In this post we’re going to learn the difference between the verbs achar and pensar.
It’s common for students to mix up these two verbs, as they can both be translated as to think, but achar and pensar are not interchangeable.
Let’s start with the verb achar
👉The verb achar means to find, as in to find something you had previously lost:
– Achei as minhas chaves! I found my keys!
👉The verb achar is also the most commonly used verb to express a personal opinion, so here it can be translated as to think.
– Você acha que vai chover? / Do you think it’s going to rain?
– Acho que sim. / I think so.
– Acho que não. / I don’t think so.
👉 When asking for someone’s first impression of something, something they are eating, or something they are seeing, we normally use the preterite (simple past), of the verb achar.
– O que você achou dessa camisa? / What do you think of this shirt? (Lit. What did you think of this shirt?)
Now let’s have a look at the verb pensar:
👉The verb pensar means to think, but it refers more to the process of thinking:
– Vamos jantar fora amanhã? / Let’s have dinner out tomorrow?
– Ah, não sei… Vou pensar! / Ah, I don’t know… I’ll think (about it)!
– O que você tá fazendo?/ What are you doing?
– Tô pensando em você. / I’m thinking about you.
👉Because pensar refers more to the process of thinking, it is not normally used to ask someone about their ‘impression about something’, but rather an informed, considered opinion about a particular subject.
– O que você pensa sobre a politica externa do Brasil? / What do you think about Brazil’s foreign policy? (As in, what are your thoughts, what is your considered opinion about it?)
Now you know the difference between achar and pensar, why not learn about some other important verbs: