O que? vs. que?

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Quasus
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O que? vs. que?

Postby Quasus » 2013-09-17, 22:01

My interest in the European variety of Portuguese.

As far as I understand, when asking for the direct complement, the interrogative is o que? However, from time to time I come across simple que in my textbook, e. g. que fazes? que deseja? (even though on another page I see o que faz a rapariga?

I wonder what is the difference between o que and que, if any.

Thanks in advance.

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Psi-Lord
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Re: O que? vs. que?

Postby Psi-Lord » 2013-09-17, 22:19

In short, if my memory serves me right…

Historically, the interrogative was just que, but the non-interrogative formula o que was carried over to interrogative contexts, ‘contaminating’ it. It happened a long time ago, so that interrogative o que appears even in classic authors, and I daresay it’s far more common in all varieties of everyday Modern Portuguese than simple que. Yet, many grammarians and purists do not approve of such usage and still (try to) draw a distinction between both forms.

That said, there are no strict differences between them, except for personal preference and style.
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Quasus
Posts: 45
Joined: 2011-11-01, 16:49
Gender: male

Re: O que? vs. que?

Postby Quasus » 2013-09-18, 7:40

Thanks, Psi-Lord, this makes perfect sense. :)


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