Portuguese Grammar Reference ("QuickGrammar")
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>>Portuguese Nouns > Irregular Nouns > Nasal Endings (-ã, -ão and -m)
The most common noun endings are somewhat straight-forward, and some of them even give away the gender of the noun. Many nouns, however, end in a nasal sound. These nouns typically have an irregular plural.
Nouns that end in an -m do not add the expected -es in the plural, but change the -m to -ns. O homem the man has the corresponding plural os homens the men.
Nouns that end in an -ã simply add an -s in the plural. A manhã the morning has the corresponding plural as manhãs the mornings. There are only a few nouns that have this ending.
A final -ão represents the majority of nasal endings on nouns. A noun ending in -ão is difficult to put into the plural because there is no easy rule to summarize which plural endings belong to which -ão nouns.
Most nouns ending in -ão have a plural in -ões. This is true of every noun ending in -ção or -são (always feminine in gender), the Portuguese equivalent of -tion and -sion. The plural of situação situation is situações situations, and the plural of expressão expression is expressões expressions.
Some nouns ending in -ão have a plural in -ães. The masculine word pão bread has the plural pães breads, and the masculine cão dog has the plural cães dogs (although the regular noun cachorro dog is used in Brazil).
Some nouns ending in -ão have a plural in -ãos. The feminine word mão hand has the plural mãos hands.
Please note that nouns ending in -ãe in the singular have a regular plural in -ães. The feminine word mãe mother has the plural mães mothers.
The articles remain the same with these irregular nouns, and the interaction between the article and the noun does not change.