Só – Alone, By Itself, Only or But
The word só can be expressed in a few ways. As an adjective, it can take on the meaning of ‘solitary, without company or social circle’ as well as ‘isolated, unique’ and even ‘without a partner, single’. As an adverb, it turns into an adverb of exclusion. I will give examples of each in the order I mentioned them. As an added mention, I will give an example of the usage of ‘but’, which is usually followed by the word ‘que‘.
Ex. Foi ficando um homem só entre os colegas.
Ex. There was only one man among the colleagues.
Ex. Era uma casa só naquele monte.
Ex. There was one house by itself on that mountain.
Ex. Uma mulher só é sempre mais livre.
Ex. A single woman is always more free.
Ex. Contava só com ele.
Ex. He was the only one to be counted on.
Ex. Eu quero, só que não posso.
Ex. I want to, but I can’t.
Sozinho – Alone, Unaccompanied, Abandoned or Without Anyone’s Help
Note the diminutive form (-zinho) of só, which actually acts as an augmentation of aloneness.
Ex. Ele foi sozinho.
Ex. He went alone/by himself.
Ex. Ela conseguiu, sozinho, acabar a tarefa.
Ex. She managed, alone, to finish the task.
Sós – Plural of só
With sós, the possibility exists to place an ‘a’ before the adjective (a sós), which gives it the meaning of sozinho (alone), yet still in its plural sense.
Ex. Estamos sós agora.
Ex. We are alone now or We are by ourselves now.
Ex. Estamos a sós agora.
Ex. We are alone now.
With the expression below, it is important to note that the English version employs “alone” while the Portuguese version (lit. ‘leave me in peace’) does not.
Me deixe em paz!
Leave me alone!