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The verb "será" is used to denote something that will happen in the future like in the following examples:

  • Ele será um menino alto.
  • Ela será uma médica.
  • Ele será astronauta quando crescer?

I think that the best translation for this is "will be", like "It will be a tall boy." and so on.

However, it's not uncommon see this verb in questions without a future meaning, like in these examples:

  • Será que estou fazendo algo errado?
  • Será que ele fez isso mesmo?
  • Será que ele é mecânico?

If I use Google Translate for example and put the first example for a Portuguese->English translate I get "Am I doing something wrong?" that's the same for "Estou fazendo algo errado?"

So, what's the rule for this verb in questions?

  • 2
    To me, it's not quite the same; "Será que estou fazendo algo errado?" sounds more rhetorical/inquisitive (I know they're opposites, but it depends on the tone) than "Estou fazendo algo errado?". – someonewithpc Jul 16 '15 at 14:46
8

The simple future can also be used to indicate probability. This is different from something which we know is yet to occur. Translating loosely:

  • Maria terá uns vinte amigos que já conhecem o seu marido.

Could be taken as any of:

  • Maria’s probably got twenty friends who already know her husband.
  • Maria has to have some twenty friends who already know her husband.
  • Maria must have like twenty friends who already know her husband.

Using the future to indicate probability happens in English, too, like when the doorbell rings and somebody says “That’ll be the pizza.”

For questions that begin with Será que, it’s a conjecture like starting with “might” or “do you think/suppose” in English.

  • Será que vai chover?

would be something like:

  • Might it rain?
  • Do you suppose it will rain?
  • Do you think maybe it’ll rain?
  • Think it’s gonna rain?

Sometimes when the next verb is in the past, it can start with Seria que, although it doesn’t have to:

  • Será que eles já conheciam o seu marido de antemão?
  • Seria que eles já conheciam o seu marido de antemão?

Might work out to:

  • Perhaps they already knew her husband before?
  • Do you think they already knew her husband from before?
  • Could they already know her husband from before?
  • Could it be that they already knew her husband beforehand?

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