If you explain it means "depois de tantos acontecimentos", one who is learning Portuguese as a foreign language may come up with "a essa altura do campeonato o povo acaba/acabou ficando anestesiado" or, worse, "a essa altura do campeonato eu nem vou trabalhar amanhã". Then again, if you say it means "tarde demais", you may hear them say something like "Eu cheguei a essa altura do campeonato" or "Encontrar às 11 da noite? Para mim é a essa altura do campeonato."

To explain that "a essa altura do campeonato" means "depois de tantos acontecimentos" or "tarde demais" is an easy task. However, how can we explain its usage?

EDIT In addition to definition and examples, the answer I'm looking for should explain usage. Something like "use it if the context is such..." and "don't use it if the context simply..."

EDIT II Not everyone seems to understand what I'm looking for. The answer to my question must include definition of "a essa altura do campeonato", example sentences and. most important, why one uses it, what's the implied mood? (surprise? anger? hopelessness? none of these?)

  • Eu cheguei a essa altura do campeonta means tarde demais??
    – Lambie
    Jan 8 '17 at 18:50
  • @Lambie Those are wrong uses of "a essa altura do campeonato" as examples of what a student might come up with if his teacher only tells him that the idiom means (as it really does) "tarde demais" or "depois de tantos acontecimentos".
    – Centaurus
    Jan 8 '17 at 19:24
  • I think you should provide sentences in Portuguese instead of trying to tell us how to translate it. I gave three examples in my answer, they are all correct. It doesn't necessarily mean: depois de tantos acontecimentos. It can refer to any process. And it means: this/that point in time OR at this stage of the game.
    – Lambie
    Jan 8 '17 at 22:27
  • @Lambie The answer to my question must include definition of "a essa altura do campeonato", example sentences and. most important, why one uses it, what's the implied connotation? (surprise? anger? hopelessness? none of these?)
    – Centaurus
    Jan 8 '17 at 23:34
  • 1
    No, it is not right. Educational materials are books, handouts, tapes, programs, whatever. But, estudar uma matéria na escola is to study a subject in school. Not a material. É falso amigo. Acho que não tem jeito de tirar o gato do poço. Até logo.
    – Lambie
    Jan 9 '17 at 22:30

I love explaining topics to students by providing some examples, show your friend some examples so that they will get it easier. I know how hard it is to try to learn a language by single words, it sucks. I get it much easier by seeing an example than being taught by a professional.

Here are some examples that I made up of conversations including that expression:

  • Philip: Hey, bro! How is life going?

  • You: It is falling apart!

  • Philip: Why?? Have you lost your job?

  • You: No, worse! My girlfriend and I have recently argued and she decided to move to Italy. I love her so much, I wish she were here.

  • Philip: So, why don't you go there and bring her back? You have a car, maybe you still reach her!

  • You: Nah! A essa altura do campeonato, she must be about 1000 KMs away from here.

  • Philip: It's never too late!

  • Giving examples is sure to make it easier.
    – Centaurus
    Jan 8 '17 at 11:31
  • There are some unidiomatic things here....just saying. Also, I don't see any explanations and why mix the two languages? How does that explain the expression?
    – Lambie
    Jan 8 '17 at 19:00
  • That's a good example but you don't explain when the idiom can be used and why it fits your example but not mine.
    – Centaurus
    Jan 8 '17 at 19:39
  • It can be used in any situation, according to the example I gave. You could explain to him that A essa altura do campeonato means "by now" . Show him these examples, but replace the part where I said: Nah! A essa altura do campeonato she must be.. for: Nah! By now she must be.. so that your friend will know where it is used. It can replace the "by now", so when your friend is confused about using the expression, ask him to replace the expression for: by now, if it fits well, then the expression will also work.
    – Davyd
    Jan 8 '17 at 21:21
  • Also, it's most commonly used in tragic or frustrating situations, such as my example.
    – Davyd
    Jan 8 '17 at 21:24

We say in English: at this stage of the game, as a generic expression. We also just use, at this point/at that point or specifically: at this time?

A essa altura do campeonato can be any one of those, depending on context:

For example: 1)A essa altura do campeonato, o nosso namoro terminou. Translation: At this stage of the game, our [girlfriend-boyfriend] relationship ended.

2)A essa altura do campeonato, pedi desculpas e sai de casa. Translation: At that point, I said I was sorry and left the house.

Essas são as dois jeitos mais comuns de usar essa expressão.

3) [uma festa] Você só está chegando agora, cara? A essa altura do campeonato? Translation: Man, you're only getting here now? At this hour?

  • "a essa altura do campeonato" refers to the time you are speaking. If you refer to a past event, you'd use "naquela altura do campeonato" or, not so usual, "àquela altura do campeonato". Also, it doesn't simply mean "at this point in time". You can't simply say "a essa altura do campeonato eles já chegaram no aeroporto" to mean "at this point" unless it has been said that now it's too late to do whatever should have been done.
    – Centaurus
    Jan 8 '17 at 19:37
  • 1
    @Centaurus Claro, pode se no passado também. I said: at this or that point in time, didn't I? A essa altura do campeonato, ele já chegou em casa (falando no presente). At this point in time (in the present), he has already arrived at home.
    – Lambie
    Jan 8 '17 at 22:22
  • I have never heard anybody use "a esta altura do campeonato" in such circumstances, and I don't believe any native portuguese speaker (from Portugal at least) would say it. I would never use "a esta altura do campeonato" to describe an immediate action. Jan 9 '17 at 20:01
  • @proofromthebook "in such circumstances"? What circumstances. I gave three different examples in Portuguese with three correct translations. What is an immediate action anyway?
    – Lambie
    Jan 9 '17 at 20:35
  • @Lambie, esses exemplos que apresentaste soam muito mal em português de Portugal. Talvez em brasileiro seja perfeitamente normal, mas isso já não sei. Jan 9 '17 at 22:00

I tell my students that it means the same as at this point of the race. If the context can be metaphorized as a race, then this expression could be used adequately.

Now, if your students have as many issues with metaphors as mine do, tell them a race is a process that has a start, a finish (that is approaching quickly), and a history. It is too late to give up, so some corners need to be cut in order to achieve the best results available.

  • Well, it's not a race. It's usually a game (as in a championship game).
    – Lambie
    Jan 8 '17 at 19:01
  • Ramon, if I were a non-native speaker your answer wouldn't help me understand the diference between "a essa altura do campeonato", "agora", and "neste exato momento".
    – Centaurus
    Jan 8 '17 at 19:43
  • I've edited the question and tried to make clear what I'm looking for.
    – Centaurus
    Jan 8 '17 at 23:49

The expression conveys either a neutral feeling, when referring to (most usually) a later stage of an implicit period (examples below), or a feeling of resignation (or, less commonly, frustration or even despair) face a situation that can't anymore be changed because it's too late. The best translation then is often by now, by then.

It's a rather informal expression, that's used for emphasis.

Some usage examples:

  • the literal one: "Nessa altura do campeonato o time não tem mais chances de chegar à final."

  • ="in this/that stage/moment": "Nessa altura do campeonato você já deveria ter aprendido isso."; "Naquela altura do campeonato, eu já não conseguia me aguentar em pé."

  • ="after everything [that happened]": "Nessa altura do campeonato não tenho mais vontade de voltar com ela."

  • ="too late [for doing something]": Nessa altura do campeonato não temos mais como contactá-lo."

  • [Less often] ="at this stage" (any, also early): "Nessa altura do campeonato não dá ainda para saber quem é o culpado."

A situation where its usage is ruled out is when referring to an exact point in time, rather than a stage: "Naquela altura do campeonato ela abriu a porta." is unlikely to work in most natural contexts.


I don't think it's best to start by translating it into each different context. Instead, you can explain that it's an emphatic expression that more literally means "now", that is, "at this present time" or "in this current situation". Then, you can explain the contexts where it tends to be used, and the nuances of what it's understood to mean in those contexts.

To give a parallel example (because I'm not super familiar with that phrase), you could teach "muito" as having different meanings of "a lot" and "too much". (That's what ordinary dictionaries do.) But I prefer the explanation that while still having the meaning "a lot", it can have a connotation of "too much", just like an emphasized "A LOT!" can.

  • I've edited the question and tried to make clear what I'm looking for.
    – Centaurus
    Jan 8 '17 at 23:49

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