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Sound Like a Brazilian: The Top 10 Portuguese Filler Words

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No language would be complete without its unique quirks and imperfections—like all of those small, seemingly meaningless words and sounds you hear in conversations! Yes, we’re talking about filler words. They may be unnecessary, but they’re definitely present in everyday conversations and other forms of speech. 

Portuguese filler words vary immensely between countries, so that even native speakers from Europe have difficulty understanding the Brazilian counterparts of their everyday fillers (and vice-versa). But after reading this handy guide, you’ll be able to understand and use filler words in Portuguese yourself!

As you can probably imagine, filler words get a lot of hate. Some think they’re grammatical crutches used specially by younger generations. Others think they just sound ugly. But who has never been thankful for fillers when they needed to buy some time to find what to say next? 

Learning about Portuguese filler words is important, regardless of whether you like them or loathe them. After all, you’re going to encounter them often in your conversations with native Portuguese speakers. But before you get too excited, remember that you shouldn’t rely too much on them either. So be open to learning them, but also understand how to substitute them when needed.

In this article, you’ll learn the top 10 most commonly used filler words in Portuguese, their meaning, and when to use them. We’ll also provide you with examples and alternatives so you can learn to sound like a Brazilian—without becoming a filler word machine.

A Group of Four Friends Chatting and Having Coffee Beverages

Out with Portuguese speakers? Prepare to hear many filler words!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Why do we use filler words?
  2. The Top 10 Portuguese Filler Words
  3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words
  4. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. Why do we use filler words? 

Filler words are used in spoken conversation to indicate a pause—maybe to think, maybe to look for the right words—while also letting the other party know that the speaker hasn’t finished talking yet. Keep in mind that fillers can be words or sounds. In either case, fillers don’t add meaning to the sentence. 

One thing you might notice, however, is that some people use filler words excessively. In these cases, the fillers are not used to indicate a pause but rather as a crutch or an automatic tic that interrupts the flow of speech. When that happens, it’s almost impossible not to notice them and the speaker risks annoying those who are listening. 

Putting it all together, why do we use filler words, then?

  1. To indicate hesitation. In other words, to buy ourselves time to think when speaking.
  2. To help manage the flow of discourse. They act almost like punctuation marks for speech.
  3. To emphasize ideas. They bring more attention to what has just been said or what is about to be said.
  4. To approach a certain topic more gently. In this case, they’re used at the beginning of a sentence to make it sound less harsh.

You might also notice that there are differences between the filler words used by younger generations versus older generations. Some say it’s a problem with the younger ones, that they’re “destroying” the language by employing so many filler words… But the truth is that each generation has its own fillers. 

In Portuguese, for example, older people might often use veja bem (“see”) or ou seja (“in other words,” but meaning “I mean”). Young adults and teenagers, on the other hand, prefer sabe (“you know”) or tipo (“like”).

As we go through the top 10 filler words used today in Brazilian Portuguese, we’ll give you some tips on the context in which they’re used, when to avoid them, and possible alternatives. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to understand and use them with confidence! 


2. The Top 10 Portuguese Filler Words

#1

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Tipo“Type”“Like”

As the holy grail of Portuguese filler words, tipo is as common in Portuguese as “like” is in English. It can be placed at the beginning or in the middle of pretty much any sentence. It’s more commonly (though not exclusively) used by younger generations.

Tipo is used to buy time when speaking, but it can easily become a habit or tic. Language purists would argue that the word should never be used as a filler, that it indicates a lower level of education, and that it makes you sound like a Brazilian version of a “valley girl.”

However, it’s good to remember that languages evolve and that speakers are the makers of language. Using tipo will definitely make you sound more like a native. Just keep in mind the context: If you’re in a job interview or writing a formal message, don’t use it. In informal situations, just be mindful to not overuse it and you’ll be good to go!

You might also see tipo paired with the word assim (“as such”). The resulting expression (tipo assim) is used in the same way as tipo.

Hoje eu andei de bicicleta e, tipo, tô super cansada. (“Today I biked and, like, I’m super tired.”)
Não sei, tipo, eu gosto dele, mas às vezes ele me irrita. (“I don’t know, like, I like him but sometimes he annoys me.”)
Tipo assim, se você não tentar, nunca vai saber. (“Like, if you don’t try, you will never know.”)

#2

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Ééé“Uh”

Maybe you remember that é is the verb “is” in Portuguese. However, as a filler word, it loses this meaning and acts more like a sound that fills a moment of pause. It’s probably the most common filler sound in Brazilian Portuguese. 

This filler is the result of a tendency to prolong the last sound of a word when trying to indicate a pause in speech or when thinking about what to say next. For example:
  • Eu queroooo… cinco pães, por favor. (“I want, uh… five loaves of bread, please.”)
  • Eu vou visitar aaaa… tia Ana hoje. (“I’ll visit, uh… Aunt Ana today.”)
You can use this strategy and/or the filler sound ééé—or even hummm—when searching for words, thinking about your answers, or stalling for a magic solution to drop from the skies (although this is more unlikely).

Éééé… difícil responder essa pergunta. (“Uh… it’s difficult to answer this question.”)
Eu quero, ééé… um café e um pão com manteiga. (“I want, uh… a coffee and one bread with butter.”)

A Woman Pausing to Look Up and Think while Taking Notes

Éééé… como era mesmo? (“Uh… how was it, again?”)

#3

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Bom / Bem“Good” / “Well”“Well”

This filler in Portuguese is commonly used at the beginning of a sentence to indicate hesitation or to buy more time. It’s also used when beginning a somewhat sensitive phrase, as a way of approaching the topic more gently.

You’re more likely to hear bom being used as a filler word in Brazilian Portuguese, while bem is more often used in European Portuguese. 

Bom… Eu não sei o que eu faria na sua situação, mas tenta falar com ele. (“Well… I don’t know what I’d do in your situation, but try to talk to him.”)
Bom… O prato do dia parece uma boa opção. (“Well… The daily dish looks like a good option.”)


#4

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Então“Then”“So”

Então can be used at the beginning of a sentence as an indicator that a previous topic is being approached again. But more often, it doesn’t carry any meaning and is rather used as a filler word out of habit. 

Compared to other Portuguese fillers, it’s not as frowned upon in formal settings. But as a rule of thumb, it’s good to avoid filler words in general when it comes to formal situations, as they can be seen as language crutches. 

A possible substitute for então when it’s used to resume a conversation about a previous topic is como eu disse (“as I said”) or como eu estava dizendo (“as I was saying”).

Então, tenho que te contar o que aconteceu ontem. (“So, I have to tell you what happened yesterday.”)
Então, menina, foi uma briga enorme! (“So, girl, it was a huge fight!”)

A Man Sitting on the Couch and Talking on the Phone with a Remote in His Hand

Então, deixa eu te contar sobre esse filme. (“So, let me tell you about this movie.”)

#5

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Assim“As such” / “This way”“Like” / “So”

In informal conversations, people use assim in two ways:
  • To begin a sentence, stretching the i
  • To manage the flow of sentences, just as the word tipo is used.
It’s also used to smooth things over when starting to approach a delicate topic. It can be pronounced in a way that draws the vowel i out a bit, buying the speaker even more time to think.

As mentioned before, assim can also be paired with the ubiquitous filler word tipo, creating a common filler expression: tipo assim.

Assim, eu não acho que ele tem toda a culpa. (“So, I don’t think he is entirely to blame.”)
Assiiiiim… você acha mesmo que essa viagem é uma boa ideia? (“Sooo… do you really think this trip is a good idea?”)    
Ele chegou tão atrasado que, tipo assim, a festa já tinha terminado. (“He arrived so late that, like, the party was already over.”)
Eu penso que, assim, não faz sentido essa briga. (“I think that, like, this fight makes no sense.”) 

#6

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
E aí“Then”“What’s up”

(“then”) is a common word you’ll hear countless times when a Brazilian is telling a story:

A festa estava indo bem, mas aí ele correu para o palco, e aí tirou o microfone das mãos dela. Aí, todo mundo ficou em silêncio. (“The party was going well, but then he ran to the stage, and then he took the mic off her hands. Then everybody went silent.”)

In the sentence above, you can see that does have a meaning, but it can also be easily overused.

As a filler word, is often paired with e (“and”). When that happens, it can be used in different ways:
  • As “and then”: In the previous example, you can see e aí being used to continue telling what happened.
    • Eles entraram na sala, e aí viram o presente. (“They got into the room and then they saw the gift.”)
  • As “and then?” or “what happened?”: It can be used by itself to ask what happened next.
    • Tive uma entrevista de emprego hoje. (“I had a job interview today.”)
    • E aí? (“And how did it go?”)
  • As “what’s up!”: Used to greet people in an informal way.
    • E aí, tudo bem? (“What’s up, all good?”)
  • “So”: Used just as então, at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence.
    • Eles já acordaram, aí vamos sair em 1 hora. (“They woke up already, so we’ll leave in 1 hour.”)

E aí, prontos para o filme? (“So, ready for the movie?”)
E aí, Luciana! (“What’s up, Luciana?”)

#7

PortugueseLiterally and English Equivalent
Cara / Mano / Meu“Dude” / “Bro” / “Mate”

Imagine you have to tell a juicy piece of gossip to your best friend. A Portuguese speaker might begin the story in one of the following ways, depending on their region:
  • Cara, você não vai acreditar! (“Dude, you won’t believe this!”)
  • Mano, você não vai acreditar! (“Bro, you won’t believe this!”)
  • Meu, você não vai acreditar! (“Mate, you won’t believe this!”)
These words are all variations of “dude,” “bro,” “mate,” or similar words. If you were to talk to people from different areas of Brazil, you might discover many more, like velho/véi (“old man”), rapaz (“man”), mana (“sister”), and more. 

Their placement is not restricted to the beginning of the sentence, though. In informal Portuguese, they can be used in any part of the phrase. As filler words, they don’t add any meaning, but instead help with the flow of the sentence. 

One way you can substitute these words is by using the name of the person you’re talking to. But, again, don’t overdo it: people might be weirded out if you say their name too many times.

Cara, o dia tá lindo! (“Man, the day is beautiful!”)
Doeu muito, mano. (“It hurt a lot, dude.”)
Ela foi lá, meu, e partiu pra briga! (“She went there, mate, and started a fight!”)


One Businessman Whispering Something in the Ear of Another Businessman

Mano, ele colocou a culpa em você, meu. (“Man, he blamed you for it, bro.”)

#8

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
“Isn’t it?”“Right?” / “You know”

is the contraction of não é (“isn’t it”). This filler is commonly used at the end of a sentence, like “right?” would be used in English. But it can also be used almost like a comma in informal spoken Portuguese: 
  • Ele chegou atrasado, né, aí foi um pouco chato. (“He arrived late, you know, so it was a bit annoying.”)
It can also be used to emphasize a negative answer, in which case it means “of course not”: 

A: Você saiu na chuva, mesmo doente? (“You went out in the rain, even though you’re sick?”)
B: Não, né. Eu remarquei o encontro. (“Of course not. I rescheduled the date.”)

Amanhã vamos no shopping, né? (“We’ll go to the mall tomorrow, right?”)
Você assistiu o vídeo que eu te mandei, né? (“You watched the video I sent you, right?”)
Ela sempre quis conhecer a Argentina, né, então foi ótimo. (“She always wanted to go to Argentina, you know, so it was great.”)


#9

PortugueseLiterally and English Equivalent
Sabe“You know”

Used just like the English equivalent, sabe appears at the end of sentences in Portuguese. However, when it’s used as a filler word, the question implied—Você sabe? (“Do you know?”)—is rhetoric. The speaker is not really asking if you know anything specific, it just marks the end of the sentence.

Eles sempre tiveram um bom relacionamento, sabe. (“They always had a good relationship, you know.”)
A situação é complicada, sabe. (“The situation is complicated, you know.”)

#10

PortugueseLiterally and English Equivalent
Ah / Ai“Oh”

These interjections can be used as filler words when placed at the beginning of sentences. They normally indicate exasperation, excitement, or surprise.

Although ai also means “ouch,” when used as a filler, it acts like “oh” does in English. Ah is used in the same way, although it’s less common. 

Ah, aí, não sei. (“Oh, then I don’t know.”)
Ai, sério? (“Oh, really?”)
Ai, chega de grito!
(“Argh, no more screaming!”)
Ah, será que eles já chegaram? (“Oh, I wonder if they already arrived!”)

/! Bonus: You can put a bunch of filler words together and actually create a sentence with meaning!
  • Ai, aí não, né? (It works like an exasperated “C’mon!”)

A Woman Talking on Her Cell Phone with Eyes Closed and a Hand to Her Head

Ai, não acredito! (“Oh, I can’t believe it!”)

3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words

As you begin listening to native Portuguese speakers, you’ll quickly notice that filler words are everywhere. 

If you’re serious about speaking the language well, you should know if and when to use filler words. As we already hinted at before, there are pros and cons to adding those words to your speech. Let’s take a closer look at them.

1 – Pro: Filler words help you sound like a local.

No native speaker can avoid filler words all the time. So as you learn these words and start incorporating them into your speech, you’ll begin to sound more natural. 

Most of us don’t learn new languages to become a perfect writer or a master of grammar—instead, we learn them to engage in conversations, to interact, and to communicate. Striving for a perfect sentence is not as important as being able to understand when certain words are used without meaning (so you don’t get stuck trying to figure out what tipo means). 

2 – Pro: They buy you time to search for words.

Especially when learning a new language, it’s good to have tools that give you time to search for words when speaking. After all, the vocabulary might not come automatically for you, and using filler words can help you keep the conversation going. 

Plus, if learning and incorporating filler words into your speech makes you feel more comfortable, that’s very  important for boosting your fluency!

3 – Con: It’s easy to overuse filler words.

Because you’ll hear these filler words often and they impart a sense of confidence, it’s easy to get addicted to them and not even realize you’re overusing words like tipo and . But trust me, other people will notice if you exaggerate and it can become annoying. 

4 – Con: They shouldn’t be used in formal situations or contexts.

Remember to avoid filler words in formal situations, such as business meetings, job interviews, or presentations. Likewise, don’t use them when writing a formal email or message. Using filler words in these contexts convey unprofessionalism and a lack of knowledge on what you’re talking about. It can also indicate a lack of confidence, especially when you’re speaking in public. 

So what can you do to mitigate these cons? You have two options. 

The first is to substitute the filler words. If you’re in a situation where you’ve been asked a question and need some time to think, you can use a few tricks like:

  • Repeating the question back: O que eu espero aprender com essa experiência? Eu espero… (“What do I expect to learn from this experience? I expect…”)
  • Adding phrases like boa pergunta (“good question”) and vamos ver (“let’s see”).
  • Being honest and saying you need to think. This works better in an informal situation, in which you can simply say deixa eu pensar (“let me think”).

The second option is to become comfortable with silent pauses. This is an important skill to master in any language, not only in Portuguese. Short silent breaks can actually convey a sense of security and confidence in what you’re saying. It can also give your audience time to absorb what you’ve just said.

A Man Giving a Speech

Avoid filler words in presentations and formal settings.

4. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

Are you ready to identify and use Portuguese filler words after reading this guide? We hope we gave you a good overview of what filler words are, how to use them in Portuguese, and how to substitute them when necessary. Now, you won’t be flabbergasted by the way native speakers say seemingly meaningless words like tipo all the time!  

Do you think we missed any popular Portuguese filler words? Or did any of them surprise you at all? Let us know in the comments below!

Going forward, we suggest you try to pay attention to the way native speakers use the different filler words and why they do it. As we mentioned before, sometimes it’s to buy time while other times it helps with the flow of the sentence. Doing this will help you understand when to use filler words yourself. 

There are more free Portuguese resources and a variety of vocabulary lists available on PortuguesePod101.com to help you continue your language learning journey. Go ahead and choose your favorite tools to expand your learning opportunities.

If you want to take your learning experience further, members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese

How to Say “I Love You,” in Portuguese

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Everyone knows that love is the universal language… But still, learning the mother tongue of your beloved or potential love interest can do no harm when it comes to flirting or enhancing your communication. 

Trust us: Saying “I love you,” in Portuguese to a native speaker is the surest way to capture that person’s heart! After all, wouldn’t you like to see an attractive foreigner sweat a little bit to get your attention in your mother tongue? 

But while there’s beauty in this simplicity, there are many steps and eventualities one must get through before reaching the “I love you” stage. 

This collection of Portuguese love phrases will serve as a reference for all the basics you need to know for every step of a relationship. You’ll pick up several expressions you can use to make small talk, confess your love in Portuguese, and even propose marriage!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-up Lines
  2. Fall in Deeper: “No, I Love You More…”
  3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More
  4. Endearment Terms
  5. Must-know Love Quotes
  6. Don’t say adeus, say até logo!

1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-up Lines

The Flames of a Fire

Better to get your words straight when the fire of love is burning!

The first step regarding how to express love in Portuguese is to begin a conversation with that special someone who has caught your eye. This means saying hello, introducing yourself, and getting your flirt on

Perhaps it’s a good idea to practice these romantic Portuguese phrases in front of the mirror before going out “hunting.” Take a deep breath, don’t stutter, and prepare to get in touch with a new face wherever you are: in a club, at the movies, at the beach, in the park…

A- Meeting and flirting

One initial insight you should keep in mind about Portuguese love phrases—and communication in general—is that the pronoun vós (formal “you”) is hardly ever used for talking to strangers. Instead, people use tu or você.

  • Quer dançar? / Dança comigo! – “Do you want to dance?” / “Dance with me!”

    When using você (“you”), the imperative form of dançar (“to dance”) is dance. But in informal contexts, it’s very common to use dança as an imperative.
  • Você é solteiro/solteira? – “Are you single?”

    Solteiro is the masculine form of “single,” whereas solteira is the feminine form.
  • Seu sorriso é lindo. “Your smile is beautiful.”
  • Quer ir para outro lugar? – “Shall we go somewhere else?”
  • A gente pode se encontrar de novo? – “Can we meet again?”
  • Eu te levo para casa. – “I will drive you home.”
  • Gosto de você. – “I like you.”

B- Going out

The Moon Shining Brightly in a Star-filled Sky Over the Mountains

Quiet nights of quiet stars, quiet chords from my guitar floating on the silence that surrounds us… Frank Sinatra, anyone?

So, you’ve met someone interesting and would definitely like to see them again! 

There are some key phrases you’ll need to know in order to ask him or her out on a date—and to have a great time as you talk and get to know each other better. It’s time to gather your courage, plan your interesting night out, and let them know you’re interested in another meeting. 

  • Você gostaria de sair para jantar comigo? – “Would you like to go out for dinner with me?”
  • Você gostaria de sair comigo? – “Would you like to hang out with me?”
  • A que horas a gente se encontra amanhã? – “What time shall we meet tomorrow?”

If you’re inviting the person, you might prefer to establish the time of the meeting as part of the suggestion. In this case, you could give a more subtle suggestion by saying: 

  • Você está livre às ___ horas? – “Are you free at ___ o’clock?”

And of course, you’ll want to offer your date a genuine compliment and let them know you enjoyed your time together: 

  • Você está bonito/bonita. – “You look handsome/beautiful.”
  • Adorei te conhecer! – “I loved meeting you!”

2. Fall in Deeper: “No, I Love You More…”

Colored Dyes Dissolving in Water

The start of a romantic relationship feels like blending two people into one.

Now’s the time to dim the lights, make some chamomile tea, burn some incense, and sit beside your loved one to pamper him or her. The flowers of romance have bloomed and now it’s time to smell their perfume.

As you walk along the magical yellow brick road of love, you’re going to experience some of the best moments of your life. With each step, you’ll get to know your partner in greater depth and continuously look for new ways to make them happy. 

To give you a headstart, here are some sweet words of love in Portuguese that are sure to melt their heart. Your friends might not be able to keep a straight face as you exchange these expressions with your lover, but we think it’s worth it. 

Ready? 

  • Eu te amo. – “I love you.”
  • Não, eu te amo mais. “No, I love you more.”
  • Eu te amo tanto… – “I love you so much…”
  • Acho que estou apaixonado (a) por você. – “I think I am in love with you.”
  • Sonhei com você esta noite. – “I dreamed of you last night.”
  • Quero estar com você para sempre. – “I want to be with you forever.”
  • Você me faz querer ser uma pessoa melhor. – “You make me want to be a better person.”
  • Você é tudo para mim. “You are everything to me.”

3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More

An Old Couple Walking Together in a Park

Old friends, sat on their park bench like bookends…

Wow, you really made it! It has been quite a ride from your first “I love you” in Portuguese to where you are now. Marriage is the turning of a new page in life, and with this fresh chapter comes the forming of comprehensive and ambitious plans for the future. 

Soon enough, memorizing Portuguese love phrases will be your smallest concern—hopefully!

  • Você quer casar comigo? – “Will you marry me?”
  • Você me daria a honra de ser minha esposa/meu marido? – “Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife/husband?”
  • Quero que você conheça os meus pais. “I want you to meet my parents.”
  • Eu nunca morei junto com ninguém. – “I have never moved in with somebody.”
  • Estou grávida. – “I am pregnant.”
  • Ele vai ter o nome do pai. – “He is going to have his father’s name.”
  • Ela vai ter o nome da mãe. – “She is going to have her mother’s name.”

4. Endearment Terms

A Couple Lying Together in the Grass During Autumn

If you call someone chuchu, there is no coming back: you are already madly in love.

Another way to express your love in the Portuguese language? Calling your dearest one by a cute pet name! The following endearment terms are even more poignant when spoken in a childlike voice. Ah! It is good to be in love… 

  • Meu amor – “My love”
  • Amorzinho – Literally: “My little love”

    This is an example of a diminutive form, which typically denotes affection and/or cuteness. But keep in mind that context is important; if used in an ironic manner, it shows disdain.
  • Docinho – “Sweetie” [ Literally: “Little candy” ]
  • (Minha) vida – Literally: “(My) life”

    This one is a social media favorite, especially among couples who insist on sharing the same profile and publishing photos subtitled with inspiring love confessions.
  • Meu bem / Querida(o) – “(My) dear”

    You can try some alternative versions for querido (male) or querida (female), such as queridinha (“little darling”) or queridíssima (“dearest”).
  • Meu chuchu – Approximately: “honey boo”

    This one is awkward. A chuchu is a chayote, which is an edible green plant. It has a soft texture, is very watery, and has an unremarkable taste, yet it’s very popular and generally cheap. The French call their darlings their chouchous. This unintentionally comical adaptation of the idiom to Portuguese resulted in meu chuchu, which is one of the corniest ways to say “I love you,” in Portuguese to someone. To make it extra corny, use the diminutive form meu chuchuzinho.
  • Bebê – “Baby”
  • Coração – “Sweetheart”

5. Must-know Love Quotes

Hilda Hilst and her crew are here to tell you some things about love.

Love is one of those ubiquitous themes that inspire both the most tinny and the most brilliant statements and artistic expressions. As such, there are quotes about love in Portuguese that fall on both ends of the spectrum—but for your reading pleasure, we’ve included only the most poetic remarks on the universal feeling we call “love.”

No phony stuff in here, just some good material about love in Portuguese from modern authors. Vinicius de Moraes (1913 – 1980), Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902 – 1987), Hilda Hilst (1930 – 2004), and Ferreira Gullar (1930 – 2016) are among the most expressive and respected Brazilian poets of the 20th century.

Eu possa lhe dizer do amor:
Que não seja imortal, posto que é chama
Mas que seja infinito enquanto dure
Shall I tell you of love: 
Let it not be immortal, since it is flame
But let it be infinite while it lasts
Quote from Soneto de fidelidade (“Fidelity Sonnet”) by Vinicius de Moraes

Há vários motivos para odiar uma pessoa, e um só para amá-la; este prevalece.“There are many reasons to hate a person, and just one to love them; this one prevails.”
Aphorism from O Avesso das Coisas by Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Amar
É coisa de morrer e de matar
Mas tem som de sorriso
To loveI
Is about dying and killing
But it sounds like a smile
Quote from a nameless, tragic chronicle/poem by Hilda Hilst

Mais dia menos dia toda a lembrança se apaga e te surpreendes gargalhando, a vida vibrando outra vez, nova, na garganta, sem culpa nem desculpa. E chegas a pensar: quantas manhãs como esta perdi burramente! O amor é uma doença como outra qualquer.“Day after day, every memory fades away and you get surprised laughing, life vibrating once again, new, in the throat, without guilt or excuses. And you even wonder: how many mornings like these have I stupidly lost! Love is a disease like any other.”
Quote from the chronicle Sobre o amor (“On Love”) by Ferreira Gullar

We’re curious: Which of these love quotes in Portuguese did you find most moving? 

6. Don’t say adeus, say até logo!

It has been a pleasure to present you with this quick guide to expressing love in Portuguese. You’ve learned a good variety of Portuguese love phrases as well as some important details regarding idioms and cultural information.

If you feel we’ve missed some good Portuguese love phrases, please share with us your contribution!

Also, don’t miss out on the opportunity to continue developing your knowledge of all things Portuguese. The best way to do so is by exploring PortuguesePod101.com, the number-one place online to study this romantic language. 

PortuguesePod101 provides a variety of free learning resources and engaging lessons, combining the best of solo study materials and more conventional classroom teaching methods. You can expand your vocabulary using our themed vocab lists, go through one of our learning pathways, or even upgrade to a Premium PLUS membership to take advantage of our MyTeacher service. 

Video, audio, text, and real human contact blend in a most interesting learning experience on PortuguesePod101.com. Take your first step toward fluency today—your Portuguese-speaking partner will thank you for it. 

Happy learning!

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Saying No: An Overview of Portuguese Negation

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Are you the type of person who has trouble saying no? Or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, is saying no your way of life? Regardless of your answer, learning how to deny something, answer negatively, or simply say no in Portuguese is a super-important step in your language-learning journey.

After all, without the power of “no,” mix-ups and miscommunication could happen. Thankfully, you won’t find negation in Portuguese particularly difficult, as it has many similarities to negation in English. After learning just a few negative words and sentences, you’ll be prepared to deny anything. 

Don’t worry about sounding too negative after this article, though. We’ll look into ways to make a negative sentence sound polite, teach you the power of double negation in Portuguese for getting our point across, and even show you how to ask negative questions. To make sure everything is clear and understandable, we’ll give plenty of examples throughout.

A Little Girl Sitting on Outdoor Furniture with an Unhappy Look on Her Face

Não gostei. (“I didn’t like it.”)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Negating a Statement
  2. Negation and Questions
  3. Other Negating Words
  4. Double and Triple Negatives
  5. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. Negating a Statement

The first thing we’ll talk about is how to make a positive sentence negative in Portuguese. 

1 – The holy grail of negation: Não (“No”)

The first and most important part of negation in Portuguese is this little word: não (“no”). 

It’s a nasal word, which may sound a bit different to your ears. To make sure you get it, we suggest practicing its pronunciation with one of our vocabulary lists

Não is used in Portuguese exactly as “no” is used in English. It can be used to answer a question by itself, to construct negative sentences, or to ask negative questions. Throughout this article, you’ll see não pop up again and again, so keep an eye out for it.

2 – Making a positive sentence negative

This is one of the greatest things about negation in Portuguese: Just like in English, you can simply add the word não to a positive sentence. 

  • Nós temos uma televisão. (“We have a TV.”)
  • Nós não temos televisão. (“We don’t have a TV.”)
  • Ela é brasileira. (“She is Brazilian.”)
  • Ela não é brasileira. (“She is not Brazilian.”)

As you can see, não goes after the subject of the sentence but before the verb. Some sentences have implicit subjects, in which case we just put não before the verb.

  • Vou limpar a casa. (“I’ll clean the house.”)
  • Não vou limpar a casa. (“I will not clean the house.”)

A Woman in a Long-sleeved Yellow Shirt Crossing Her Arms and Thinking

Não sei, tenho que pensar. (“I don’t know, I have to think.”)


2. Negation and Questions

Now let’s examine how Portuguese negatives apply to asking and answering questions! 

1 – Giving a negative response to a question 

You can always answer with a simple não or, instead, make it more elaborate. Take a look at the different ways we can negatively answer the question, Você gosta de sopa? (“Do you like soup?”)

  • Não. (“No.”)
  • Eu não gosto de sopa. (“I don’t like soup.”)
  • Não, eu não gosto de sopa. (“No, I don’t like soup.”)

Sometimes, especially when being offered something, simply saying “no” might sound a bit rude, like in the example below.

  • Você quer um pedaço de bolo? (“Do you want a piece of cake?”)
  • Não. (“No.”)

To make it sound more polite, it’s a good idea to add “thank you” to your reply.

  • Você quer um pedaço de bolo? (“Do you want a piece of cake?”)
  • Não, obrigado. (“No, thank you.”) [masculine]

Another common way to soften the harshness of the word não is to downplay it a bit by saying instead não muito (“not much”).

  • Você gosta dessa banda? (“Do you like this band?”)
  • Não muito. (“Not much.”) 

This 3-minute video by PortuguesePod101 has many more examples of negative answers and sentences.

2 – Asking Negative Questions

You can also use negative words to ask the question itself. It’s very easy to transform a positive question into a negative question—or even to transform a positive statement into a negative question. 

Let’s take a look:

Positive statementPositive questionNegative question
Você gosta de pão. (“You like bread.”)Você gosta de pão? (“Do you like bread?”)Você não gosta de pão? (“Don’t you like bread?”)
Ela mora no Brasil. (“She lives in Brazil.”)Ela mora no Brasil? (“Does she live in Brazil?”)Ela não mora no Brasil? (“Doesn’t she live in Brazil?”)
Nós gastávamos muito dinheiro. (“We used to spend a lot of money.”)Nós gastávamos muito dinheiro? (“Did we used to spend a lot of money?”)Nós não gastávamos muito dinheiro? (“Didn’t we used to spend a lot of money?”)

You can also use other negating words to ask negative questions. We’ll look at those words soon, but let’s go ahead and take a look at some examples.  

  • Você nunca visitou a Inglaterra? (“You’ve never been to England?”) 
  • Você nem se despediu? (“You didn’t even say goodbye?”)

Notice that the words are placed in the same spot não would be in.

A Little Girl Making a Disgusting Face While Eating Peas

Você não gosta de ervilha? (“You don’t like peas?”)

3. Other Negating Words

Time to spice up your negation skills. There are many words you can use besides não, which also add more context to your sentences. 

1 – Nem (“Neither” / “Nor”)

Nem is a very popular negating word. 

  • Não como peixe nem carne. (“I don’t eat fish nor meat.”)
  • Ele ainda não sabe ler nem escrever. (“He still doesn’t know how to read nor write.”)
  • Nem meu pai e nem minha mãe falam inglês. (“Neither my father nor my mother speaks English.”)

Colloquially, nem is also used as “not,” replacing não. It is not uncommon to hear Brazilians saying:

  • Nem começa. (“Don’t even start.”)
  • Nem adianta. (“It’s no use.”) 

2 – Nunca and Jamais (“Never”)

Want to talk in absolutes? These are your go-to words! Note that nunca is much more commonly used than jamais, which has a stronger connotation.  

  • Ela nunca come depois das 20 horas. (“She never eats after 8 p.m.”)
  • Eu jamais viajarei de avião. (“I will never travel by plane.”)

Both words can also be used by themselves, when answering a question.

  • Você já voou de asa delta? (“Have you ever flown by hang gliding?”)
  • Nunca. (“Never.”)

You can even use jamais to make it clear you have never done something, and will also never do it in the future.

  • Você já voou de asa delta? (“Have you ever flown by hang gliding?”)
  • Jamais. (“Never.”) [meaning that you never have, never will]

Another common expression is nunca mais (“never again”).

  • Eu nunca mais quero te ver. (“I don’t want to see you ever again.”)
  • Viajei sozinha uma vez e foi horrível. Nunca mais! (“I traveled by myself once and it was horrible. Never again!”)
  • Ele nunca mais vai poder jogar futebol. (“He will never be able to play soccer again.”)

3 – Não mais (“Not anymore”)

Want to talk about something you don’t do anymore? Then use não mais, which can also include a verb in between both words. Take a look: 

  • Eu não nado mais. (“I don’t swim anymore.”)
  • Ela não come mais carne. (“She doesn’t eat meat anymore.”)
  • Não encontro mais minha caneta. (“I can’t find my pen anymore.”)
  • Você gosta de viajar de ônibus? (“Do you like traveling by bus?”)
  • Não mais. Antes, eu adorava, mas hoje acho desconfortável. (“Not anymore. I used to love it, but today I find it uncomfortable.”)

4 – More Negating Words

There are some more negative words you can use. Here are some examples of how to use them.

Ninguém (“Nobody”)Ninguém chegou ainda. (“Nobody arrived yet.”)
Nenhum (“None,” masculine)
Nenhuma (“None,” feminine)
Nenhum motorista está disponível. (“None of the drivers are available.”)
Nenhuma casa nesse bairro tem jardim. (“None of the houses in this neighborhood have a garden.”)
Nada (“Nothing”)Nada funciona nessa casa. (“Nothing works in this house.”)

The expression below is always paired with the word não. But don’t worry, we’ll go over double negatives soon. 

Lugar nenhum (“Anywhere” / “Nowhere”)
Nenhum lugar (“Anywhere” / “Nowhere”)
Não encontro a chave em lugar nenhum. (“I can’t find the key anywhere.”)
Não encontro a chave em nenhum lugar. (“I can’t find the key anywhere.”)

All of the negative words above can be used by themselves when it comes to answering questions, although it can sound a bit blunt. 

A: Alguém já chegou? (“Has anyone arrived?”)
B: Ninguém. (“Nobody.”)

A: Tem alguma camisa para me emprestar? (“Do you have a shirt to lend me?”)
B: Nenhuma. (“None.”)

A: Temos algo para comer? (“Do we have something to eat?”)
B: Nada. (“Nothing.”)

A: Aonde você vai? (“Where are you going?”)
B: Lugar nenhum. (“Nowhere.”)

A Confused Guy Scratching His Head

Não encontro minha carteira em lugar nenhum. (“I can’t find my wallet anywhere.”)

4. Double and Triple Negatives

Double negatives are very common in Portuguese. Luckily, they’re also very easy to use and understand! Simply put, double negatives are used to emphasize a negative statement. In other words, the negatives don’t cancel each other out.

You’ll see double negatives containing many of the negation words we covered previously. 

  • Eu não quero nada. (“I don’t want anything.”)
  • Ela não conhece ninguém. (“She doesn’t know anyone.”)
  • Você não trouxe nenhum livro? (“You didn’t bring any book?”)
  • Vocês nunca disseram nada. (“You never said anything.”) [plural]

There’s also such a thing as triple negatives. I know, I know, it’s getting a bit excessive. But it doesn’t really change things. Triple negatives continue to have a negative meaning, and they’re very common in spoken Portuguese.

If anything, triple negatives can convey a stronger negation.

  • Eu não quero nada, não. (“I don’t want anything.”)
  • Ela não conhece ninguém, não. (“She doesn’t know anyone.”)
  • Você não trouxe nenhum livro, não? (“You didn’t bring any book?”)
  • Você nunca disseram nada, não. (“You never said anything.”) [plural]

And to finish up, a curious little Portuguese phenomenon you might encounter are the expressions pois sim and pois não. In these cases, the word pois (“since” / “because”) works as a negation of the following word. Take a look:

  • Oi, você pode me ajudar rapidinho? (“Hi, can you help me really quick?”)
  • Pois não. (“Yes.” / “Certainly.”)

If you’re calling an office or going shopping in Brazil, you might hear pois não from the store or office employee. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean no! In this case, it’s exactly the opposite: they are politely telling you yes. 

The same thing might happen in some regions of Brazil when dealing with pois sim. It carries an ironic connotation, as if you were saying “Oh, sure,” while meaning exactly the opposite.

  • Pode me emprestar mais dinheiro hoje? (“Can you lend me more money today?”)
  • Pois sim! Até hoje você não me pagou o que me deve! (“No! You still haven’t paid me what you owe me!”)

Check out this lesson with double negative examples by PortuguesePod101!

A Girl Confused in Class

Eu não entendo nada não. (“I don’t understand anything.”)

5. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

This article explained how to build negative sentences and questions in Portuguese, introduced you to the most useful negative words, and showed you how to make it sound polite. Remember to come back to this guide anytime you need to refresh your negation knowledge. 

Did you like this article? Did we miss any important or interesting negation words you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments below!

Now, don’t stop learning! There are more free Portuguese resources and a variety of vocabulary lists available on PortuguesePod101.com. Go ahead and choose your favorite tools to expand your learning opportunities.

If you want to take your learning experience further, members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence.

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10 Good Reasons Why You Should Learn Portuguese

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Picking up a second language comes with several added benefits. To learn a new language is to acquire a powerful communication tool that will help you dig up new opportunities and get in touch with extraordinary worldviews you would otherwise never experience. 

But considering the vast number of world languages you could choose from, why study Portuguese? After all, Portuguese is not a common choice among language learners and there are plenty of others that are higher in demand on a global scale. 

Sure, eccentricity could be a driving force (we don’t judge anyone around here). But there are certainly more rewarding answers for why you should learn Portuguese.

This language is often overlooked in a growingly multicultural world. It’s one of the top 10 most widely spoken languages, with more than 250 million speakers across at least three continents—but it’s not even close to being one of the 10 most studied languages.

Has this made you more curious about the Portuguese language and what makes it stand out from all others? Then let’s dive in! But before looking at our 10 good reasons to learn Portuguese, let’s talk a bit about where this language is spoken.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. About Lusofonia and Portuguese
  2. General Reasons to Learn Portuguese
  3. Personal and Professional Advantages
  4. Conclusion

1. About Lusofonia and Portuguese

“Lusofonia” is a broad term used in reference to the Portuguese-speaking world’s cultural sphere of influence. The root of this word lies in Lusitania, which was the name given the Roman province where Portugal now stands.

A Beach with a Palm Tree and Seagulls Flying

Long oceanic distances separate the lusophonic community, but the language binds it.

Nowadays, Lusophone countries comprise the Community of Countries of Portuguese Language (CPLP). There are also some other territories outside the CPLP that, surprisingly, have a Lusophone background—but don’t worry, we’ll get there soon.

This extensive cultural reach worldwide is quite remarkable, even in comparison to that of other popular languages such as French and Spanish. To give you a clearer idea of what kind of reach we’re talking about, here are some facts about the CPLP’s many countries.

Angola

Angola’s ethnic mélange is most noticeable in the influence of Bantu languages such as Umbundu, Kimbundu, and Kikongo on the country’s Portuguese.

Brazil 

The population of Brazil accounts for around 80% of the world’s Portuguese speakers.

Cape Verde

This 10-island archipelago was uninhabited until Portuguese colonization in 1456. It’s one of the most stable African governments, and is home to volcanoes as well as beaches of Caribbean-like white sand and crystal-clear waters. Natives also speak Kriolu in normal day-to-day interactions.

East Timor

East Timor’s independence is still very recent: Until 2002, it was under Indonesian rule. The Malayo-Polynesian background of this nation is very unique in the Lusophonic world.       

Guinea-Bissau 

Guinea-Bissau is a largely Muslim nation and is very much linked to other Guinea Coast countries, especially Senegal and The Gambia.           

Mozambique 

Mozambique is well-known for its outstanding coral reefs and safaris in the Gorongosa National Park.         

Portugal

Portugal has been attracting tourists and expatriates from many parts of the world for some years. Many people are attracted to its location, climate, and culture.      

Saint Tomé and Príncipe 

This is a beautiful country, but is somehow ranked as one of the world’s least visited countries.        

2. General Reasons to Learn Portuguese

Now that you’re more familiar with Portuguese-speaking countries and their cultural backgrounds, it’s time to explore the top reasons as to why you should learn Portuguese! 

1. The language is elegant and plural.

The Portuguese language was combining influences from at least three continents way before globalization and plurality were “cool.” Portugal’s pioneering naval explorations led this European kingdom to disseminate its language in America, Africa, and Asia. This resulted in centuries of mutual feedback and influences on culture and language throughout the local populations.

These varieties of Portuguese combine the structural elements of a Romance language with vocabulary and expressions (and consequently, diverse perceptions) from different populations of those three continents.

2. It will give you access to different cultures.

Following the previous point, learning Portuguese can help build a bridge to better communication and understanding of local populations—even if they don’t speak Portuguese. 

This is because learning the language will make it easier for you to study the cultural background of a given group of people. For example, you’ll be able to draw parallels between their idioms and those of Portuguese. You could also read primary sources on the topic in their original language. And let’s not forget that a sound knowledge of Portuguese will also give you some familiarity with other Romance languages, such as:

  • Italian
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Romanian

The African continent alone is home to speakers of more than 2000 languages, plus thousands of dialects, accounting for some 30% of the world’s languages. Portuguese speakers in Africa have spread throughout countries in the Guinea Coast, Eastern Africa, and Southwest Africa. It will thus be difficult to gain contact with the various African cultures through any other language—unless you’re willing to learn Arabic or Swahili… 

It’s a brave new world of cultural knowledge. Instead of asking, “Why should I learn Portuguese?” maybe you should view this as only the tip of the iceberg on your way to a very rich knowledge of various cultures and languages.

3. You’ll be able to form stronger bonds with native Portuguese speakers.

Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Learning Portuguese will help you develop a whole new way to look at your touristic destinations.

Here’s a fun reason why you should learn Portuguese: To exponentially boost the quality of your upcoming trip!

Knowledge of the language will enrich your travel experiences and enhance your understanding of other cultures, colonial relations, and historical data. Even if Portugal’s influence in the Lusophonic world is not politically significant nowadays, its language and culture are still relevant—even in other, non-Lusophone countries. 

The autonomous region of Macau in China is one example. Though the teaching of Portuguese has been decreasing since the handover of Macau from Portugal to China in the early 2000s, the territory still retains many buildings of the colonization period and some other Portuguese-influenced cultural traits.

Goa, in India, is another example. Again, Portuguese is not the official language there: Hindi and Konkani are the most common modern languages. But many Portuguese words still linger in the daily life of this Indian province, such as:

  • Mez – Table (Mesa in Portuguese)
  • Jonel – Window (Janela in Portuguese)
  • Pão – Bread
  • Colher – Spoon
  • Vistid – Dress (Vestido in Portuguese)

4. You’ll meet interesting people.

A Bunch of Kids Raising Their Hands in a Classroom

If you want to meet new, interesting people, raise your hand!

There are hundreds of millions of Portuguese speakers worldwide, yet their culture is not as prominent as that of the most studied languages. Make a quick search for videos and texts about some of the countries mentioned in this article, and you’ll probably conclude that there’s more material made by tourists and foreigners than locals! If you want more local results, try to search in Portuguese and with the country code (BR for Brazil, PT for Portugal or Portuguese).

Digital technologies have made communication more horizontal, but it’s still very hard to reach radically different cultures without a mediator. The complex realities of some countries and some people can only be reached, even if superficially, through real-life experience outside the media and our digital screens.

If someone asks you why you want to learn Portuguese, one of the best answers you could give is that it represents a good opportunity to get in touch with other ways of thinking and different lifestyles. You’ll better understand aspects of the culture such as fashion, dances, music, celebrations, food, and religion, for instance. 

When you learn this fascinating language and immerse yourself in the culture, you’re bound to meet some very interesting people along the way! 

3. Personal and Professional Advantages

Still wondering why to learn Portuguese? Well, in addition to the more generic reasons to study Portuguese we mentioned earlier, there are more pragmatic reasons for getting in touch with Camões’ language.

5. Improve your memory.

A Close-up Image of an Eye

Learning a new language can be a tool for improving your brain’s health.

Want to improve your memory in a fun, non-medical way? Go study a foreign language. There is ample and consistent scientific evidence that students of another language have improved memory capacity compared to people who have not learned another language. This active maintenance of your brain’s health can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for up to five years.

6. Portuguese has some interesting phonological phenomena.

Why would you want to learn Portuguese if you’re headed to Eastern European countries on your vacation? Actually, it might be helpful for your oral Slavic language skills—and maybe even your Chinese. 

There are some sounds in the Portuguese language that are very different from those of other Germanic and European languages. The ‘hissing’ (as in the ‘sh’ phoneme) and the closed-sounding pronunciation of some words resemble certain Slavic languages such as Russian, as improbable as it might sound to you.

Also, the language contains nasal sounds that other Romance languages don’t. (This particular feature is more common in African countries and Brazil than it is in Portugal.)

Familiarity with these phonological phenomena can satisfy your linguistic curiosity, help you learn other languages in the future, and maybe even help you out in certain situations!  

7. Keep an eye on the developing world.

Most Portuguese-speaking countries belong to the developing world and have large potential for growth and foreign investment. And we all know that making or breaking a great deal can boil down to whether we speak the local language or not. 

For instance, Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries. Yet, there’s a lot to improve upon there and much potential for growth, as in the gas and oil mining projects that have the potential to become the largest infrastructure enterprises on the African continent.

Also, Brazil is an industrialized country and ranked ninth place on the list of the world’s biggest economies in 2019. Still, it’s far from having a fully developed structure of sewers and drinking water.

Portugal, too, can be a good destination for foreign investment. Even though it’s not a developing nation, it is a member of the European Union. 

These are only three examples, but if you look into all the countries on this list, you may find great business opportunities.

8. There are big consumer markets to be found.

Coworkers Partying and Having Drinks Together

Open up the Portuguese door to new business opportunities.

Another reason why learning Portuguese is important businesswise is the potential for consumers in Lusophonic communities. Though Portuguese is not widely studied, it is vastly spoken, as we mentioned previously. It’s hard to ignore an almost 300 million-strong population.

Brazil is a huge country where many multinationals own operations. The bilateral trade with the U.S. is significant, and Brazil maintains various types of exchange with other countries: educational, cultural, economic, and more.

9. There’s a competitive advantage for English-speakers in Brazil.

Many job positions in Brazil and other Lusophone countries demand a good knowledge of English, but this language may still not be widespread among local populations. Within this context, an English-speaking individual with additional knowledge of Portuguese (and skills specific to the job, of course) could have a strong professional edge in comparison to competitors!

4. Conclusion

There are many reasons why you should learn Portuguese, but the ultimate purpose remains within your individual interest in the language. Yet, there’s a very motivating final reason to study this widely spoken language. 

Reason #10: It’s easier than ever to master it.

In our increasingly digital world, we have a vast multitude of media resources that make our lives more convenient. Imagine if you could combine these highly engaging virtual formats with a well-structured and fun approach to grammar, oral practice, writing exercises, and interaction with native speakers.

PortuguesePod101 brings to you the best of both worlds of language learning: autonomous discovery and directed instruction. Don’t miss the opportunity to get in touch with thoughtfully crafted content suitable for learners of all levels. We even offer private lessons and dynamic content to speed up your Portuguese learning! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments if this article helped you decide whether to learn Portuguese or not. We hope we inspired you to give it a try! 

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Past, Present, Future: Learn About Portuguese Verb Tenses

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Grammar is generally not a favorite topic amongst Portuguese language learners. The sheer volume of topics, rules, and exceptions is enough to make anybody a bit overwhelmed. Verbs, in particular, make up an aspect of grammar that’s both super-important and quite complex. But don’t worry! We’re here to make it all a bit more digestible for you. In this article, we’ll break down Portuguese verb tenses into simpler terms to make the learning process a little smoother.

We’ll begin with an overview of Portuguese verbs, conjugation, moods, and tenses. Then, we’ll look closer at each of the tenses, using examples to make the concepts more understandable.

By learning the ropes of verb tenses, you’ll be taking a big step toward mastering Portuguese. It will give you the power to talk about the past, present, and future. You’ll be all set to tell stories, make plans, and enjoy each moment! 

Ready to conquer this hairy topic and become a master storyteller? Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. The Basics of Portuguese Conjugation
  2. Here and Now: Present Tenses
  3. What Once Was: Past Tenses
  4. Planning for Tomorrow: Future Tenses
  5. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. The Basics of Portuguese Conjugation

At first glance, this whole mess of verbs, tenses, moods, and conjugations can seem confusing. But try thinking of it this way: Grammatical tenses express the time at which a verb takes place. In other words, we’re talking about the past, present, and future.

But that’s not all. Tenses don’t exist in a vacuum—and there’s not much you can do with tenses by themselves. Verb conjugation in Portuguese requires moods (or modes) to actually work. 

So, what are grammatical moods? They’re inflections of verbs that allow them to express an attitude. The “attitude” can be an order or command, a statement of fact, a wish, or a plan.

When we combine tenses and moods with verbs, we can do a whole lot with the Portuguese language. 

1 – Moods

The moods we’ll look at in this article are:

  • Indicativo / “Indicative”
    Indicates a fact.
    Example: Ela dorme. / “She sleeps.”
  • Subjuntivo / “Subjunctive”
    Indicates a possibility, a wish, or something that we’re simply not sure about.
    Example: Talvez ela durma. / “Maybe she will sleep.”
  • Imperativo / “Imperative”
    Indicates a command or advice.
    Example: Durma agora. / “[You] sleep now.”
  • Condicional / “Conditional”
    Indicates what one could, would, or should do.
    Example: Eu dormiria agora. / “I would sleep now.”

2 – Tenses 

Remember: Each of the Portuguese verb tenses depends on the mood and vice-versa. So when we talk about tenses, we need to define the mood in which we’re conjugating the verbs.

Here’s a table with the basic tenses and moods:

Indicativo
“Indicative”
Presente / “Simple Present”
Préterito Perfeito / “Simple Past”
Pretérito Imperfeito / “Past Imperfect”
Pretérito Mais-que-perfeito / “Past Pluperfect”
Futuro do Presente / “Simple Future”
Condicional 
“Conditional”
Subjuntivo
“Subjunctive”
Presente / “Present Subjunctive”
Pretérito Imperfeito / “Imperfect Subjunctive”
Futuro / “Future Subjunctive”
Imperativo 
“Imperative”

Besides those tenses, there are other verb forms—called formas nominais (“nominal forms”)—you’ll encounter in Portuguese. These are:

  • The Infinitive

    The infinitive is the basic form of the verb, before any conjugation. You might see it coupled with auxiliary verbs in compound tenses.

    Example: Eu vou dormir muito. / “I will sleep a lot.”

  • The Past Participle

    A form of the verb that can be used with auxiliary verbs to form compound past tenses.

    Example: dormir → dormido / “to sleep” → “slept”

    Quando cheguei, ela tinha dormido. (“When I arrived, she had slept.”)

  • The Gerund

    Widely used in Brazil, it’s the equivalent of the “-ing” ending in English.

    Example: dormir → dormindo (“to sleep” → “sleeping”)

    Elas estão dormindo. (“They are sleeping.”)

3 – Auxiliary verbs

Did you notice that in the last examples above, there are two verbs? 

Elas estão dormindo. / “They are sleeping.”

These are compound tenses, which use an auxiliary verb alongside the main verb. These tenses are very commonly used in spoken Brazilian Portuguese. In the end, that’s good news: It means you can choose to use simple tenses or compound tenses—whichever you find easier!

Some of the most common auxiliary verbs in Portuguese are:

  • Ter / “To have”

    This auxiliary is used in several Portuguese compound tenses, including the preterite subjunctive compound, the pluperfect indicative compound, and the future indicative compound.

    The verb ter is conjugated in the correct tense and the main verb is in the participle form.

    Example: Eu tenho bebido chá verde em vez de café. / “I have been drinking green tea instead of coffee.”

  • Ir / “To go”

    We use this auxiliary to form the compound future, which is more commonly used than the simple future in Brazil.

    The verb ir is conjugated in the future indicative tense and the main verb is in the infinitive.

    Example: Eu vou beber muito suco de fruta. / “I will drink a lot of fruit juice.”

  • Estar / “To be” (temporary)

    This one is used to form the continuous tenses, such as the present continuous and past continuous (both of which are very widely used in Brazilian Portuguese).

    The verb estar is conjugated in the corresponding tense and the main verb is in the gerund form.

    Example: Eu estava bebendo água quando ela contou uma piada. / “I was drinking water when she told a joke.”

There’s much more to learn about verbs and their conjugation according to mood, tense, and person. To study the topic further, check out our guide on Portuguese verb conjugation!

Two Girls Talking about Something

Espero que você siga meu conselho. / “I hope you follow my advice.”

2. Here and Now: Present Tenses

If you need to talk about things happening now, the Portuguese present tense is exactly what you need. 

1 – Presente do indicativo / “Present indicative”

The present indicative is used to talk about things that you usually do. The indicative mood indicates a fact or certainty; coupled with the present tense, it’s perfect for talking about things you know or believe.  

Let’s see some examples:

Eu durmo cedo.“I sleep early.”

Ela sempre dorme muito.“She always sleeps a lot.”

Nós bebemos muita água.“We drink a lot of water.”

2 – Presente contínuo / “Present continuous”

If you want to talk about actions that are happening right now, you can use the present indicative of the verb estar (“to be,” temporary) with the action verb in the gerund form.

The present continuous is very commonly used in Brazil, so it’s an important one to learn!

Ela está dormindo.“She is sleeping.”

Você está bebendo suco?“Are you drinking juice?”

3 – Presente do subjuntivo / “Present subjunctive”

This tense is used to indicate a degree of uncertainty, express a possibility, or talk about a hypothetical situation. If you’re considering whether or not to do something now, or are talking about a request that’s not guaranteed to happen, use this tense.

Talvez eu durma agora.“Maybe I’ll sleep now.”

Sua mãe quer que vocês durmam cedo.“Your mom wants you to sleep early.”

4 – Imperativo / “Imperative”

The imperative is used to give commands, instructions, orders, or advice. In Portuguese, the imperative is undetermined in time, but it’s commonly associated with the present tense as it deals with the present or very near future. 

Durma agora.“Sleep now.”

Bebam água.“Drink water.”

A Mother Sleeping with Her Toddler

Elas dormem cedo. / “They sleep early.”

3. What Once Was: Past Tenses

The Portuguese past tenses can be a bit more complex, as there are different “types” of past one can talk about. Let’s dive into them. 

1 – Pretérito do indicativo / “Preterite indicative”

This tense is used to talk about past events that have already happened and are completed. The equivalent in English is the simple past.

Eu dormi muito bem.“I slept very well.”

Eles já beberam café hoje.“They already drank coffee today.”

2 – Imperfeito do indicativo / “Imperfect indicative”

This tense is used to talk about things that used to happen or to set a scene in some unidentified point in the past. You can use the imperfect to indicate what was happening when something else took place. 

Ela dormia tranquilamente quando alguém bateu na porta.“She was sleeping tranquilly when someone banged on the door.”
The imperfect can be translated to English in the form “was” + “verb” with the -ing ending.

Eu bebia muito quando era nova.“I used to drink a lot when I was young.”
Another way in which the imperfect can be translated to English is: “used to” + verb.

We can also talk about past events that were happening or set a scene by using the progressive imperfect. 

To use this form, conjugate the verb estar (“to be,” temporary) in the imperfect form and couple it with the gerund form of the main verb. This form might be a bit easier for English speakers to grasp, due to the similarities!

Ela estava dormindo tranquilamente quando alguém bateu na porta. “She was sleeping tranquilly when someone banged on the door.”

Eu estava dormindo no sofá.“I was sleeping on the couch.”

Você estava bebendo rápido demais.“You were drinking too fast.”

3 – Pretérito mais-que-perfeito do subjuntivo / “Pluperfect subjunctive”

You can use this tense to talk about possibilities in the past that didn’t happen or how one could have avoided something that did happen

This tense needs the verb ter (“to have”) and the main verb in the past participle.

Se eu tivesse dormido mais, teria acordado mais cedo.“If I had slept more, I’d have woken up earlier.”

Se você tivesse bebido menos, não teria dor de cabeça hoje.“If you had drunk less, you wouldn’t have a headache today.”

4 – Imperfeito subjuntivo / “Imperfect subjunctive”

If you want to talk about hypothetical or uncertain situations that could have happened in the past (but that, in reality, didn’t take place), you can use this tense.

Se eu dormisse cedo, conseguiria trabalhar de manhã.“If I were to sleep early, I would be able to work in the morning.”
Notice that the verb dormir (“to sleep”) is conjugated in the imperfect subjunctive, but the second verb conseguir (“to be able”) is conjugated in the conditional. Also, the sentence normally begins with se (“if”).

A Man Asleep on a Futon with Beer and Pizza Boxes Around Him

Eu comi, bebi e dormi. / “I ate, drank, and slept.”

4. Planning for Tomorrow: Future Tenses

Making plans or dreaming about what tomorrow could be like? Then the Portuguese future tense is indispensable! 

1 – Futuro do indicativo / “Future indicative”

This is equivalent to the simple future form in English, used to talk about something that will happen

Dormirei tarde hoje.“I will sleep late today.”

Beberei um chá antes de deitar.“I will drink tea before going to bed.”

However, in Brazilian Portuguese, it’s more common to talk about the future using the conjugated verb ir (“to go”) in the future indicative tense + the infinitive of the main verb.

Vou dormir tarde hoje.“I will sleep late today.”

Vou beber um chá antes de deitar.“I will drink tea before going to bed.”


2 – Futuro do subjuntivo / “Future subjunctive”

Use this tense to set possible scenes in the future or to talk about future events with some level of uncertainty.

Se eu dormir cedo, vou tomar café da manhã com você.“If I sleep early, I’ll have breakfast with you.”
Notice that the first verb—dormir (“to sleep”)—is conjugated in the future subjunctive, but the second verb is in the future indicative tense—vou tomar (“[I] will have”).

Enquanto você beber café, eu prepararei para você.“As long as you drink coffee, I’ll prepare it for you.”

3 – Futuro do Pretérito or Condicional / “Conditional”

The conditional tense is used to express surprise or uncertainty regarding the future, but in cases in which “would” or “could” are used in English. 

Eu dormiria cedo, mas tenho que trabalhar.“I would sleep early, but I have to work.”

Eu beberia tudo!“I could drink it all!”

A Grandmother Snuggling Her Granddaughter

Amanhã vou dormir na casa da vovó. / “Tomorrow, I’ll sleep at grandma’s house.”

5. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

Hopefully this guide has provided you with useful information about the Portuguese tenses and when to use them, helping you progress even more in your Portuguese-learning journey. Don’t forget to come back to this article anytime you need a refresher lesson!

What did you think of this article? Did the examples help you grasp the different tenses in Portuguese? If we missed any aspect of Portuguese verb tenses, let us know in the comments. 

Now, don’t stop learning! There are more free Portuguese resources and a variety of vocabulary lists available on PortuguesePod101.com. Go ahead and choose your favorite tools to expand your learning opportunities.

If you want to take your learning experience further, members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Portuguese?

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Most aspiring language learners ask themselves this fundamental question at some point: How long does it take to learn Portuguese? 

Building knowledge is very fulfilling and leads to expectations of improvement, so it’s only natural to wonder what kind of time commitment you’re looking at. However, the answer to this question is quite subjective! 

For example, what’s your definition of “learning” in the first place? 

No, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. 

Everyone needs to master the same basic grammar concepts and learn the same essential vocabulary. There’s definitely a learning curve. But one of the biggest factors in how long it takes to learn Portuguese is the level of proficiency one wants to achieve. 

For example, some people are only seeking enough Portuguese fluency to interact with locals while traveling. Others want to achieve full fluency so they can work or go to universities in a Portuguese-speaking country, which demands a whole different level of knowledge.

In this article, we’ll take a look at additional factors to consider, discuss what language skills and abilities are expected at each proficiency level, and give you advice on how to learn Portuguese faster using the best tools. 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Just One Thing Before We Start
  2. Beginner Level
  3. Intermediate Level
  4. Advanced Level
  5. Conclusion

Just One Thing Before We Start

A Woman Raising Her Hand in Class

If you’re excited to start this learning journey, raise your hand!

This article will provide you with time estimates regarding how long it takes to reach each level of Portuguese, but these times can vary depending on numerous factors. Perhaps the number-one factor to consider is how similar one’s native language is to Portuguese

The timeframes given in this article are for English speakers looking to learn Portuguese. Because Portuguese is a Romance language and English is a Germanic one, there are considerable differences between the two (despite their having some shared influence from other languages, such as French). That said, the United States’ Foreign Service Institute (FSI) ranks Portuguese as a Category I language—this means that it’s relatively easy for native English speakers to pick up, compared to other more “distant” languages. 

As far as ease of learning goes, speakers of other Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, French, Romanian) will have the easiest time picking up the Portuguese language. Those who speak languages far outside the Romance language family (Thai, Japanese, Hungarian, Arabic, etc.) will have a more difficult time. English speakers tend to fall somewhere in the middle. 

The skills we’ve mentioned for each level of learning are based upon the required knowledge for levels A, B, and C of the EPE certificate of Portugal’s Instituto Camões. 

Beginner Level

An Answer Sheet Filled Out

Good resources can lead you to an A grade in the A-level test.

We all have to begin somewhere. For Portuguese learners, mastering levels A1 and A2 is the starting point.

In a nutshell, these are the skills needed for this level:

  • Understand everyday expressions and simple statements.
  • Formulate simple sentences and introduce yourself.
  • Know how to use the present tense.
  • Communicate in most basic everyday contexts. 

The estimated time it takes to reach this point is between 80 and 100 hours of active study. 

Study Tips 

Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips on how to learn Portuguese for beginners. 

  • Reading & Writing. 

    At this point, your reading skills should consist of being able to identify the key information of short texts on different topics. You should also be able to write down very basic sentences. You’ll need to build up a solid core vocabulary and become familiar with Portuguese syntax.

    Here are some useful resources from PortuguesePod101.com you can use to improve your beginner-level reading and writing skills:

    Portuguese Alphabet
    100 Core Portuguese Words
    Cracking the Portuguese Writing System! 

    Make sure to peruse our wide array of themed vocabulary lists and make use of our spaced repetition flashcards (or make your own) to maximize your study efforts. If you opt to go the traditional route, you can place your flashcards on the objects they identify to help you better associate each word with its meaning in context. Either way, we recommend you study them for at least 15 minutes a day!

  • Speaking & Listening. 

    As for speaking and listening, you should be able to interact with native speakers using simple phrasal structures. You should also be able to understand simple daily communication and identify the key information in dialogues.

    You can gain these basic skills by going through short listening exercises, practicing your pronunciation, and engaging in short conversations with native speakers (if possible).

    Here are a few resources on PortuguesePod101.com we recommend:

    Listening Comprehension for Beginners
    Ultimate Portuguese Pronunciation Guide
    Learn Portuguese in Three Minutes

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to learn Portuguese online. For example, there are some interesting flashcard apps such as AnkiDroid (for Android) and Anki (for PC). 

As a beginner, you should also focus your efforts on reading. PortuguesePod101 has several lessons with transcripts you can go over, and you can also check out some Portuguese-language children’s books or magazines. The digital GoRead platform is an interesting source for Brazilian magazines, for instance. 

Intermediate Level

An Up-close Shot of Someone Holding a Television Remote

Meet your new assistant for remote cultural research.

At the intermediate level (B1 and B2), students are able to identify primary and secondary information through both reading and listening. 

In a nutshell, these are the skills needed for this level:

  • Participate in daily interactions.
  • Explain ideas, present opinions, and participate in arguments. 
  • Know how to use different verb tenses.
  • Be familiar with different phrase patterns.
  • Recognize and use both the formal and informal register.
  • Express yourself creatively.

In essence, it’s time for some hard work—that pays off. So how long does it take to learn Portuguese up to the intermediate level? Around 350 to 400 hours of study.

Study Tips

As you approach and make your way through the intermediate level, there’s a lot of new ground to cover and the learning dynamics get more interesting. You’ll find yourself becoming more able to understand complex communication in various contexts. While there are no shortcuts in language learning, we do have some tips on how to learn Portuguese more easily at this stage. 


  • Speaking & Listening.

    There are two things that will immensely help your speaking and listening comprehension at this stage: dialogue-based lessons and Portuguese-language media.

    A good way to start is by watching Portuguese Netflix series, films, and YouTube channels with subtitles. Also, news podcasts are ideal for getting in touch with objective content and plain language, which is easier to understand. At the beginning of the intermediate level, you can focus on shorter podcasts with headlines and then move on to more complex ones.

    Watching and listening to this type of media is also really important because it will help you start grasping cultural context and information. A good Portuguese course will already introduce you to some of this cultural information, but seeing it applied in character and in realistic situations outside the classroom is something completely different.

    Here are some PortuguesePod101 resources for you:

    Intermediate Season 1
    Listening Comprehension for Intermediate Learners
    Must-Know Portuguese Holiday Words

Advanced Level

Suitcases Stacked Up and An Airplane Flying in the Background

Studying abroad can be very helpful for the advanced learner.

You’re almost there. You’re almost fluent in Portuguese.  

Advanced Portuguese fluency corresponds to levels C1 and C2, and this level of fluency is often required for those interested in working or studying abroad. Some people simply want to achieve total fluency for personal reasons or self-satisfaction! 

In a nutshell, these are the skills needed for this level:

  • Interpret and write complex texts using advanced grammar knowledge.  
  • Speak fluently in nearly all contexts. 
  • Be capable of flexible communication.
  • Have a comprehensive vocabulary.

To achieve the advanced level, the student needs 850 to 900 hours of studying. 

Study Tips

This is quite a time commitment, but we have some advice on how to learn Portuguese faster and more effectively. 

  • Reading & Writing. 

    As an advanced listener, you’re expected to comprehend both explicit and implicit information in messages. You must be able to distinguish between factual information and expressions of opinions, feelings, or arguments.

    In terms of writing, you should have enough knowledge of Portuguese grammar and syntax to develop coherent, complex texts on abstract, scientific, technical, and cultural themes.

    At this stage, you may find our Level 5 Portuguese lesson pathway quite useful as you continue to develop and hone your reading and writing skills. You can also continue to expand your reading to include larger books, more detailed magazines or blogs, or anything else you find interesting.

  • Speaking & Listening. 

    Because your speaking and listening skills should be fairly solid by now, you should start conversing with native speakers as often as possible (if you aren’t already!).

    One good way to do this is to visit online chats, forums, and language exchange programs that allow you to converse with native Portuguese speakers. You should also consider doing a student exchange program, which will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture firsthand.

    Culture and language deeply influence each other, so becoming familiar with Portuguese and Brazilian culture will work wonders for your speaking and listening abilities.

    Here are some resources for you:

    Listening Comprehension for Advanced Learners
    Video Culture Class: Brazil Holidays

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question: How long does it take an English speaker to learn Portuguese?

We also went into some detail about what’s expected of a learner at each proficiency level and gave you some useful tips on how to learn the Portuguese language effectively. 

Remember: If your goal is to learn Portuguese fast online, you can’t lower the bar. As presented, learning Portuguese isn’t too difficult for English speakers—but constant learning efforts and motivation are still important, as they can fuel the process to promote lasting results.

These factors, when combined with your learning tools of choice, will determine how well and how quickly you can learn Portuguese. 

PortuguesePod101 is an intuitive and well-structured website that delivers a range of Portuguese learning materials on many topics. Our grammar lessons, listening and reading comprehension exercises, and speaking/pronunciation practice tools are all organized and presented in bite-size chunks that help students learn Portuguese one step at a time. 

We combine video, text, and audio in the right doses to stimulate every learner to achieve their goals. Get access now to digital flashcards, a word bank, personal one-on-one teaching, and much more.

How fast can you learn Portuguese? As fast as you try PortuguesePod101.

Before you go, we’re curious: How likely are you to start learning Portuguese after reading this article? And if you’ve been learning a while, how long did it take you to reach your current level? 

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The Brazilian Wisdom of Portuguese Proverbs

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There’s something very satisfying about using a proverb that perfectly fits the situation. These gems of popular wisdom are passed from generation to generation, sometimes suffering alterations and adaptations, but always remaining witty or wise. Portuguese proverbs are no exception, carrying much meaning in a few words.

Proverbs are also a repository of local culture. Many times, a proverb only makes sense in one place or culture until explained, because it’s very closely tied to local traditions and mindsets. It’s also interesting to see how globalization, miscegenation, and cultural exchanges are reflected in proverbs.

Studying Brazilian proverbs will help you understand a bit more about the country and its people, and also increase your vocabulary. And who knows? It may even impart you with some age-old wisdom! 

In this article, we’ll dive into the curious world of Portuguese proverbs. With each proverb listed, we’ve included a literal translation, an equivalent in English (where one exists), and information about when you can use it. Hope you’re ready for a fun ride!

A Woman Stretching as She Gets Up in the Morning

Deus ajuda quem cedo madruga.
“God helps those who wake up early.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Proverbs About Relationships
  2. Proverbs About Work and Success
  3. Proverbs About Life and Wisdom
  4. Proverbs About Overcoming Adversities
  5. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. Proverbs About Relationships

Relationships make life all the more precious, but they can also be quite trying. Below are a few Portuguese proverbs about family, friendship, and romance to give you some cultural perspective on the topic! 

PortugueseDiga-me com quem andas e eu te direi quem és.
Literal translation“Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
English equivalentA man is known by the company he keeps.
Language noteThe conjugation in this proverb is in second-person singular, which is considered more formal in most of Brazil. 
This saying means that the people we surround ourselves with is a good indication of our character. Another English proverb that comes to mind is, “Birds of a feather flock together.” 

Since people with similar values and dispositions tend to spend time together, we can know a lot about a person based on his/her friends. 

PortugueseCada macaco no seu galho
Literal translation“Each monkey on its own branch”
English equivalent“Every jack to his trade”
This is a witty way to say, “Mind your own business.” It indicates that each person has their place, and shouldn’t try to meddle in other people’s affairs.

Imagine that someone is feeding you some juicy gossip about one of your friends, and asks for your opinion. You could say: Cada macaco no seu galho, eu não sei. / “Each monkey on its own branch, I don’t know.”

PortugueseAmigos, amigos, negócios à parte.
Literal translation“Friends, friends, business aside.”
English equivalent“Business is business.”
This is a warning about the dangers of mixing friendship and money matters. When it comes to business, having a friend as a coworker or business partner can cause the demise of the friendship. 

This Portuguese proverb can be used for any similar situation, whenever professional and personal lives risk getting caught up in each other. For example, if you’re considering whether or not you should lend money to a friend, someone might tell you this proverb as a word of advice. 

PortugueseRoupa suja se lava em casa. 
Literal translation“Dirty laundry is washed at home.”
English equivalent“Don’t wash your dirty linen in public.”
Exactly like its English equivalent, this proverb means that one should not discuss private or family problems in public. 

Imagine a couple is in a shopping mall, and they begin a heated argument. One of their friends approaches and says: Agora não, roupa suja se lava em casa. / “Not now, dirty laundry is washed at home.”

PortuguesePor ele eu ponho minha mão no fogo.
Literal translation“For him, I put my hand on fire.”
Language noteYou can substitute the pronoun ele (“he”) for any other personal pronoun, or even the person’s name.
To ‘put a hand on fire’ for someone means you trust them completely—so much so that you would be willing to go through the terrible pain of having your hands burned for that person. Figuratively speaking, of course.

For example, if someone you trust very much is accused of doing something bad, you could say to everyone: Eu não acredito nisso, por ele eu ponho minha mão no fogo! / “I don’t believe it, for him, I put my hand on fire!”

PortugueseO que os olhos não veem, o coração não sente.
Literal translation“What the eyes don’t see, the heart doesn’t feel.”
English equivalent“Out of sight, out of mind.”
This proverb is common in several cultures, and can be applied to many scenarios. As long as the person doesn’t know about something, it can’t hurt them. 

The most traditional use, however, is to reference romantic relationships and affairs. 


PortugueseA união faz a força.
Literal translation“Unity is strength.”
English equivalent“United we stand, divided we fall.”
We all know it: When people come together, nothing can stop them! Or at least, that’s what this proverb means. It can be used when trying to finish a group project or when you need to convince your siblings to help you clean up quicker. 

PortuguesePimenta nos olhos dos outros é refresco.
Literal translation“Pepper on others’ eyes is a refreshing drink.”
English equivalent“Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.”
Just like its English equivalent, this Portuguese proverb means that misfortunes can seem less serious—or even funny—when they’re happening to someone else.

Let’s imagine you’re telling your friend about an embarrassing experience you just had, and your friend starts laughing. You could say: Pimenta nos olhos dos outros é refresco, quero ver se fosse com você. / “Pepper on others’ eyes is a refreshing drink, I’d like to see if it were you.”

PortugueseAntes só que mal acompanhado.
English equivalent“Better alone than in bad company.”
Here’s another proverb that has a direct equivalent in English. Sometimes it’s preferable to be alone than to be with someone who causes us pain or wants to bring us down. 

If you have a friend who’s keeping bad company, don’t hesitate to tell them: Você tem que cuidar de si mesmo, lembra que antes só que mal acompanhado. / “You have to take care of yourself, remember that ‘better alone than in bad company.’ “

PortugueseFilho de peixe, peixinho é.
Literal translation“Son of fish is little fish.”
English equivalent“Like father, like son.”
This Brazilian proverb is used to highlight the similarities between parents and their children. Another English equivalent is, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Someone might say this when a child shows interest in the same career as their parent. 

    → Want to learn more sentences about friendship and relationships? Check out our vocabulary list on the Top 10 Quotes About Friendship and practice your pronunciation!

A Picture of a Monkey on a Tree Branch

Cada macaco no seu galho.
“Each monkey on its own branch.”

2. Proverbs About Work and Success

Hard work is an inescapable part of life, and we all hope that our efforts will bring us success. Here are some Portuguese proverbs to inspire and motivate you to be your best. 

PortugueseDeus ajuda a quem cedo madruga.
Literal translation“God helps those who wake up early.”
English equivalent“The early bird catches the worm.”
A similar idea is conveyed in proverbs around the world: wake up early to improve your odds in life. Note that religiosity is present in the Portuguese saying, unlike in its English equivalent.

You could imagine a mother saying this to her children after dinner: Hora de ir para cama. Deus ajuda quem cedo madruga. / “Time to go to bed. God helps those who wake up early.”

PortugueseNão deixe para amanhã o que você pode fazer hoje.
English equivalent“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
Procrastinators are sure to have heard this saying many times. Although one could argue whether this proverb holds a universal truth or not, it’s a good idea to become familiar with it. After all, we have the tendency to think that our schedules and to-do lists in the future will be emptier than they are now…but experience shows that’s not always the case.

Imagine you’re trying to convince a friend to finish his part of the group assignment. You might say: Você consegue fazer a sua parte bem rápido. Não deixe para amanhã o que você pode fazer hoje! / “You can do your part really quickly. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today!”

PortugueseDe grão em grão, a galinha enche o papo.
Literal translation“Grain by grain, the hen fills her belly.”
English equivalent“Little strokes fell great oaks.”
Slowly but surely, we can achieve our goals. With a bit of patience and persistence, we can finish big projects and get far in life. This Portuguese proverb paints a picture in our minds of a hen pecking away, one grain at a time, until she’s no longer hungry.

PortugueseA pressa é inimiga da perfeição.
Literal translation“Haste is the enemy of perfection.”
English equivalent“Haste makes waste.”
Doing things in a hurry can lead to many mistakes and sacrifice the quality of our efforts. Who can’t remember a time when they overlooked an important detail in order to deliver more quickly?

Imagine a mother has just asked her children to help wash the dishes. If they start doing it quickly and poorly, she would surely say: Lave os pratos com mais calma. A pressa é inimiga da perfeição. / “Wash the dishes more slowly. Haste makes waste.”

PortugueseQuem tem boca vai a Roma.
Literal translation“Who has a mouth goes to Rome.”
English equivalent“Better to ask the way than to go astray.”
There are actually two versions of this proverb, and there’s some debate as to which one is the correct and original version: 
  • Quem tem boca vai a Roma. / “Who has a mouth goes to Rome.”
  • Quem tem boca vaia Roma. / “Who has a mouth boos Rome.” 
The latter means that we need to speak up against wrong or negative attitudes.

Regardless, the first form is more widely used. It means that asking questions takes us a long way, so we should feel free to ask away! 

PortugueseO barato sai caro.
Literal translation“The cheap ends up expensive.”
English equivalent“You get what you pay for.”
Saving some money upfront when purchasing a product or service might come back to haunt us, especially if it means opting for a lower-quality version. 

For example, buying a cheap used car might be a good deal at first—but if the car comes with a lot of problems, the repair fees might be much more expensive than the car itself. In that case: O barato sai caro. / “The cheap ends up expensive.”


PortugueseNem tudo o que reluz é ouro. 
Literal translation“Not everything that shines is gold.”
English equivalent“All that glitters is not gold.”
This Portuguese proverb has the same meaning as: As aparências enganam. / “Appearances deceive.”

Just because something shines, it doesn’t mean it’s valuable. It could very well be a cheap imitation or even a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So be attentive and careful when making judgements about something’s value.

PortugueseCavalo dado não se olha os dentes.
Literal translation“In a given horse, we don’t look at the teeth.”
English equivalent“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
This proverb (or a very close version of it) is present in English, French, Italian, and other languages. By looking at the teeth of a horse, it’s possible to determine its approximate age and thus avoid being swindled in a negotiation. An ill-intentioned seller could very well try to sell you an older horse by making it appear younger, but looking at the horse’s teeth would alert you of such a scam. 

However, when it comes to gifts, it isn’t polite to do that. This proverb means that you should never refuse a gift nor show dissatisfaction with it. 

Lots of Jewelry and a Golden Watch

Nem tudo o que reluz é ouro. 
“Not everything that shines is gold.”

3. Proverbs About Life and Wisdom

We all try to live our lives to the fullest and in the best way possible, and we require a good dose of wisdom to do so. Here are some Portuguese proverbs about life to give you that additional wisdom and insight! 

PortugueseCão que ladra não morde.
Literal translation“Dog that barks doesn’t bite.”
English equivalent“Barking dogs seldom bite.”
Dogs that are always barking are also the least likely to bite. Likewise, this proverb says that those who easily make threats rarely take action. But again, we could argue over the truth of this proverb since it might be better not to tempt a dog. 

You could hear this proverb in the context of a romantic relationship, in which one person is always saying they will leave. In this case, people might say: Duvido que ele vá terminar o namoro. Cão que ladra não morde. / “I doubt he is going to end the relationship. Barking dogs seldom bite.”

PortugueseQuem com ferro fere, com ferro será ferido.
Literal translation“Who hurts with iron, with iron will be hurt.”
English equivalent“Live by the sword, die by the sword.”
This is a way of saying, “What goes around, comes around,” in Portuguese. It means that a person’s bad deeds will come back to them in a similar fashion.

This proverb might come up in a conversation about a person who is always harming others. You could then say: Uma hora ele vai aprender que quem com ferro fere, com ferro será ferido. / “One day he will learn that who hurts with iron, with iron will be hurt.”

PortugueseCasa de ferreiro, espeto de pau. 
Literal translation“Blacksmith’s house, wooden skewer.”
English equivalent“The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot.”
Just because someone has a specific skill or profession doesn’t mean they can put it into practice when it comes to themselves or their families. For example, imagine a teacher who never helps their own children with their homework or a doctor who smokes.

PortugueseSaco vazio não para em pé.
Literal translation“Empty sack doesn’t stand still.”
English equivalent“An empty sack cannot stand upright.”
We all know, intuitively, what this saying means: without food, we have no energy to do anything—just like how an empty sack will collapse onto itself when empty, but stand upright when full of potatoes!

You can use this proverb when your boss is holding you up, and all you want to do is have lunch: Daqui a pouco continuamos. Saco vazio não para em pé! / “We’ll continue soon. Empty sack doesn’t stand still.”

PortugueseO seguro morreu de velho. 
Literal translation“The safe person died of old age.”
English equivalent“Better safe than sorry.”
A person who plays it safe and takes care of possible issues before they even occur will die of old age, and not of a preventable disease or accident. Just be careful and protect yourself.

Another proverb with the same meaning in Portuguese is: Um homem prevenido vale por dois. / “A prepared man is worth two.” Its English equivalent would be: “A stitch in time saves nine.”

PortugueseMente vazia, oficina do diabo. 
Literal translation“Empty mind, devil’s workshop”
English equivalent“An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.”
This Portuguese proverb means that if you have nothing to do or to occupy your mind with, you’re more likely to do something bad or mischievous. 

Imagine a grandmother and her teenage grandson living together. The grandmother might think the grandson is spending too much time at home doing nothing productive, and say: Por que você não procura um trabalho? Mente vazia, oficina do diabo. / “Why don’t you look for a job? Empty mind, devil’s workshop.”


PortugueseDe médico e louco todo mundo tem um pouco.
Literal translation“Of doctor and crazy, everybody has a little.”
No one is completely sane, according to this proverb. Everybody has a bit of insanity within them, as well as a responsible side. Just like in the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, both sides of our personality exist. 

PortugueseEm terra de cego, quem tem um olho é rei.
English equivalent“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
This proverb means that you don’t need to be a genius to make the most of an opportunity. For example, having a little bit of knowledge or experience on a topic that those around you do not have can give you a leg up. 

Imagine your company has many technical employees. They’re good at coding, but no one is interested or experienced in business strategy. But if you, as a technical employee, did have this interest or experience, you could quickly climb the ranks. 

PortugueseQuem canta seus males espanta.
Literal translation“Who sings scares away his woes.”
Dom Quixote de la Mancha is known for using this famous saying. The proverb means that singing is good for the soul and will lift your spirits. Next time you’re feeling down, try and put it to the test!

PortugueseNão julgue um livro pela capa.
English equivalent“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Appearances don’t tell the full story of a person, so don’t judge somebody only by their looks or superficial interactions. Take time to read the book—or get to know the person—before making any judgements.

You might hear this proverb, for example, after meeting a very stern-looking person. A friend might tell you: Não julgue um livro pela capa. Ele é muito gentil e bem intencionado. / “Don’t judge a book by its cover. He is very kind and well-meaning.”

PortugueseMentira tem perna curta.
Literal translation“A lie has short legs.”
English equivalent“A lie has no legs.”
According to this proverb, lies are short-lived and can’t go too far before being discovered. This saying exists in several languages, including Italian and Spanish.

PortugueseNão adianta chorar pelo leite derramado.
English equivalent“It’s no use crying over spilled milk.”
This is a reminder that there’s no use stressing out or being sad about things that have already happened. If it can’t be changed or undone, it’s better not to worry about it.

This proverb is originally English, and it was recorded for the first known time in 1659 in the form: “No weeping for shed milk.” In Brazil, the proverb continues to be popular—you can still find children’s books including a story about a farmer girl who spills all the milk she intended to sell and, as you can imagine, cries over it.

PortugueseNão ponha a carroça na frente dos bois.
Literal translation“Don’t put the cart before the oxen.”
English equivalent“Don’t put the cart before the horse.”
This proverb is especially useful when dealing with a hurried person. The saying suggests that people shouldn’t try to hurry things too much, skipping important steps along the way just to complete tasks quicker. It also reminds us to let things run their natural course. 

It’s interesting how the English equivalent mentions horses, while the Portuguese one uses oxen. Although horses are used much more in Brazil as well, using oxen was common during colonial times and is still the norm in some parts of the country.

You could use this proverb when a friend starts telling you about his plans to buy a car and travel the world, before he’s even started working: E com que dinheiro você vai fazer isso tudo? Não ponha a carroça na frente dos bois. / “And with what money are you going to do all of that? Don’t put the cart before the oxen.”

A Man Singing while Listening to Music on His Headphones

Quem canta seus males espanta.
“Who sings scares away his woes.”

4. Proverbs About Overcoming Adversities

Sometimes life hits us hard, people hurt us, and things just don’t go our way. It’s important to remember that you’re never alone in your pain, and that things will always get better in the end. Below are some of the best Portuguese proverbs to help you (or a loved one!) get through tough times. 

PortugueseUm dia é da caça, outro, do caçador.
Literal translation“One day is the hunted’s, another is the hunter’s.”
English equivalent“Every dog has its day.”
We all have good days and bad days. Sometimes things work in our favor, and sometimes they don’t. That’s just a part of life. Keep that in mind when things look grim: a good day is never too far away.

This proverb can be used to cheer somebody up or to give them the motivation they need to continue working toward their goals. For example, imagine someone in your family didn’t get the job they wanted. You could tell them: Não desista; lembre que um dia é da caça, outro do caçador. / “Don’t give up, remember that one day for the hunted, another for the hunter.”

PortugueseQuem não tem cão caça com gato.
Literal translation“Who doesn’t have a dog, hunts with a cat.”
English equivalent“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”
It’s said that the original version of this proverb was: Quem não tem gato, caça como gato. / “Those without a cat, hunt like a cat.” In that case, it would mean that, when the situation requires, people might have to be sneaky and cunning like a cat hunting prey. 

Nowadays, the version we listed is overwhelmingly more popular. It suggests that we need to improvise and use whatever we have available to solve problems, even if the tools we have aren’t ideal.

PortugueseÁgua mole em pedra dura, tanto bate até que fura.
Literal translation“Soft water, hard stone, beats until it punctures.”
English equivalent“Water dripping day by day wears the hardest rock away.”
The Roman poet Ovid wrote that “dripping water hollows out stone,” and this is the origin of similar proverbs in other languages.

The idea is that with perseverance and consistency, we can achieve even the hardest tasks.


PortugueseDeus escreve certo por linhas tortas.
Literal translation“God writes straight over crooked lines.”
Here’s another proverb with a strong religious connotation. This saying means that, even when facing adversities, you can expect some good to come of it. This might be because there’s a divine plan laid out for you, because of destiny, or simply because you’re an optimist…it’s up to you to decide!

PortugueseHá males que vêm para o bem.
Literal translation“There are evils that come for good.”
English equivalent“A blessing in disguise.”
Sometimes we don’t see it immediately, but the negative or difficult situations we face could have positive outcomes. 

Maybe you lost a job opportunity, just to find out later that it was all a scam. Or perhaps you were rejected by a love interest who wasn’t that good of a person. Sometimes, bad experiences turn out to be good things!

A Kitten and a Puppy against a White Background

Quem não tem cão, caça com gato.
“Who doesn’t have a dog, hunts with a cat.”

5. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

Now you’re ready to start using these smart-sounding Portuguese proverbs in a variety of situations! But don’t stop here! There are many more fun and interesting sayings used in Brazil, so you should continue learning Portuguese, expanding your vocabulary, and sounding profoundly wise!  

Did you find this article helpful? Did we miss any popular proverbs you know? Drop us a comment with your thoughts!

And now, it’s time to continue your Portuguese learning journey. You can read more in-depth articles about the language and culture on our blog page, or scour through our vocabulary lists or the other free resources on PortuguesePod101.com.

If you want to take your learning experience further, members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence!

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Rio de Janeiro Travel Guide: Places to Visit

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All you need to know before landing in the Wonderful City for a good time

So, you’re booking a trip to Rio de Janeiro. A lot has been said and sung about the city’s natural beauty and cultural diversity, but it’s impossible to grasp entirely the fascination behind its beaches, architecture, food, dances, and people.

Rio de Janeiro is the famous postcard of Brazil, and there’s a reason for this. Actually, a lot of reasons! The city is a marvel unlike anything else in the world, hence the importance of getting the facts straight before packing up and enjoying a memorable trip. This is where our handy Rio de Janeiro travel guide comes in! 

There are hundreds of attractions you could see in this vast city, but time is limited. To help you plan for a fulfilling trip, PortuguesePod101.com has compiled a list of places you must visit in Rio de Janeiro during your stay. We’ve included a blend of perennial classics and unique, hidden gems that deserve a closer look. 

We’ve also assembled a list of simple preparatory steps to take before your trip and some essential language tips that will help you explore the delights of Rio de Janeiro more easily. 

Bem-vindo!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Travel Tips for Visiting Rio de Janeiro
  2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip
  3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)
  4. Portuguese Survival Phrases
  5. Conclusion

1. Travel Tips for Visiting Rio de Janeiro

There are a few things to know before visiting Rio de Janeiro that can really make or break your entire trip. Following is a quick guide concerning various aspects of the city. 

Facts and Stats

Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s second most populated city. According to 2019 statistics, it contains 6,718,903 inhabitants—that’s 3% of the country’s population! The North Zone of the city is the most densely populated area, while the West Zone is the least densely populated.

The city is often considered a “melting pot,” featuring an ethnically diverse population with Amerindian, European, and African ancestries. This mixture of ethnic roots can be accredited to the city’s previous role as Brazil’s capital from 1763 (when Brazil was a colony of the Portuguese empire) to the democratic period of 1960.

Actually, even though Brasília is the current capital of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is still largely responsible for presenting the national image to foreign lands. Indeed, it’s a culturally rich place with a natural beauty that’s hard to parallel.

When to Visit Rio de Janeiro

You probably already know that Rio is a tropical destination. The local median temperature is 23.3ºC (about 74ºF), but the temperature may rise above 40ºC (104ºF) in the summer. Besides being too hot, summer is not the best time of the year to visit this city because it tends to be expensive and crowded during this period. If you do decide to visit during summer, don’t forget to bring sunscreen and insect repellent with you!

The best time to visit Rio de Janeiro is between April and June, since the weather is milder and the beaches and streets are calmer. But if you’d like to visit Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, then you should arrive in February, toward the end of summer. Also, keep in mind that rain can be pretty tough from November to March.

Let’s Talk About Money

Now that you know the best time to visit Rio de Janeiro, let’s talk about money and organization. The first thing to consider when financially planning the trip is the local currency. The Brazilian Real (R$) has been through some major fluctuation and is now severely undervalued in comparison to the US Dollar.

Then come the basic costs to calculate. For transportation, the bus (R$4.05 a ticket) is the most common resource available. There are also trains and the subway (R$5.00) in the public transport system, and you can also rely on Uber and yellow taxis—in these cases, you should insist that the driver toggle the meter on, to avoid extra charges. Don’t accept a fixed fee to take you to your hotel or a tourist site, and turn on a GPS with your destination if you think the ride is taking too long.

The cost to visit Rio de Janeiro depends on where you plan to lodge and dine. That said, a frugal stay would likely cost around R$65 a day for individual meals and R$550 a day for a comfortable hotel room for a couple.

Additional Tips

A major motivation for learning Portuguese before your trip to Rio de Janeiro is the small number of English speakers in the city. Despite the overall hospitality of the locals, it’s hard to find someone who speaks English well (if at all). At best, workers of luxurious hotels, airports, and restaurants in the most touristic areas will speak some English. 

Most tourists don’t need to file for a visa before the trip, but people of certain origins do need a visit visa. You can check here to see if this applies to you. If so, you can claim it in Embassies, General Consulates, Consulates, and Vice Consulates of Brazil abroad. For identification purposes during your Rio de Janeiro travels, your passport is normally sufficient.

Is Rio de Janeiro Safe to Visit?

Before you travel to Rio de Janeiro, know that Brazil is a violent country. But this shouldn’t keep you from visiting! Pickpocketing and petty theft are the usual problems, though there are also some more serious crime possibilities for visitors. You can make your visit to Rio de Janeiro safer by taking some useful precautions:

  • Keep valuables safe and don’t show off electronics or luxury items (watches, purses, fancy shoes, clothing).
  • Carry only the necessary amount of cash.
  • Avoid going through favelas and suburbs unless on a guided tour.
  • Avoid going out alone after dark. If you do, take an Uber or taxi.
  • While in a car, check the GPS to make sure you’re on a safe path, away from the areas you should avoid.
  • If you’re visiting during Carnival, bring a money belt or carry the least amount possible (and keep it hidden).

2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip

There are places to visit in Rio de Janeiro to suit many different tastes. We’ve selected five delightful locations in the Marvelous City you should definitely see if you’re short on time.

Sugarloaf

The Pão de Açúcar mountain (a.k.a. Sugarloaf), is one of the most famous postcard shots of the country. The summit presents travelers with an amazing panoramic view of the bay. Also, there’s a cable car ride—buy your ticket in advance, if possible.

The area around the Sugarloaf is safe and has some cool beach options, most of which are about forty minutes to an hour away on foot (or less by bus/car). These beaches include Urca, Vermelha, and de Fora.

Both nature-lovers and tourists of general interest will find Pão de Açúcar an interesting attraction—it’s a classic. But be sure to arrive before ten a.m. or after three p.m., so you don’t have to wait in line for the cable car.

The Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer is one of the unavoidable landmarks of Rio de Janeiro.

Corcovado

Corcovado (or the “camel-back mount” in a loose translation) is another trademark Brazilian landscape. It includes the forty-meter-tall statue of Cristo Redentor (“Christ the Redeemer”) at the top, which was inaugurated in 1931. 

The hill is open for hiking (the path is steep, be warned) or you can enjoy the ride by train or taxi-van; either way, you’ll be able to take in quite a view at the top. Once again, book tickets for the ride and visit beforehand, if possible.

Another classic touristic feature of the city, Corcovado combines architectural and natural elements for tourists to enjoy.

Leblon Beach

Leblon Beach, or Praia do Leblon, stands right beside Ipanema Beach on the same strip of sand. Despite being less popular than its neighbor, Leblon Beach is equally beautiful and much cleaner; it’s also less crowded.

If you only have time to visit one of these beaches, Leblon should be your number-one pick. To find it, aim just below Morro Dois Irmãos (“The Two Brothers Hill”), which, by the way, is open for hiking and presents a beautiful view without requiring you to buy an expensive entrance ticket.

The Leblon neighborhood is located in the South Zone of Rio and is famous for having the most expensive residential square meter of the country. Apart from many luxury buildings, there are also good, affordable bars and restaurants as well as a shopping mall.

Leblon Beach is the ideal place to spend some hours relaxing, playing volleyball, bathing in the sea, and eating some good food. There are many food vendors and eating options nearby. Also, you can rent an umbrella or deckchair here.

Botanical Garden

Rio’s Jardim Botânico comprises 8,000 species of plants and 140 species of birds, all packed into an oasis in the middle of the city. The city’s Botanical Garden was created by decree of King Dom João VI in 1808, when his Court fled from Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal and moved to Brazil.

This hidden gem is an amazing place for a relaxing stroll, during which you can behold giant water lilies and hear the birds sing. There’s even a café inside! This location is ideal for people who love to get in touch with nature and relish the calmer moments of life. It’s budget-friendly and easily accessible via public transportation (R$7 entrance fee).

The Garden is fairly close to the Rodrigo de Freitas lake, which is another cool attraction to visit if you have more time to spend in town (see below).

Rio’s Art Museum

Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR) is a good pick for a rainy day and for people who want to get a deeper look into the city’s history. The entrance fee for this museum is R$20, though people under 21 can get in for half that price; the museum is free on Tuesdays and closed on Mondays.

The highlight of MAR is the permanent exhibition of historic paintings and photographs of Rio landmarks, though there are also temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. The collection assembles more than 8,000 items.

By visiting MAR, you’ll be able to comb through a rich collection of history, art, and architecture all in one place. That said, the fun begins before you even set foot inside the museum, since its site and surroundings are very interesting to visit.

It’s set in two buildings in the city center, in Praça Mauá (“Mauá Square”). One of them was King Dom João’s palace and the other a modernist bus terminal. Praça Mauá was founded in the early 1900s and refurbished in 2015. It’s the path of access to Rio’s port zone and to Museu do Amanhã (“Tomorrow’s Museum”), a Calatrava-designed science museum.

3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)

If you have more time available to visit Rio de Janeiro, there will be many opportunities for you to catch a clearer glimpse of what the carioca (a person born in the city of Rio) way of life looks like.

There are several must-visit places in Rio de Janeiro that we recommend you see during a longer stay.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lake

Located in the South Zone of Rio, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is a traditional promenade site often associated with sports. The lake is where rowing and nautical teams of famous Brazilian clubs (Flamengo, Vasco da Gama) meet up, and it’s located near Rio’s Jockey Club.

This is the perfect place for a stroll, since it features a nice bike lane and a boardwalk. If you’d like to experience a mild ambience in this sunny city, you’ll love the water view here!

Before hitting the boardwalk and watching the sun go down, you can head out to the bars, restaurants, markets, and grocery stores in the surrounding areas. Also, the lake is a “hub” that connects some of the city’s other cool attractions: the Botanical Garden, Parque Lage, Ipanema Beach, and the Natural Park of Catacumba.

A Father and Son Riding Bikes on a Nature Trail

Cycling in Rio is a fun and exciting option for discovering the city’s features on the street level.

Seaside Cycling

The seaside cycling lane is a relatively recent attraction in the city. The 14-km (8.7-mi.) bicycle circuit ranges from Marina da Glória up to Leblon. It’s increasingly popular among tourists, especially since some enterprises have started to provide bike-rent services.

The proposition here is simple, yet attractive: spend a small fee to rent a bike and ride along the bike lane that surrounds the shoreline of the city. This may be a nice option if you’re traveling with children, as it will allow them to spend some energy without having to plan much. Then you can relax at the beach at the end!

It’s also a great option for travelers on a honeymoon or friends on a group trip. You can experience the city from a fresh perspective and then chill around the world’s most beautiful natural views.

Samba Sessions

A samba session is called a Roda de samba, or “samba circle” when loosely translated. The crowd gathers around talented musicians to hear, sing, and dance. Hence, this is a highly energetic cultural experience and a celebration of life.

This is the best way to get in touch with a very distinct local rhythm being played in a traditional manner. Luckily, this major cultural asset of Rio is being promoted and kept very much alive through such platforms as the Rodas de Samba website, which is a digital agenda of concerts and samba sessions. Another resource is the Facebook page Rede Carioca de Rodas de Samba (“Carioca Samba Sessions Network”).

A Woman Lying in the Grass with Headphones On

Parque Lage is the ideal place for nature-lovers in Rio.

Lage Park

Parque Lage (pronounced “lah-jee”) is a peaceful place with jaw-dropping architecture, surrounded by the Tijuca National Park’s gardens. It’s a breathtaking park that offers easy access to seniors and people with disabilities.

Honeymooners can visit the free art gallery or sit at a table in the café, set in a reformed and stunning 1920s mansion. There are artificial caves to observe and twelve amazing aquarium tanks to explore with the kids.

The place is conveniently located very close to Rodrigo de Freitas lake—in fact, this area belonged to Freitas’s family for many years.

Glória Street Market

Feira da Glória is the biggest street market in the South Zone of Rio, held on Sundays from seven a.m. to four p.m. This is an interesting event for tourists because it’s an authentic local option for inhabitants eager to buy groceries and eat out.

The Glória Street Market presents a lot of fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables. In addition, there’s no shortage of opportunities to taste a wide array of street foods, purchase clothing, and admire artisanship.

This is a budget-friendly, fascinating place to spend a few hours exploring, eating, and watching some local attractions. Gourmands fill their bellies while watching Capoeira groups gather and walking through art-vending corridors of various expressions.

4. Portuguese Survival Phrases

A Woman Shouting Something

Knowing some basic phrases can help a lot when you visit Rio de Janeiro.

Knowing the best places to visit in Rio de Janeiro is a good first step. But we also recommend that you learn some basic expressions in Portuguese to help you get around and communicate more effectively with the locals. 

These are the most relevant Portuguese survival phrases for travelers visiting Rio de Janeiro:

  • “Hello!” – Olá!
  • “Thank you.” – Muito obrigado. (masculine) / Muito obrigada. (feminine)
  • “Goodbye!” – Tchau!
  • “Sorry.” – Me desculpa. / Desculpe.
  • “Very good.” – Muito bom!
  • “I don’t/can’t understand you.” – Não estou te entendendo. / Não consigo te entender.
  • “Where is the restroom?” – Onde fica o banheiro?
  • “How much is it?” – Quanto custa isto?
  • “I want this.” – Eu quero isto. / Eu quero este (this one).
  • “Help!” – Socorro! / Ajuda, por favor!

Conclusion

You’ve just read about the most interesting places to visit in Rio de Janeiro and learned some essential expressions to communicate in the city. But why stop there? 

PortuguesePod101.com is packed with digital libraries containing fun and effective lessons for language learners of all levels. Our platform brings together brief thematic entries and complex grammar lessons, both presented in a light and engaging fashion. Don’t miss this rich opportunity. 

Before you go: Which location do you most want to visit, and why?

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Discover Porglish: Common English Words Used in Portuguese

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In this interconnected world, it’s no surprise that many English words have made their way into the Portuguese vocabulary. As we consume entertainment from other cultures and travel the globe, the constant exchanges result in new words and an ever-expanding language. 

The term Porglish (or Portuglish) refers to the phenomenon of using both English and Portuguese words in a given sentence. Many of the common English words used in Portuguese entered the language via English speakers living in Portuguese-speaking countries (and vice-versa). Now, with the internet and the limitless opportunities to watch movies or listen to songs from anywhere in the world, the Porglish phenomenon has become more widespread. 

For Portuguese-speaking millennials, born in the social media era, Porglish words are part of the daily vocabulary. This is, in part, because English words that were introduced in the past are now better consolidated into the Portuguese language. On the other hand, English words are entering the language faster than ever due to the always-developing digital landscape. For many of the same reasons, you’ll also find a few English words of Portuguese origin. 

In this article, we will cover all sides of the Porglish phenomenon: common English words in Portuguese, changes in pronunciation, and the most common loanwords between the two languages.

Ready to discover the curious world of Porglish?

A Woman Walking Along a Busy Street with Her Cell Phone and Headphones

You won’t need to translate a lot of words related to technology!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Some Traps
  2. Friendly Loanwords
  3. Pronouncing Brand Names and Titles in Portuguese
  4. Portuguese Words in English
  5. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. Some Traps

To start, let’s look at some English words used in Portuguese with a different meaning than the original. 

They can be a bit tricky, leading you to think they mean one thing when they’re something else entirely. But as you can see, there are not too many of them—and seeing these different translations might even make you laugh!

  • Chip
In English, a “chip” can refer to many things: a computer chip, a snack food, or a fragmentation of something. In Brazil, it’s the word used for SIM cards. 
Preciso comprar um novo chip pro meu celular. (“I need to buy a new SIM card for my cell phone.”)

  • Outdoor
In English, it means “done, situated, or used out of doors.”In Brazil, it’s used to refer to billboards.
Você viu aquele outdoor? (“Did you see that billboard?”)

  • Step
In English, this word has several meanings: a “doorstep,” the act of putting one foot in front of the other, or a stage of a project or process. In Brazil, it refers to the spare tire kept in cars.
Não se preocupe, temos um step no porta-malas. (“Don’t worry, we have a spare tire in the trunk.”)

  • Smoking
In English, “smoking” is often associated with cigarettes or cigars.In Brazil, it refers to a tuxedo.
Quero usar um smoking para o evento. (“I want to use a tuxedo for the event.”) 
The origin of the word smoking in Brazilian Portuguese can probably be traced back to when smoking jackets were popular—although they are very different from a tuxedo. A smoking jacket is an informal lounge jacket normally made from velvet or silk, while a tuxedo (smoking, in Brazil) is considered semi-formal attire for evening events.

  • Notebook
In English, the word “notebook” is used to refer to a small, slim type of laptop computer. It can also refer to a paper notebook. In Brazil, the word refers to all kinds of laptops.
Você vai comprar um novo notebook? (“Are you going to buy a new laptop?”)

A Man Wearing an Elegant Tuxedo

Você fica muito elegante de smoking. (“You look very elegant in a tuxedo.”)

2. Friendly Loanwords

Now, let’s look at English loanwords used in Brazil with their original English meaning. Learning these loanwords will give you quite an advantage, since they will automatically boost your vocabulary! 

Here are some examples for you, but keep in mind that there are many more Portuguese words of English origin for you to discover.

Business

Merchandise O merchandising continua a ser muito importante para nossa empresa. (“Merchandising continues to be very important for our business.”)

RoyaltyO livro terá os royalties revertidos para caridade. (“The book will have its royalties reverted to charity.”)

PerformanceSua performance foi impressionante este ano. (“Your performance this year was impressive.”)

FreelancePrecisamos contratar um freelancer para essa tarefa. (“We need to hire a freelancer for this task.”)

RankingNosso competidor lidera o ranking de melhor empresas para investir. (“Our competitor leads the ranking of best companies to invest in.”)

Food

DeliveryEstamos abertos para delivery. (“We are open for delivery.”)

LightCompra a opção light pra mim, por favor. (“Buy the light version for me, please.”)

DietNão gosto de produtos diet. (“I don’t like diet products.”)

Milkshake Adoro milkshake de chocolate! (“I love chocolate milkshakes!”)
In Portugal, it’s also called batido.

BaconQuer adicionar mais uma porção de bacon? (“Do you want to add an extra portion of bacon?”)
The words toucinho and torresmo can also be used, although bacon is already more popular amongst younger generations. 

CupcakeQue tal um cupcake de sobremesa? (“What about a cupcake for dessert?”)
Other baked goods that keep their English name in Portuguese are: brownie, waffle, cake pop.

Self-serviceTem um restaurante self-service aqui perto. (“There is a self-service restaurant closeby.”)
Pay per kilo self-service restaurants are very common in Brazil.

Happy hourVamos no happy hour hoje? (“Are we going to the happy hour today?”)

Some words have minor changes in the way they are written, but you can still recognize them.

PiclesO picles acabou, pode comprar mais para mim? (“I’m out of pickles, can you buy some more for me?”)

UísqueEsse uísque é um dos melhores que temos. (“This whiskey is one of the best we have.”)

SanduícheEstou com vontade de comer um sanduíche! (“I’m craving a sandwich!”)

HambúrguerVou te levar para comer o melhor hambúrguer do mundo! (“I’ll take you to eat the best hamburger in the world!”)
When it comes to cheeseburgers, these are often called X-burguer, because in Portuguese, the letter x sounds similar to the word “cheese.”


Technology

MouseAcho que o meu mouse quebrou. (“I think my mouse is broken.”)
In Portugal, the literal translation of “mouse” is more commonly used: rato.

EmailQual é o seu email? (“What is your email?”)

Site / WebsitePreciso criar um site para o nosso restaurante. (“I need to create a website for our restaurant.”) 

ChatVou perguntar no chat no site da empresa. (“I’ll ask in the chat on the company’s website.”)

InternetA velocidade da nossa internet é muita boa. (“The speed of our internet is very good.”)

DownloadNão consigo fazer download do documento. (“I can’t download the document.”)

TabletQuero comprar um tablet novo. (“I want to buy a new tablet.”)

There are also several new and easily recognizable verbs used in Portuguese that derive from English technology-related words. 

DeletarVou deletar esses documentos. (“I’ll delete these documents.”)

LogarConseguiu logar no site? (“Were you able to log in to the site?”) 

HackearHackear não é muito difícil. (“Hacking is not very hard.”)

PausarVou fazer pipoca, pausa o filme. (“I’ll make popcorn; pause the movie.”)

PostarPosso postar essa foto? (“May I post this photo?”)

Sports and Entertainment

FitnessÉ muito difícil ser fitness. (“It’s very hard to be fit.”)
“Fitness” is used colloquially as an adjective to indicate being fit or liking to exercise.

Personal trainerVamos contratar uma personal trainer esse ano. (“We’ll hire a personal trainer this year.”)

SurfeEssa praia é boa para surfar. (“This beach is good for surfing.”)

BoxeEle gosta muito de boxe. (“He really likes boxing.”)

HobbyMeu hobby é correr. (“My hobby is running.”)

SpoilerNão vai me dar spoiler! (“Don’t give me spoilers!”)

Video gameQuero jogar esse video game novo. (“I want to play this new video game.”)

TrailerJá assistiu ao trailer? É incrível! (“Have you seen the trailer? It’s incredible!”) 


Other Loanwords

JeansVocê gosta dessa calça jeans? (“Do you like these jeans?”)

ShortEstá calor, vou colocar um short. (“It’s hot, I’m putting on shorts.”)

CardigãNão esquece de trazer o meu cardigã. (“Don’t forget to bring my cardigan.”)

LaserO laser é muito utilizado na medicina. (“Lasers are often used in medicine.”)

SprayTambém temos esse produto em spray. (“We also have this product in spray.”)

FreezerO nosso freezer está cheio. (“Our freezer is full.”)

BullyingEssa campanha contra o bullying é importante. (“This campaign against bullying is important.”)

TáxiElas vão vir de táxi. (“They will come by taxi.”)

Air bagHoje em dia, todos os carros têm air bag. (“Nowadays, all cars have airbags.”)

Identical Twin Girls Raising Their Arms in the Air

You can think of loanwords as linguistic twins!

3. Pronouncing Brand Names and Titles in Portuguese

English brand names are generally not translated, while movie and book titles are.

That said, there are a few changes in the Brazilian pronunciation. The term for this is abrasileirar (“to make it Brazilian”).

1 – Rule of Thumb

Brand names are “made Brazilian” with a few slight pronunciation changes. In general, most of the English words that end in consonants other than R and L gain a slight Y sound. For example:

  • Facebook – pronounced as Facebook-y.
  • McDonald’s – pronounced as McDonaldy’s, or simply Méc-y.
  • Walmart – pronounced as Walmart-y.

2 – Acronyms

English names made up of acronyms are pronounced according to Portuguese phonetics. For example:

NameLetter soundLetter sound (IPA)
KFCCá – Efe – Cê/ka/ – /ˈɛfi/ – /se/
C&ACê – E – A/se/ – /i/ – /a/
H&MAgá – E – Eme/aˈɡa/ – /i/ – /ˈemi/
M&MEme – E – Eme/ˈemi/ – /i/ – /ˈemi/
IBMI – Bê – Eme/i/ – /be/ – /ˈemi/
LGEle – Gê/ˈɛli/ – /ʒe/
HPAgá – Pê/aˈɡa/ – /pe/

3 – Entertainment

Book and movie titles are generally translated to Portuguese. Sometimes those translations are almost literal, and other times they make no sense. Some of the most famous franchises, like Star Wars and The Hunger Games, might be recognized by their English names, but it’s a good idea to check the particular title in Portuguese.

Here are some famous titles and their Brazilian Portuguese version:

Original titleBrazilian Portuguese title
Star WarsGuerra nas Estrelas (“War in the stars”)
The HangoverSe Beber, Não Case (“If you drink, don’t get married”)
Die HardDuro de Matar (“Hard to kill”)
The Hunger GamesJogos Vorazes (“Voracious games”)
Home AloneEsqueceram de Mim (“They forgot me”)
The GodfatherO Poderoso Chefão (“The powerful big boss”)
Mean GirlsMeninas Malvadas (“Mean girls”)
TwilightCrepúsculo (“Twilight”)
The Sound of MusicA Noviça Rebelde (“The rebel novice”)
To Kill a MockingbirdO Sol É para Todos (“The sun is for all”)
Animal FarmA Revolução dos Bichos (“The animal revolution”)
    → Curious about other entertainment options that can help you learn Portuguese? Then check out our list of must-watch Brazilian TV shows!

A Woman Holding Popcorn and a Drink for the Movies

Going to watch a movie? Check the Portuguese title and see how different it is!

4. Portuguese Words in English

The relationship between Portuguese and English is not unilateral, and you can find several English words from Portuguese as well. 

Many of the Portuguese words you’ll encounter in English refer to food, animals, and culture. With time, as the internet and social media continue to connect us across borders, more people around the world recognize these Brazilian specialties, such as açaí and samba

CapoeiraAn Afro-Brazilian martial art that has spread across the world

SambaA Brazilian music genre, as well as a kind of dance

Bossa NovaA style of Brazilian music from the 1950s and 1960s

CaravelFrom the Portuguese word caravela, which is a small ship that was common between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries

Baroque From the Portuguese word barroco, which is a style of art, architecture, and music

AlbinoFrom the Portuguese and Spanish word albo, which comes from albus in Latin, meaning “white”

BreezeProbably from the Portuguese or Spanish word briza (nowadays, brisa), originating in the sixteenth century

AçaiThe fruit of a palm tree very common in northern Brazil (called Açaizeiro) that produces dark purple berries

CaramelFrom the Portuguese word caramelo

CashewFrom the Portuguese word cajú, the name of the fruit that carries the cashew nut (castanha de caju)

ManiocAlso known as cassava; comes from the indigenous Tupi word mandioca

MarmaladeFrom the Portuguese marmelada, meaning “quince jam”

MolassesFrom the Portuguese word melaço, the dark syrup obtained from sugar canes when refining sugar

MosquitoOriginated from the Portuguese word for the diminutive of mosca (“fly”), mosquito

Several Samba Dancers Dressed in Blue

The Brazilian samba is famous around the world!

Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

As you can see, English is very much present in the Portuguese language. Hopefully, this article helped you expand your Portuguese vocabulary and made you feel more confident about Porglish! And now you’ll also be able to impress your friends with your knowledge about the origin of words like “cashew” and “albino”! 

Did you enjoy learning about the English words used in Portuguese? Any Porglish details you wish we’d covered? Let us know in the comments. 

And now, it’s time to continue your Portuguese learning journey. You can read more in-depth articles about the language or go ahead and explore the numerous vocabulary lists or other free resources available on PortuguesePod101.com.

If you want to take your learning experience further, become a member! Members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence. 

Happy learning!

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Brazilian Culture: A Giant Leap in Your Portuguese Learning

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In your Portuguese studies, learning new vocabulary and grammar points is a fundamental aspect of improving your skills. But formal study alone cannot help you develop the linguistic abilities required to put your knowledge into action. Talking to local citizens of Portuguese-speaking countries is the most efficient way to truly acquire the language—and to do that well, you must have a basic understanding of their culture! 

Learning about Brazilian culture and traditions will make your time in this beautiful country much more fulfilling and significantly accelerate your language studies!

If we compare language to a beach during a hot summer, then local culture is the ocean that bathes its sand. Sure, you can visit the beach without stepping into the water—but the experience will be far superior when you put the ocean into the equation. If you’ve never been to a beach, for instance, chances are that you would need some time to process and understand the ocean: its sound, its smell, its magnitude…

Similarly, a person is never the same once they get in touch with other cultures, ideas, and values. It’s a personal transformation tool as well as a necessary step in effective language acquisition. 

In this lesson, you’ll learn the most relevant Brazilian culture facts and get a clearer picture of what life in Brazil looks like. Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Religions
  3. Family and Work
  4. Art
  5. Food
  6. Traditional Holidays
  7. Conclusion

1. Values and Beliefs

In many ways, the Portuguese have influenced the development of Brazilian culture and society. 

This influence is most clearly seen in the religious makeup of Brazil today. For instance, the Portuguese have a strong Catholic background which has affected our own views of family, time, and labor. In addition, the Anglo-Saxon cultures have introduced Brazil to Calvinist and Lutheran ideas, though these are not as popular here as Catholicism. This mix of outside religious influences has led to a unique mindset among Brazilians regarding spiritual and sensual topics. 

Despite these strong influences, the culture and customs of Brazil do differ from those of Portugal. Brazil officially lost its ‘colony’ status at the beginning of the nineteenth century. With this change in status, Portugal’s direct influence on Brazil diminished and the country has since developed a separate national identity. Today, there are several marked differences between Portuguese and Brazilian culture, most notably in how the two cultures view relationships and day-to-day interactions. 

Overall, Brazilians are welcoming and tolerant. In the same vein, informality is one of the central cultural aspects of Brazil. While this doesn’t imply a lack of etiquette in everyday relations, Brazilians do have a more loose and open approach to interacting with others. They also consider it important to show sympathy and humor. 

The most problematic Brazilian values and beliefs are linked to social inequality and education. 

Our nation’s education system is not doing well: recent data shows that the knowledge of Brazilian students is below the basic level in 68.1% of cases for mathematics and 50.1% of cases for reading. This leads to poor overall communication skills and may even lead to violent practices

Formal education in Brazil was not available until recently. While universities in Spanish America go as far back as 1538 (Universidad de Santo Domingo), Brazil’s first faculty only appeared in 1808 (Escola de Cirurgia da Bahia) and its first university in 1934 (Universidade de São Paulo). 

The press is another thing that didn’t start in Brazil until recently. Latin America’s press started in 1722, but Brazil’s first newspaper dates back to 1808. That year, the arrival of the King of Portugal and his court in Brazil instigated the creation of the press and the first real effort to create cultural institutions within the colony.

Brazil was also the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, and it failed to properly count this population as citizens. The ramifications of this can still be seen and felt today. Social distinctions and racism are very strong in Brazil, but are different or more veiled than in countries like the USA, for example.

Finally, Brazilians place much importance on one’s looks and personal hygiene. In fact, centuries ago, the indigenous people had a habit of bathing daily. On one hand, these traits promote health and tidiness; on the other, they lead to superficiality.        

2. Religions

A Bible with Rosary Beads on Top of It

Most Brazilians are Roman Catholic, but many other religions play an important role in the country.

A key component in understanding Brazilian culture is becoming familiar with its religious makeup and influences. 

Christianity (Roman Catholicism in particular) is the common denominator of the Lusophone religious background. Protestant denominations—including Assemblies of God, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Adventism—have been on the rise for the last 20-something years in many of these countries.

There are noticeable religious differences throughout the Lusophone countries. Portugal is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. Angola also has a strong Roman Catholic population, but it also features other religions and syncretic cults such as kimbangoism and tocoism. Mozambique’s population is 19% Muslim. And according to data from 2010, Guinea-Bissau’s population was 45% Muslim.

While Brazil is home to a mix of religions, the country is predominantly Christian. The most recent population census (2010) showed:

  • 65% Roman Catholic
  • 13.4% Neo-charismatic movement
  • 9% Evangelical from missions or undetermined
  • 8% No religion
  • 2% Spiritist
  • 2.6% Other

Spiritism and variations of the Afro-Brazilian religion candomblé are examples of expressive cults in the country that aren’t as present in other countries. Candomblé is an African-rooted religion with devotees in Brazil and other South American countries. There is also the Umbanda syncretism: This Brazilian religion was created at the beginning of the twentieth century and blends elements from Christian, Indigenous, and African traditions.

Though not depicted in the census, religions of African origins are very present in some regions of the land. These religions are often practiced by individuals without a strong African background, which is a great example of Brazil’s cultural diversity.

3. Family and Work

A Child Resting His Head on His Father’s Shoulder

Strong family bonds are a trademark of Brazilian people.

A- Family

Within Brazilian families, there is a strong sense of hierarchy. Children are expected to obey and respect their parents, for example. Men and women have more defined roles here than in most Western countries, yet this has been changing since the acute industrialization process of the 1970s. 

Here are some more facts about the Brazilian family structure:

  • Brazil ruled same-sex marriage legal in 2011.
  • Single-mother families compose just under 20% of Brazilian families. 
  • Nowadays, families are not very big. (Two generations ago, couples were expected to have many children.)

Another aspect of Brazilian culture that might seem odd to foreigners is that adults often live with their parents. This is common for two reasons: 

1) A large part of the population has low income.

2) There is a strong link between relatives.

Sometimes, relatives outside of one’s nuclear family—or even people who are not blood-related, but close to the family—live together. This custom began a long time ago, and was already depicted in the writings of nineteenth century author Machado de Assis, for instance.

B- Work

If you plan on working in Brazil, there are a few things to know about Brazilian culture in business and work settings.

There is a strong sense of hierarchy between boss and employee. Open criticism and confrontation in the workplace is usually not welcome: people tend to be indirect and “friendly” when commenting on others’ actions and ideas. Also, while Brazilians are often hard-working, the importance of work and entrepreneurship is tied more to survival than to one’s moral existence.

Informal communication is common in the workplace. Doing business in Brazil often involves spending time and eating meals with the other party and engaging in trivial conversations before closing the deal. Workplace clothing is typically formal, though there are exceptions.


4. Art

A Sketch of Antônio Carlos

Antônio Carlos “Tom” Jobim: the father of bossa nova is a Brazilian artistic icon.

Brazilian culture values modernist, contemporary, and urban arts, as well as literature. Jorge Amado, Paulo Coelho, Monteiro Lobato, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, and Clarice Lispector are some of the most famous authors. Popular names in the plastic arts include Romero Britto, Tarsila do Amaral, Alfredo Volpi, Vik Muniz, and Cândido Portinari.

Many Brazilians also appreciate Baroque art, which is inherently linked to both the religious use of art in the country and our traditional architecture. Antônio Francisco Lisboa, a.k.a. Aleijadinho (“Little Crip”), is one of the major Baroque icons. Indigenous art also resonates with a lot of people: patterns, war bonnets, bows, rattles, and wind instruments are some of its most accessible expressions.

There’s also an immense taste for handicraft, sculptures, art naïf, and cordel poetry. Cordel, for instance, are poetic accounts sold in the form of leaflets. These poetry books can be over sixty pages long, and they blend mythical and daily themes with humor and drama in a lyrical manner. Traditional artists from the Northeast have a lot to offer in this area. 

On the same note, Brazil is also a land of many musical rhythms. Samba became the most popular of them in the twentieth century, even though it began as a marginalized form of music associated with poor people. It can assume different expressions, such as syncopated, calm, frenetic, instrumental, or vocalized.

Axé is another famous example of Brazilian rhythm. It was conceived in the 1980s by merging elements of samba-reggae, pop rock, and other local genres to create a vibrant type of music. This musical style is especially popular during Carnival. The country is home to many other interesting rhythms as well, such as moda de viola, forró, and frevo. 

Brazil has local variations of rock, pop, rap, and electronica. Some of the most respected Brazilian musicians in these genres include Carlos Gomes, Heitor Villa-Lobos, João Gilberto, and Antônio Carlos Jobim. Modern musical options in Brazil’s entertainment culture range from Sepultura to Olodum—two radically different styles, yet distinctly authentic with external influences.

Our cinema production is relatively strong. While Brazilian cinematic releases are regularly being awarded internationally, they’re not usually very popular in-country. Brazilians are more interested in TV productions and, recently, digital films. Unfortunately, theatrical productions are pretty hard to come by. If you want to see a good play or opera, there are traditional state-funded theatres in some of the country’s biggest cities.

5. Food

A mango slice alongside a whole mango

The miraculous mango is just one sample of the many fruits available in Brazil.

Getting a taste of Brazilian food culture is an excellent introduction to the culture as a whole. The continental proportions of the country, its tropical characteristics, and its good weather conditions make Brazil one of the biggest places of food production in the world. It is known for its abundance of meat (poultry, beef, and pork), a huge variety of fish, grains, fruits, and fresh vegetables.

We have a rich gastronomy: Our traditional cuisine blends Portuguese, native (indigenous), and African elements. A few of our most popular food items include: 

  • Feijoada
  • Angu
  • Moqueca
  • Acarajé
  • Cuscuz
  • Charque
  • Manioc flour
  • Chicken
  • Okra
  • Tapioca

Now it’s time for dessert! We recommend you try:

  • Rapadura
  • Guava jam
  • Mungunzá
  • Milk pudding
  • Quindim

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, many other cultures have influenced our national food options. To give you an idea, a foreigner could find food from Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Arab, and Hebrew origins.


6. Traditional Holidays

In Brazilian culture, holidays are an essential aspect of life and reflect the people’s open, sociable nature as well as their religious views. Here’s an overview of the most important Brazilian holidays.

A- New Year

Huge parties welcome the new year in Brazil, also known as Réveillon. The beaches are filled with tourists, while middle-sized and big cities organize musical and cultural spectacles.

B- Carnival

Carnival used to be a very traditional national street and ballroom celebration, but the holiday was deeply changed by samba. Samba was a marginalized rhythm sung mostly by black populations at the dawn of the twentieth century. By the 1940s, it had become so popular that it was elevated to national symbol status during Getúlio Vargas’s dictatorship. 

Nowadays, Carnival is celebrated with sambadromes and street parades, accompanied by a variety of musical rhythms. Meanwhile, the country virtually stops for four days. The most famous celebrations take place in the cities of Recife, Salvador, and Rio de Janeiro.

C- Our Lady of Aparecida

This is the one of the biggest religious holidays in the country. Pilgrimage sites are filled and people devote their prayers to Our Lady of Aparecida, an image of the Holy Virgin that was found in the form of a statue in the Paraíba River in the eighteenth century. Even today, this black Madonna is associated with many miracles across the country.

Civic holidays:


7. Conclusion

Becoming familiar with the basics of Brazilian society and culture is an important part of your language studies. And studying with PortuguesePod101 is the most effective way to learn about Brazilian culture alongside the Portuguese language! 

We offer a range of learning materials, including grammar lessons, word lists, and video lessons for learners at every level. It doesn’t take much to get started with our fun and engaging lessons. Just sign up on PortuguesePod101.com today, and you’ll start noticing progress in no time.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how Brazil’s culture compares to that in your country. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Happy learning!

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