Grammar / Learning / Vocab

[Vocab] Translations of “Aware”

The easy way to translate aware is just utilizing the verb saber, e.g., I’m aware = Eu sei.  A recent learner of Portuguese could probably get by with this for a year of two without seeing the need to expand their vocabulary.  However, the #1 translation of aware of is most likely ciente de, including others:

  • ESTAR CIENTE DE (to be aware of)
  • ESTAR CONSCIENTE DE (to be aware of)
  • TER/TOMAR CONSCIÊNCIA DE (to be aware of)
  • FICAR CIENTE DE (to become aware of)
  • SABER MUITO BEM; TER PERFEITA/PLENA CONSCIÊNCIA  (to be well aware)
  • Also: ALERTA, ATENTO, INFORMADO, CÔNSCIO, APERCEBER, DAR CONTA, CONHECER, …

Ok, so we have many ways to say “to be aware (of)”, and you’ll find all of these are used quite often.  Some things to keep in mind regarding the differences between the words:

  • Ciente is to receive knowledge.
  • Consciente is to internalize knowledge.
  • Consciência also means: conscience, consciousness, and awareness.

I think the best way to work these words into your vocabulary would be to make a flashcard which poses the following:

(FRONT) Translate Aware differently in each:
1) I’m fully aware
2) I’m well aware
3) We must be aware of this.

(BACK) Possible Answers:
1) Estou (totalmente, perfeitamente, plenamente) consciente / Bem sei que… / Sei muito bem / Tenho perfeita consciência (de)
2) Estou bem ciente (de) [any response from (1) would also be acceptable]
3) Temos que estar consciente disso. / Temos de tomar consciência disso. / Temos de sabê-lo.

On second though, this isn’t such a great way to study, but my point is I think it’s good to form distinctions between vocabulary.  Otherwise, there’s a tendency to default back to trusty verbs such as saber or entender.  The flashcard (upon repetition) will ingrain distinctions, albeit somewhat arbitrary, but with experience reading/listening the neural network that is your mind will assign better potentials to each word choice.  Keep in mind that the majority of Brazilians probably couldn’t tell you the difference between ciente and consciente, so don’t analyze things too much in terms of logic, simply try to enforce patterns.

To get a better sense of these “potentials” and “patterns”, let’s look at some example translations I got from Subtitles, COMPARA, and bab.La.  (Give these great websites a test run!)

Then you’re aware of it. = Então tem consciência.
Knowing this/Aware of this, … = Ciente disso, …
I am fully aware that… = Bem sei que…
I am not aware of it. = Não tenho conhecimento disso.
old enough to be aware of = suficientemente crescida para se aperceber de
as far as she was aware = tanto quanto ela sabia
As you are no doubt aware… = Como sem dúvida está informado
being dimly aware = por ter uma vaga consciência de
I then became aware that = depois dei-me conta de que
…you must have been aware. = …deve ter tomado consciência.
I was suddenly aware of… = Senti-me subitamente consciente de
..would become aware only after… = só iam perceber depois que

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