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A database of selected, reviewed, tested, assessed and validated e-learning based language teaching sources addressed to Higher education students for the learning of 18 different European languages.

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Quiz / The use of personal pronouns with the verbs

Date of Publication


Target Group


Domain Area

Business & Communication
Teacher Education

Learning Scenario

Autonomous learning
Classroom Context

Target Language


Language of Instruction


CEFR level


Type of Material


Linguistic Features





This resource was made available by a Portuguese daily newspaper, Jornal de Notícias, and it focuses on structural aspects of the Portuguese language, specifically on the use of pronouns with the verbs and their position when replacing nouns (either with the function of subject or object). It is a quiz, using rather simple questions and displaying different options. It is suitable for learners with a B1 level in Portuguese (if learning the language as a foreign language) or for students (with Portuguese as the mother tongue) who need to improve their writing when it comes to the correct use of the pronouns. Normally, students who are native Portuguese speakers make mistakes in the use of personal pronouns with the verbs. Technical language in areas such as Law, Journalism and Multimedia, and Teacher Education language accuracy is central. So, this resource could assist the teacher as he/she would provide their students with such exercise, adapting it and creating other more complex examples, depending on the level of the students. The students can also use this resource autonomously.

Case study

This resource was tested with a group of 35 Law students (BA in Solicitorship) in the course unit technical Portuguese. As it is commonly known, legal language is one of the most hermetic languages for laypeople. Besides dealing with the analysis of some legal texts, it is also part of the syllabus to study and practise the use of Portuguese regarding vocabulary and grammar. So, this exercise fitted in perfectly for the purposes of the subject. On the one hand, it focuses on the use of pronouns and, on the other, it is a good motivating source for students as they can practise the language in a more engaging and interactive way. After being presented with some examples in which they had to replace the noun with a pronoun, students were then asked to move on to this website where they could practise more of this. Students were also given a score after finishing the exercise. Warmed-up within this topic, students were asked to write their own examples of sentences where they replaced the nouns with pronouns in different positions in the sentence. Students really enjoyed doing this exercise online as it was a different approach to doing exercises and at the same time to learning. Even though this seems to be a rather basic and simple exercise, it can get complex in law language, and students need to have a command of the language, grammatically speaking. As Portuguese native speakers they still make a lot of mistakes in this specific area.


1. Elicit from the students the role of a pronoun in a sentence.
2. By providing students with examples of pronominal conjugation (clitic or reflexive pronouns), ask them to write two or three sentences where the direct or indirect object can be replaced with a pronoun, and make as many replacements as possible: e.g. “O João comeu o bolo” (“O João comeu-o”); “A Catarina deu um presente
à mãe” “A Catarina deu-lhe um presente”; “A Catarina deu-o à mãe”; “A Catarina deu-lho”.
3. Give students examples of more complex sentences, where the clitic can have different syntactical functions, depending on the word the pronoun is replacing and on the verb tense: eg. Before the verb (enclisis), after the verb (proclisis), in the middle of the verb (mesoclysis).
4. As a more interactive way of practising this particular subject, ask students to answer the quiz aforementioned.
5. Follow-up: give students a small text where they have to replace all the nouns with personal pronouns, making the changes also according to the verb tense.


Comprehensive approach
Capacity to match the needs of lecturers and students


Added value
The provided tangible improvements


Motivation enhancement
The capacity to motivate students to improve their language skills


Effectiveness in introducing innovative, creative and previously unknown approaches to LSP learning


Measurement of the transferable potential and possibility to be a source of further capitalisation/application for other language projects in different countries


Skills assessment and validation
Availability of appropriate tools for lecturers to monitor students’ progress and for students to assess own progress and to reflect on learning


Flexibility of the contents and possibilities for the LSP lecturers to adapt the contents to their and to students’ need


Assess the technical usability from the point of view of the lecturer and the student


Assess the accessibility from the point of view of the lecturer and the student


The resource is easily accessible online and it is also easy to use and adapt to several contexts starting from B1 level. It can be used in a more LSP context but also within teaching Portuguese as a foreign language. Non-native speakers can use it if they have at least level B1. Even though the language is simple, some structures might have some complexity level. This resource can highly motivate the students/learners as they are given immediate feedback on their answers.
Website of the Teaching Source: