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Você Merece Até a Lua: A Guide to Compliments in Portuguese

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Você merece até a lua. (“You’re so great, you deserve everything.” Literally: “You deserve the moon.”)

Few things can help your Portuguese thrive like bonding with native speakers. So what’s the first step in successfully expanding your communication with others? Learning compliments in Portuguese.

One doesn’t need to be “fake” to observe someone and identify personal traits worth mentioning. Compliments are not only a gateway to others’ attention, but also to their culture and habits—you need to formulate them correctly according to the context and local use.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to a compilation of European Portuguese compliments and compliments in Brazilian Portuguese. If you practice them enough, they may make the Portuguese more open to dialogue and the Brazilian more prone to cooperate.

Hopefully, the 20+ options in this article will provide you with a good initial reference as a beginner- or intermediate-level speaker. We’ll cover how to value someone’s work, how to compliment a girl in Portuguese, some other European and Brazilian Portuguese compliments, and the best way to deliver compliments in a Portuguese-speaking country.

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Table of Contents

  1. Complimenting Someone’s Look
  2. Complimenting Someone’s Work
  3. Complimenting Someone’s Skills
  4. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere
  5. What to Expect After Giving Compliments
  6. A raspa do tacho

1. Complimenting Someone’s Look

Before either person opens their mouth, one’s appearance can say a lot about them. In this vein, both girls and boys have a hard time resisting a good compliment in Portuguese! Looks aren’t everything, but they surely are something.

So how do you compliment someone in Portuguese about their looks? Here are some phrases you can remember:

  • Você é linda/lindo. (“You are beautiful/handsome.”)
  • Que bonita(o) está hoje. (“You look good today.”)
  • Você tem um sorriso lindo. (“You have a beautiful smile.”)
  • Você é muito charmoso(a). (“You’re very charming.”)
  • Você é estiloso(a). (“You’re stylish.”)
  • Que gatinho(a)! (“What a beauty!” Literally: “What a kitty!”)

A Black-and-white Cat against a White Background

(Que gatinha! [“What a kitty!”])

Many people struggle to come up with appropriate compliments for women in Portuguese. Pretty girls often get bored of being called pretty, for instance. Neither do people like to be judged only by their looks. So here are some more original ways to compliment a girl in Portuguese:

  • Seu ____ é muito giro. (“You’re wearing a very fine _______.”) — Portugal only.
  • Que elegância! (“You look elegant!”)
  • Você tem um ótimo senso de humor! (“You have a great sense of humor!”)
  • Adoro suas manias. (“I love your ways.” Literally: “I love your mania.”)
  • Você me inspira. (“You inspire me.”)
  • Você tem um coração lindo. (“You have a beautiful heart.”)

The following compliments aren’t strictly related to looks, but are examples of more original ways to compliment a girl in Portuguese.

You are the sunshine of my life.

Here’s a little selection for those who are madly in love. In any other context, these would sound cheesy. But in a moment of extreme intimacy and chemistry, just go for it.

  • Você me faz querer ser uma pessoa melhor. (“You make me want to be a better person.”)
  • Eu só tenho olhos para você. (“I only have eyes for you.”)
  • Sua beleza é enigmática. (“You have an enigmatic beauty.”)
  • Não existe nada que soe mal na sua voz. (“Nothing that is spoken in your voice sounds bad.”)

2. Complimenting Someone’s Work

Compliments in Portuguese are desirable in workplaces. Any manual on “how to be a boss” will recommend the reasonable use of compliments or the regular mentioning of employees’ best characteristics to motivate a team.

Not only is giving compliments a good management maneuver, but is there anything more flattering than receiving appreciation for a job well-done? That’s a very useful way to employ a compliment in Portuguese!

One Woman Supervising Another Woman on the Job

(Foi trabalho muito bem-feito! [“That was a very well-done job!”])

Giving a compliment in Portuguese about someone’s professional abilities is easier than flirting: the language is plain and the speaker only needs to worry about not sounding too informal.

  • Bom trabalho! (“Good job!”)
  • Matou dois coelhos com uma cajadada só! (“You were very efficient!” Literally: “You’ve killed two rabbits with only one stroke.” Equivalent to “kill two birds with one stone.”) — Less formal & Brazil only.
  • Meus parabéns! (“Congratulations!”)
  • Foi trabalho muito bem-feito! (“That was a very well-done job!”)
  • O seu currículo é impressionante! (“You have an impressive resumé!”)
  • Mandou bem! (“Good one!”) — Less formal

3. Complimenting Someone’s Skills

Compliments

Friendship is a rich source of compliments in Portuguese. Here are some Portuguese compliments to express your confidence in someone:

  • Você é um(a) ótimo(a) amiga(o)! (“You’re a great friend!”)
  • Estou contigo e não abro! (“You can count on me.” Literally: “I’m with you and won’t open.”) — Brazil only.
  • Você me faz feliz. (“You make me happy.”)
  • És muito fixe. (“You’re very nice.”) — Portugal only.

In more general situations, here are some common ways to compliment someone’s skills:

  • Você _______ muito bem! (“You are very good at ______!”)
  • Você é muito ________! (“You are very ______!”)

The blank in the second sentence can be filled with adjectives, such as:

  • Interessante (“Interesting”)
  • Forte (“Strong”)
  • Engraçado(a) (“Funny”)
  • Divertido(a) (“Fun”)
  • Sincero(a) (“Sincere”)
  • Atlético(a) (“Athletic”)
  • Alto astral (“Joyful”) — Informal.

Also, there are some types of compliments in Portuguese you can direct to people you’re not very close to in a social context. For instance, compliments to the chef in Portuguese:

  • Meus cumprimentos ao chefe! (“I send my compliments to the chef!”)
  • A comida estava excelente! (“The food was excellent!”)
  • Você cozinha como um profissional! (“You cook like a professional!”)

A Chef Chopping Vegetables

(Meus cumprimentos ao chefe! [“I send my compliments to the chef!”])

4. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere

Positive Feelings

This section relates more to the delivery of compliments in Portuguese than to the vocabulary itself. Here are some tips on how to compliment in Portuguese in a way that’s believable and meaningful:

  • Don’t be afraid to compliment too much, as long as your compliments are honest.
  • Only say what you truly mean—or at least what you can support rationally.
  • Don’t trade an interesting talk for cheap compliments.
  • Match the emotion of your voice with the message you’re sending.
  • Use proper posture. Look people in the eye while you give them compliments.

5. What to Expect After Giving Compliments

People in Brazil react differently to compliments in Portuguese than people in Portugal do. Apart from silly stereotypes, there are some cultural trends involved in this matter. Compliments in Portuguese culture are very interesting to get an initial reaction to, since the people here are more socially closed or shy than Brazilian people.

One might expect both Portuguese and Brazilian people to show appreciation for the compliment:

  • Obrigadinho! (“Thank you very much!”) — Portugal only.
  • São os seus olhos… (“It’s in your eyes…”)
  • Muito amável! (“Thanks!” Literally: “Very lovely!”)
  • Obrigado(a)! (“Thank you!”)
  • Valeu! (“Thanks!”) — Informal & Brazil only.

Then, the target of the compliment might respond with a reciprocal compliment.

Considering that compliments in Portuguese culture are a way of bonding, the reception of the compliment tends to be different in Portugal and Brazil.

For example, a stranger who offers too many compliments in a first conversation is more likely to make a Portuguese person feel uptight, while a Brazilian person would feel more comfortable. The Portuguese tend to be a little “colder,” while Brazilians might create a type of “instant intimacy.”

This intimacy is often fake, but it’s a common cultural trait to treat a friendly stranger nominally as a member of the family. That is, to make someone feel comfortable in social environments and make the conversation more interesting (or at least more bearable, in bad cases).

A Group of Women Surrounding an Older Man at a Picnic

(An apparent intimacy is sometimes only momentary…)

This might send the wrong message to a foreigner. For instance: a Brazilian who, in the first conversation, shares information that sounds too personal to a foreigner can be interpreted as real interest or flirting. Often, it means nothing, though.

Brazilian Portuguese compliments sometimes focus on things that Europeans would never mention. This piece of information is especially useful for flirty guys looking to compliment a girl in Portuguese. When getting in touch with the foreign culture, pay equal attention to the social dynamics and the compliments in Brazilian Portuguese.

Having said that, Portuguese people won’t usually react badly to compliments. They only take more time to establish confidence and are more literal in their approach. Compliments that are more specific will communicate better than broad ones.

6. A raspa do tacho

So, we’ve achieved a raspa do tacho—the end. This article has presented some of the most common and effective ways to give compliments in Portuguese.

Most of these are Brazilian Portuguese compliments, but can also be used in Portugal, Angola, and other Portuguese-speaking countries. This little guide will direct your steps toward success as you communicate with people from these countries.

Always remember that practice makes perfect, so you can always broaden your knowledge with new lessons, articles, audio files, and videos at PortuguesePod101.com.

Compliments in Brazilian Portuguese are a quick step to shorten distances between people. The most fascinating information about them actually shows up when the vocabulary is applied to real-life situations. The real dynamics with other cultures are very rich, and it’s where at least half of the interest in language use is.

What are common compliments in your language? Share them with us in the comments below!

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