Suppose there is some noun I dislike. In English, I could say:

[Something] is trash.

Since 'trash' is an uncountable noun, we do not have an article. We do not say:

[Something] is a trash.

But in Portuguese, Google translate shows as there should be an article:

[Something] é um lixo.

So is that correct, or could I say:

[Something] é lixo.

Which is correct in Portuguese?

1 Answer 1


Yes, in Portuguese you usually use the indefinite article "a" ("um") with "trash" ("lixo") when you mean that something is useless, despicable or of bad quality.

If you omit the article, then the sentence has typically a neutral, descriptive sense, instead of a deprecatory one. For instance:

O que faço com essa lanterna?
[What do I do with this flashlight?]

  1. É lixo, quebrou faz um tempo, joga fora.
    [It's (just) trash, it broke some time ago, throw it away.]

  2. Ela é um lixo/uma merda, joga essa porcaria fora.
    [It's trash/shit, throw this crap away.]

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