Queria saber se sempre podemos substitur como por como é que?

Pelos casos que eu vi me pareceu que sim.

Por exemplo:

Como os ladrões entraram?

Como é que os ladrões entraram?


1 Answer 1


Oie! "Como" and "como é que" are usually interchangeable, so I am just going to talk about how the nuances they have sound. The biggest difference for me is that one flows better in speech, the other flows better in text. Literally speaking, in this case:

Como é que... = How is it that... (the thieves came in/entered?) / How (did the thieves come in/enter?)

Como... = How (did the thieves come in/enter?)

The first one (Como é que...) can mean both just a general question of the method (how did they do it? what was the method?), but it also has a possible nuance which is usually to reflect how the speaker is shocked/surprised over the action, since it is something unlikely/hard/impossible to happen, so it could translate to something akin to: "How IS IT that the thieves came in?" Just like in English, you could be asking for the method using that questioning, but it also can be used to emphasize your shock over something that probably shouldn't have easily/naturally happened. You don't know how something like that could ever have happened, so you express that.

The second one (Como...) can also be used for both of those meanings, but, when you plainly use it, it is pretty basic: "How". It is literally just asking the method usually, but can use your tone/stress to try and give it a feel of the "How is it that..." nuance. Think of it as when you are texting and use 'How' in capslock. It is to express shock/surprise.

So far, you can see that they pretty much are interchangeable, given the proper tone/stress/context.

Now, when we talk about the conversational aspect, this can vary. For instance, when reading a book, I'd expect to see "Como" more often due to the fact it is I'd say more formal, but when people speak in the same book, I'd say "Como é que" may sound better. "Como é que" flows a lot better in speech, though, even if it is more colloquial. Personally, "Como é que" is also softer sounding, which can make the conversation more amicable. "Como" in speech is not wrong, but it can be a bit rough.

My answer is they are interchangeable, although the nuance may change depending on the tone spoken and the context, but most people will understand what you mean :) Essentially, the difference is microscopical.

I'm a native, but I may be a bit off in some remarks, so don't be afraid to look up on more information to corroborate the nuances.

  • 1
    I had the same idea, but I started to put them at the same situations, and, for me, they were equally, with the exception of formality. About the "rough", I think it's because of formality. I am not disagreeing with you, by the way, I just think that the difference only appears at two situations: formality and when we think about difference.
    – user4788
    Aug 11, 2020 at 7:04

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