What does the verb APROVEITAR mean?

The verb aproveitar is a very common Portuguese verb, Brazilians use it all the time. But its meaning vary slightly, depending on the context, which generates confusion among learners of Brazilian Portuguese. 

Watch the video below to learn all about the verb aproveitar – and grab pen and paper to a the listening activity as well!

 

The main meaning of the verb aproveitar is:

to make the most of something

– Eu aproveito o meu tempo livre pra estudar português.

 – I make the most of my free time to study Portuguese.

illustration of post bout the verb aproveitar with the meaning 'to make the most of something'.

Let’s see another example:

– Eu aproveitei a minha viagem.

This could be translated as I made the most of my trip. But a better translation would be I enjoyed my trip. So, the verb aproveitar can also sometimes mean to enjoy.

illustration of post bout the verb aproveitar with the meaning 'to make the most of something' and 'to enjoy'.

Let’s see another example with the meaning to enjoy:

Let’s suppose you tell a friend that you’re going to a party this weekend. At the end of the conversation your friend might say:

– Aproveita a festa!

This could be translated as Make the most of the party! but it’s really more like Enjoy the party!

Sometimes, there’s no need to mention the thing you are wishing other people to enjoy, when it’s obvious in the context of the conversation, so you can just say:

– Aproveita!

– Enjoy!

illustration of post bout the verb aproveitar with the meaning 'to make the most of something' and to enjoy

These two meaning of the verb aproveitar to make the most of something and to enjoy – have positive connotations.

But aproveitar has a third meaning: to take advantage of something or someone for personal gain  – so this normally has a negative connotation

When used with this meaning you will need to add the reflexive pronoun before the verb and the preposition de:

Let’s see an example:

– Ele se aproveitou da generosidade dela.

– He took advantage of her generosity.

illustration of post bout the verb aproveitar with the meaning 'to take advantage of something or someone for personal gain'.

For the conjugation of the verb aproveitar in all tenses, click here.

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