The difference between ‘a gente’, ‘agente’ and ‘gente’

A gente can be used as a substitute for nós (‘we’) in informal situations.

It’s extremely common but it’s not often mentioned in Brazilian Portuguese textbooks or grammar books because a gente, grammatically, is not considered a personal pronoun.

For example,  the sentence: “We speak Portuguese.” can be said either
Nós falamos português.
A gente fala português.

** Note that, grammatically, it takes the same conjugation of você, ele, ela.
If we were to include it in the conjugation chart it would look like this:

Você / Ele / Ela
A gente
Vocês / Eles / Elas

Check out the video at the end of the post – It’s a very popular song from the Eighties that uses a gente in its lyrics.

Agente Secreto (Secret Agent)

picture of an agent to illustrate post about Brazilian Portuguese expressions a gente and agenteA gente is more common in colloquial spoken Portuguese, but when you write it down make sure you write a gente and *notagente, which means ‘agent’.


Now let’s have a look at some meanings of the word gente:

  • people, folk

Tem gente que não gosta de ir ao cinema. / There are people who don’t like going to the cinema.

* You can also say pessoas for “people”:

Tem pessoas que não gostam de ir ao cinema.There are people who don’t like going to the cinema.

  • The inhabitants of a region, country, population.

 gente do campo  / country people

  • group of people with same interests, congregation, community.

gente do mundo de negócios / business people

  • family/folks

A minha gente veio de longe. / My folks came from afar.

  • ‘guys’ – used to catch the attention of a group of people

Gente, vamos se não vamos chegar atrasados! / Guys, let’s go or we’re going to be late!

The word gente can also be used as an interjection, expressing astonishment, surprise (good or bad):

Gente! What is this?  / Gosh! What is this?
Gente! Que complicado! / Gosh! How complicated! 

Some expressions with ‘gente’

(source: uol dictionary)

falam como gente grande: they talk like grown-ups
gente de bem: honest people, persons of rank
muita gente: many people
gente do mar: sailors, mariners
também ser gente: to have the same rights
gente de trabalho: work people 
gente rica: well-off people
tem gente chamando: there is somebody calling 
trabalhar como gente grande: to work like hell

Song: O Nosso A Gente Inventa










O Nosso Amor A Gente Inventa
O teu amor é uma mentira
Que a minha vaidade quer
E o meu, poesia de cego
Você não pode ver
Não pode ver que no meu mundo
Um troço qualquer morreu
Num corte lento e profundo
Entre você e eu
O nosso amor a gente inventa
Pra se distrair
E quando acaba a gente pensa
Que ele nunca existiu
O nosso amor a gente inventa, inventa
O nosso amor a gente inventa
Te ver não é mais tão bacana
Quanto a semana passada
Você nem arrumou a cama
Parece que fugiu de casa
Mas ficou tudo fora de lugar
Café sem açúcar, dança sem par
Você podia ao menos me contar
Uma história romântica
O nosso amor a gente inventa
Pra se distrair
E quando acaba a gente pensa
Que ele nunca existiu
We Create Our Love
Your love is a lie
That my vanity longs for
And mine is poetry for the blind
You can’t see it
You can’t see that in my world
Something died
In a slow, deep cut
Between you and me
We create our love
to entertain ourselves
And when it’s over we think
That it never existed
We create our love, we do
We create our love
Seeing you is not so cool anymore
Like it was last week
You didn’t even make your bed
It feels like you ran away from home
But everything is out of place now
Coffee without sugar, dance without a date
You could at least have told me
A romantic story
We create our love
To entertain ourselves
And when it’s over we think
It never existed


6 thoughts on “The difference between ‘a gente’, ‘agente’ and ‘gente’”

  1. eneida serrano

    Parabéns pelo blog, tão trabalhoso e criativo. Mostra o verdadeiro prazer das palavras! I’ve been teaching, learning and having fun! Obrigada, abs Eneida

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top