Paraty is one of my favorite cities in Brazil. It’s an old, colonial city that makes you feel you are traveling back in time.
Today we’ll do both, practice making questions in English at the same time we learn a little about this picturesque town.
Read the questions and answers below and notice the verb tense and kind of question. Is it a yes/no question? a wh-question? is it in the present, past tense? is it in the active or passive voice?
How long were you in Paraty? (simple past with “be”)
I spent a whole week there.
Where did you stay? (simple past)
I stayed in a Posada run by Doña Martha, an Argentinean lady who fell in love with the city and decided to move there and start a business. Her breakfasts are delicious!
Had you been to Paraty before? (past perfect)
No, I hand’t. It was my first time in that city.
Why are all the houses painted white? (simple present with “be”)
Because there was a law that said all the houses had to be painted white.
What happened to the people who didn’t follow the law? (simple past, subject question, that’s why there are no auxiliary verbs like “do” or “does”)
They were fined.
Is this law enforced in the present? (simple present, passive voice)
The historic center was named UNESCO heritage, which means home owners can’t change the structure or color of the construction.
What are those symbols? (simple present with “be”)
They are masonry symbols.
Why do the houses have many doors? (simple present)
For easy access.
Can the doors be changed into windows? (simple present with modals, passive voice)
Yes, they can. Some people wanted to convert the doors into windows, so the government allowed them to make the change provided that they show the new window used to be a door. As you can see in the picture below (on the right), those two yellow lines that go down to the floor signal that that window used to be a door.
Who lives here? (simple present, subject question, that’s why there are no auxiliary verbs like “do” or “does”)
Prince John does.
Whose house is that? (simple present, question using a possessive pronoun)
What’s this church called? (simple present, passive voice)
It’s called Santa Rita, it’s the oldest church in Paraty. You can find a museum of the catholic church inside.
What activities can I do in Paraty? (simple present with modal verb)
You can go Kayaking, take a walking tour downtown, go on a boat tour, go shopping (there are very nice clothes, especially for women), go to bars, restaurants, go on a cachaça tour and much more!
Why are there so many pink boats? (simple present with “be”)
According to my tour guide, the first gay elected mayor in Paraty painted his boat pink, then everybody started doing it.
What’s Paraty’s signature drink? (simple present with “be”)
Paraty’s signature drink is called Gabriela, which unlike the regular cachaça, contains clove and cinnamon. Gabriela is what is used to prepare Jorge Amado, a Brazilian caipirinha with passion fruit and lime juice, my favorite!
(question I asked my tour guide) How long have you been doing the cachaça tour? (present perfect continuous)
“I’ve been doing it for a year, it’s a new project. I noticed nobody was doing it and thought, would people be interested in a cachaça tour led by a local”? This town is known for producing the best cachaça in Brazil, so a cachaça tour made a lot of sense.
When did Paraty become known? (simple past)
Paraty became known when the locals started growing sugar cane in the region. Later on, after the discovery of the world’s richest gold mines in 1696 in the mountains of Minas Gerais, Paraty became an export port for gold to Rio de Janeiro and from there on to Portugal.