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Maybe this is too simple of a question, and I might already know the answer, but I would like input from native speakers to make sure.

I'm learning Portuguese (specifically Brazilian), and I'm wondering how I might distinguish easily what someone means in conversation if they say something like “Eu vou sair de férias na quinta”. To me, it sounds like na quinta could mean either “on Thursday” or “on the fifth (of the month)”.

My first thought, and perhaps this is the answer, is that o quinto is short for “the fifth day”, which would be “o quinto dia”, so maybe you would say no quinto instead of na quinta. Is that right? Can I expect that weekdays will be feminine and days of the month will be masculine?

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In the example you provided ("Eu vou sair de férias na quinta"), "na quinta" means "on Thursday". In this case, "quinta" is a short way of saying "quinta-feira", which is the full name of this weekday.

Weekdays are feminine, except for Sunday and Saturday. So you could say "eu vou sair de férias..."

  • na segunda: on Monday
  • na terça: on Tuesday
  • na quarta: on Wednesday
  • na quinta: on Thursday
  • na sexta: on Friday
  • no sábado: on Saturday
  • no domingo: on Sunday

This kind of conversation is very common:

-Quando é a festa? (When is the party?)

-Na quinta (On Thursday)


If you want to say "on [Month], 5th", the most common way is "no dia cinco":

Eu vou sair de férias no dia cinco.

It means I'm going on vacations on the next 5th:

  • if today is from 1st to 4th, it means 5th of this month
  • if today is after 5th, it means the 5th of the next month

You can also say "no dia cinco de [month name]" if you want to specify the month.

As a general rule, you can always say "no dia [number]". So, "no dia vinte e cinco" means "on 25th".

The only exception is the first day of the month: in Brazil, we say "primeiro" (first) instead of "um" (one) - so "no dia primeiro" is "on 1st". And the month can always be omitted, following the rule described above.

Notes:

  • as Jacinto commented, in Portugal they say "no dia um". You can also use this in Brazil - and be perfectly understood - but "no dia primeiro" is much more common. I also don't know if this applies to all places in Brazil - it wouldn't be a surprise if "no dia um" is more used in some region, although I'm not aware of a region where this happens.
  • it's also possible to omit "no", so instead of saying "Vou sair de férias no dia 5", you could say "Vou sair de férias dia 5" - this is, in my opinion, more informal, and I also suspect that's grammatically incorrect (although very common in conversations).

Saying "no quinto" would sound strange in this context. A situation where you could say "no quinto dia" (on the fifth day):

  • if you are planning a trip and wondering what you'll do on the fourth and fifth day of the trip, you could say:

No quarto dia (da viagem) vou fazer X, e no quinto farei Y

On the fourth day (of the trip) I'll do X, on the fifth, I'll do Y

In this case, I could use just "no quinto" (on the fifth), because the word "dia" (day) is implicit - because it was already mentioned before in the sentence.

Note that it refers to the fifth day of the trip, and not necessarily to the 5th of the month.


PS: you can use "na quinta" with a different meaning in situations like this:

I'm trying to do something and it worked just after 5 attempts. You could say:

As primeiras quatro tentativas não deram certo, mas funcionou na quinta.

The first four attempts didn't work, but the fifth did.

It means that it worked in the fifth attempt. In this case, "quinta" isn't the weekday, it's specifying the attempt that worked.

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    This is also valid for Portugal, with an execption: we make no exception for the first of the month; it's still no dia um. – Jacinto May 15 '17 at 17:48
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    @Jacinto Actually in Brazil you can also say "no dia um", but "no dia primeiro" is much more common. I'm gonna update the answer – user1798 May 15 '17 at 18:10
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    Here we can also ommit no dia, but in this case we use a rather than em and usually include the month: e.g. chego a 20 de maio or chego no dia 20 (de maio). – Jacinto May 15 '17 at 18:14
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    Answer updated. And I usually say "chego dia 20 (de maio)" - without "no", very informal, IMO - or "chego no dia 20 (de maio)". I never used "chego a ..." Sometimes I wish we had few ways to say the same things, I imagine how hard it must be to non-native speakers to learn it... – user1798 May 15 '17 at 18:58
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    We say chego dia 20 too. – Jacinto May 15 '17 at 19:29
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It is very simple to answer: In Portuguese (Pt_Br), it is not common to say: Eu vou sair de férias no quinto dia. You will say: Eu vou sair de férias no dia cinco. It is a little different than in English.

As you already comment, another way to distinguish is observing the article before the day. Eu vou sair na quinta (feira). In this case, it is a feminine article.

If you say the fifth day of the month, it will be a masculine article. Eu vou sair no quinto (dia).

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    ninguém fala eu vou sair no quinto, principalmente pois faz soar como uma construção específica "no quinto dos infernos". – André Lyra May 16 '17 at 13:45
  • Como eu não conheço como fala todos os paises de lingua portuguesa, não quis arriscar dizendo que ninguém fala de tal maneira. Mas sim, acredito que ninguém fale isso. – Peixoto May 16 '17 at 14:20
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Nunca se usa "no quinto" para referir o dia do mês.

Por norma quando se diz "na quinta" (ou outro dia da semana) sem mais contexto assume-se que se está a falar do dia da semana.

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