to ensure grammatical gender correctness has a learning curve. It can get especially confusing when ensuring that determiners (such as meu, minha) are used in a grammatically correct manner.

My question is; how do natives respond when they realise that they have used the wrong determiner for a noun? For instance, what would they do in the following circumstances:

Eu gosto da tua... (and then decide that they want to use the noun "modo")

Isso não é a minha... (and then decide that they want to use the noun "estilo")

Would they quickly correct themselves and use the correct determiner, or complete their sentence regardless of the grammatical error?


Portuguese

Aprender a garantir que o gênero gramatical utiliza-se da maneira correta tem uma curva de aprendizado. Fica especialmente dificil ao consolidar as determinantes (como meu, minha) com os substantivos da forma correta.

A minha pergunta é; como é que os nativos reagiriam ao perceberem que eles usaram a determinante errada para um substantivo? Por exemplo, como reagiriam nas situações seguintes:

Eu gosto da tua ... (e, em seguida, decidir que eles queriam usar o substantivo "modo")

Isso não é a minha... (e, em seguida, decidir que eles queriam usar o substantivo "estilo")

Será que eles rapidamente corrigiram e usariam o determinante correta, ou completar a sentença, apesar do erro gramatical?

  • 1
    I made an edit to improve the question; if you don't like the edit, just edit the question back to the previous version. :) – ANeves Feb 3 '16 at 12:35
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    Always correct. I don't remember anyone letting things like tua modo or minha estilo stand uncorrected. It just sounds so wrong. Even if I had already said «minha estilo» I would then instinctively say «meu estilo» with emphasis and possibly facial expression to indicate that I noticed the mistake and I'm correcting it. – Jacinto Feb 3 '16 at 13:29
  • I agree with the other answers and comments. Always correct those kind of mistakes. Good thing that in Portuguese, most of the time, it is easy to tell a substantive's gender. – gmauch Feb 3 '16 at 14:23
  • @ANeves No, not at all! Your comments seem highly justified, thanks! – Mr Chasi Feb 4 '16 at 9:09
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    @Jacinto I see, so kind of how an English speaker would correct "a" to "an" if required... – Mr Chasi Feb 4 '16 at 9:27
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In your two examples, they would definitely backtrack. Gender is very marked in Portuguese (unlike, say, Dutch in the masculine-feminine axis) and saying «tua modo» would be an unmistakable error for any speaker.

If there is some distance between the two elements, you can try to get away with it and say for instance:

Esse é que é, sem dúvida, a verdadeira questão.

rather than:

Esse é que é, sem dúvida, ... essa é que é a verdadeira questão.

But it's still much more likely than not that the error will stand out.

  • Great answer, this really clears it up, thanks. Is it common for a native to make such a mistake and thus have to correct themselves, or would it become clear that someone is a learner based on such mistakes? – Mr Chasi Feb 4 '16 at 9:29
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    @MrChasi If you see an agreement error, it's much more likely the speaker changed his mind midway than he didn't know the gender. Confusion about the gender of a word is rather rare. It happens only with some words that end with a but are actually masculine (for instance grama, apótema), some foreign words and some words describing a person where the biological sex doesn't match the grammatical gender (testemunha, personagem, ...). – Artefacto Feb 4 '16 at 10:47
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Very simple.

  • "Eu gosto da tuaaaa... digo, do teu modo."

  • "Isso não é a minhaaa...digo, o meu estilo."

or simply

  • "Eu não gosto da tuaaaa... do teu modo".
  • "Isso não é a minhaaaa... o meu estilo".

A brief pause between the wrong and the right determiners does the trick. That's what I would do anyway.

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