In this post, you will learn the difference between the verbs “jogar” and brincar” – they both mean “to play”, but they are used in different contexts.
Let’s start with the verb jogar
The verb jogar means to play, as in to take part in a game, where the main objective is to win. For example:
jogar futebol / to play football
Você gosta de jogar futebol? / Do you like playing football?
jogar xadrez / to play chess
Vamos jogar xadrez? / Shall we play chess?
jogar videogame / to play videogames
Ontem joguei videogame o dia inteiro. / Yesterday, I played videogames all day.
The verb jogar means to throw
Vou jogar essa bola pra você! / I’m going to throw this ball to you!
and to throw away
Vou jogar fora essa guitarra! / I’m going to throw away this guitar!
Let’s see two very common expressions with the verb jogar:
jogar conversa fora / to chat; to make small talk
Às vezes, eu gosto de jogar conversa fora. / Sometimes I like making small talk.
jogar tudo pro alto / jogar tudo pra cima / to drop everything; to stop doing something
Ontem, quase joguei tudo pro alto! / Yesterday, I almost dropped everything!
Now, let’s start move onto the verb brincar
The verb brincar can also be translated as to play, but it’s used in relation to toys and children’s play For example:
brincar de casinha / to play doll
Elas estão brincando de casinha / They are playing house.
brincar de carrinho / to play (with) toy cars
Eu gostava de brincar de carrinho. / I used to like playing (with) toy cars
brincar de esconde-esconde / to play hide-and-seek
Vamos brincar de esconde-esconde! / Let’s play hide-and-seek.
Another meaning of the verb brincar is to joke, to jest:
A very common expression with the verb brincar is
brincar com fogo / to play with fire
Quem brinca com fogo acaba se queimando. / If you play with fire, you get burned.
There is another verb that can also be translated as to play, which is tocar, when referring to a musical instrument.
tocar piano / to play the piano
Eu toco piano todos os dias. / I play the piano every day.
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