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Intermediate-level Portuguese Phrases You Should Know

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The transition from beginner to intermediate level is one of the hardest things when learning a new language. Maybe you’re already comfortable presenting yourself, asking simple questions, and getting directions in Portuguese. Now it’s time to convey more complex ideas, understand conversations with different tenses, and feel at ease speaking the language. This guide to intermediate Portuguese phrases is the perfect tool for getting beyond the beginner level!

This article includes more than 50 intermediate Portuguese phrases for informal and formal conversations. Learning these phrases will ensure you always have ready-to-go sentences to use in various situations—it will also help you see how to create your own phrases using similar structures. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be able to reminisce about the past, explain your choices, make recommendations, and more. We’ve even included sample dialogues to make it easy to understand!

Two Women Sitting on a Sofa Together and Having a Fun Conversation

Interesting conversations, here we go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Talking About the Past: Experiences and Stories
  2. Talking About the Future: Making Plans
  3. Giving Explanations and Reasons
  4. Making Recommendations and Criticisms
  5. Reacting to Everyday Conversations
  6. Be Polite: Etiquette Phrases
  7. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. Talking About the Past: Experiences and Stories

As a beginner, you focused a lot on learning the present tense. It really is a great way to get started because it helps you become familiar with many verbs in their simplest form. But to have better conversations in Portuguese, you’ll need to know how to use the past tense. This way, you’ll be able to tell stories, share past experiences, and talk about what you’ve done and felt before. 

The sentences below provide a blueprint to some useful patterns using the past tense. You can always use different nouns and verbs to tell your own anecdotes. 

Passei uma noite muito agradável.
I had a very pleasant evening.
Literally: I spent a very pleasant night.

Me diverti muito com você.
I had a lot of fun with you.

Ontem eu encontrei uma carteira na rua.
Yesterday, I found a wallet in the street.

Aquele foi o pior dia da minha vida.
That was the worst day of my life.

Quando eu era criança, eu não tinha medo de altura.
When I was a kid, I wasn’t afraid of heights.
Literally: When I was a kid, I didn’t have fear of height.

Eu já viajei para o Japão.
I have already traveled to Japan.

Teve uma vez que eu me perdi na floresta.
Once, I got lost in the forest.
Literally: There was one time when I lost myself in the forest.

No ano passado, comecei a aprender a tocar piano.
Last year, I started to learn how to play the piano.
Literally: In the last year, I started to learn to play piano.

Já faço aulas de dança há seis meses.
I’ve been taking dance lessons for six months.
Literally: I already take dance lessons for six months. 

Notice that the sentence in Portuguese uses the verb in the present tense, since the action began in the past but is still ongoing. 

A Woman Reading a Story to Two Toddlers in a Nursery Setting

Um dia, ela entrou na floresta encantada. (“One day, she entered the enchanted forest.”)

    ➜ Do you need a refresher on Portuguese verb conjugations and tenses? Check out this article for a complete guide.

2. Talking About the Future: Making Plans

To make plans, you can either 1) use one of the present tenses with a time-indicating word or 2) use the future tense. 

In this section, we have included phrases for both formal and informal scenarios. The vocabulary is slightly different, as is the way the verbs are used. That happens because, when speaking informally in Brazilian Portuguese, the future tense of the auxiliary verb ir (“to go”) is used with the infinitive form of the main verb. In formal situations, it’s more common to use the verb in the future tense.

For example:

  • Informal: Você vai viajar amanhã? (“Will you travel tomorrow?”)
  • Formal: O senhor viajará amanhã? (“Will you travel tomorrow [sir]?”)

Formal situations

Nós iremos discutir este assunto na reunião desta tarde.
We will discuss this matter in this afternoon’s meeting.

É possível agendar uma consulta para semana que vem?
Is it possible to schedule an appointment for next week?

Podemos marcar uma reunião por Zoom na próxima semana para discutir os detalhes.
We can arrange a meeting by Zoom next week to discuss the details.

Podemos remarcar a apresentação.
We can reschedule the presentation.

O que o senhor / a senhora fará neste final de semana?
What will you do this weekend?
Literally: What will the sir / the lady do on this weekend?

Casual situations

O que você vai fazer neste fim de semana?
What are you going to do this weekend?

Vamos marcar algo!
Let’s schedule / arrange something!

Vamos combinar um jantar?
Let’s arrange a dinner?

Nos vemos no sábado?
See you Saturday?
Literally: See ourselves on Saturday?

Você tem tempo para sair hoje?
Do you have time to go out today?

Que tal pedir uma pizza esta noite?
How about ordering a pizza tonight?
Literally: What about ask a pizza tonight?

Posso levar meu namorado / minha namorada?
Can I take my boyfriend / girlfriend?

Vou deixar para a próxima.
I’ll leave it for next time.
Literally: I’ll leave it for the next.

A Group of Friends Eating Outdoors Together with Drinks

Vamos celebrar esta tarde!(“We will celebrate this afternoon!”)

    ➜ You can review how auxiliary verbs are used (as well as a hundred useful verbs to spice up your intermediate Portuguese phrases) in this complete guide by PortuguesePod101!

3. Giving Explanations and Reasons

Many times, when telling a story or having a conversation, we need to explain the “why” behind our decisions. You can easily do this—and level up your sentences—by using one of the numerous Portuguese conjunctions available to you! 

After all, being able to make our motivations clear is super important in connecting with people. At the same time, learning these intermediate Portuguese phrases and patterns will allow you to understand the reasons and explanations that people give you.

Eu contei a verdade para a professora, porque eu não gosto de mentir.
I told the truth to the teacher because I don’t like to lie.

Nós temos que pensar nos prós e contras.
We have to think about the pros and cons.

Eu vou esperar pelo outro ônibus, então temos tempo para conversar.
I will wait for the other bus, so we have time to talk.

É bom que você não quebre nada, senão terá que pagar.
You better not break anything; otherwise, you’ll have to pay.
Literally: It’s good that you don’t break anything; otherwise, you’ll have to pay. 

Eu acho que você tomou a decisão certa, sabe por quê? Porque você seguiu sua intuição.
I think you made the right decision. Do you know why? Because you followed your intuition.
Literally: I think you took the right decision. Do you know why? Because you followed your intuition.

Como você demorou para chegar, já fiz o jantar.
Since you took so long to arrive, I already made dinner.

Tome cuidado para não cair. 
Be careful not to fall.
Literally: Take care not to fall.

Este filme é o meu preferido! Primeiramente, tem esse ator que é muito bom. Em segundo lugar, a trilha sonora é maravilhosa. E em terceiro lugar, sempre me faz sorrir.
This movie is my favorite! First, there is this actor who is very good. Second, the soundtrack is wonderful. And third, it always makes me smile.
In Portuguese, there is a word for “firstly” (primeiramente) but not for “secondly,” “thirdly,” etc. 

Instead, we use an expression: em segundo lugar (literally “in second place”), em terceiro lugar (literally “in third place”), etc.

You can also use the expression for “firstly” (em primeiro lugar).

A Woman Holding a Bowl of Salad for Her Husband

Você tem que comer salada para manter sua saúde. (“You have to eat salad to maintain your health.”)

    ➜ There are many conjunctions in Portuguese for expressing causality and adding information. Take a look at this handy guide to conjunctions to learn how to use them and polish your intermediate Portuguese phrases.

4. Making Recommendations and Criticisms

Likes and dislikes are common topics of conversation, especially when you first meet someone. People may want to know your favorite book, color, or local restaurant. Maybe you’ll even want to give recommendations or let people know to steer clear of an establishment. 

The following Portuguese phrases for the intermediate level are perfect for these situations. Once again, remember that you can always swap out words when using these sentence patterns in order to make all kinds of recommendations or complaints. 

Este é o meu cabeleireiro preferido.
This is my favorite hairdresser.
Literally: This is my preferred hairdresser.

Esta é a minha praça favorita.
This is my favorite plaza.

To talk about your preferences, use either the adjective favorito (“favorite”) or preferido (“preferred”). Remember that these adjectives have to agree in gender and number with the noun. 

  • O meu livro favorito é Harry Potter e o Prisioneiro de Azkaban. (“My favorite book is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”)
  • A minha sorveteria preferida fechou. (“My favorite ice cream shop closed.”)
  • As minhas atividades favoritas são correr e cozinhar. (“My favorite activities are running and cooking.”)

Você tem que experimentar / provar isto! É a melhor torta que eu já comi!
You have to try it! It’s the best pie I’ve ever had!
Literally: You have to experiment / to taste this! It’s the best pie that I’ve already eaten!

You can use these two verbs interchangeably to talk about trying food. 

Minha família amou este parque de diversões! Com certeza voltaremos.
My family loved this amusement park! We will definitely be back.

Eu não recomendo este dentista. O atendimento deixou muito a desejar.
I do not recommend this dentist. The service was disappointing.
Literally: I do not recommend this dentist. The service left a lot to be desired.

Evite comprar roupa naquela loja: é cara e as roupas não são de qualidade.
Avoid buying clothes in that store: It’s expensive, and the clothes aren’t of (good) quality.

A Woman in a Yellow Shirt Getting Ready for the Movies

Assistir filmes é a minha atividade favorita! (“Watching movies is my favorite activity!”)

    ➜ Being able to talk about your likes and dislikes is an essential skill—it makes for interesting conversations and allows us to actually get to know other people. Be sure to check the resources available on PortuguesePod101.com to master this topic!

5. Reacting to Everyday Conversations

It’s time to see sample dialogues using some of the sentences we’ve covered today, as well as some new phrases. To make things more interesting, each sample dialogue includes a reaction. By learning Portuguese phrases for reacting to statements, you’ll be able to have more natural conversations!

1 – Excitement

A: Eu já viajei para o Japão. (“I have already traveled to Japan.”)
B: Ai, que demais! E você gostou? (“Oh, how awesome! And did you like it?”)

A: Comprei este vestido em promoção. (“I bought this dress on sale.”)
B: Legal! Ele é lindo! (“Cool! It’s pretty.”)

Other expressions you can use to convey excitement:

  • Boa! (“Good one!”)
  • Oba! or Eba! (“Yay!”)
  • Que bom! (“That’s good!”)
  • Demais! (“Awesome!”)

2 – Disbelief and Surprise

A: Eu perdi minha carteira na festa. (“I lost my wallet at the party.”)
B: Sério? Não pode ser! Ela caiu do seu bolso? (“Seriously? It can’t be! Did it fall out of your pocket?”)

A: Ela vai perder o voo, ainda está presa no trânsito. (“She’s going to miss her flight; she’s still stuck in traffic.”)
B: Você só pode estar brincando! (“You have got to be kidding!”)

Other expressions for reacting with surprise or disbelief:

  • É mesmo? (“Really?”)
  • Caramba! (This can be used as “Darn!” but also to express surprise, similar to “Oh my!” or “Wow!”)
  • Nossa Senhora! (Literally, it means “Our Lady,” and it refers to the religious figure Our Lady of Aparecida. Very commonly used as “Oh my!” or “Gee!”)
  • Nossa! (“Oh my!” This is a shortened version of the previous expression.)
  • Meu Deus! (“My God!”)
  • Meu Deus do céu! (“My God in Heaven!”)

3 – Bad News

A: Como você demorou para chegar, já fiz o jantar. (“Since you took so long to arrive, I already made dinner.”) 
B: Desculpa, eu achei que ia chegar mais cedo. (“Sorry, I thought I was going to arrive earlier.”)

A: Minha mãe quebrou a perna. (“My mom broke her leg.”)
B: Ah não, sinto muito! Espero que ela melhore logo. (“Oh no, I’m sorry! I hope she gets better soon.”)

A: Nos vemos no sábado? (“See you Saturday?”)
B: Não posso, tenho que estudar. (“I can’t; I have to study.”)
A: Que pena! Fica para a próxima, então. (“What a pity! Next time, then.”)

4 – That’s Annoying

A: A minha sorveteria preferida fechou. (“My favorite ice cream shop closed.”)
B: Que droga, era a melhor da cidade! (“Shoot, it was the best in town!”)

A: Vamos ter que cancelar a festa porque vai chover o dia todo. (“We’re going to have to cancel the party because it’s going to rain all day.”)
B: Que saco! Já estava animada para ver todo mundo. (“Darn it! I was already excited to see everyone.”)

Que saco! can also be used to indicate that something is boring, as in “How boring!”

6. Be Polite: Etiquette Phrases

Whether you’re in a casual situation with friends or in a formal business setting, polite etiquette phrases can improve the mood. It’s a good idea to learn these sentences so you can use them with coworkers, for example. At the very least, by becoming familiar with them, you’ll understand when people are being polite to you! Below are some basic Portuguese phrases for intermediate learners who want to make a great impression. 

Bom apetite!
Enjoy your meal!
Literally: Good appetite!

Olá, como posso ajudar? 
Hello, how can I help?

Se precisar de ajuda, é só me chamar.
If you need help, just call me.
This phrase has a more informal tone, and you might hear it in department stores, for example.

Estou à sua disposição.
I am at your disposal.
In more formal establishments, the staff will use this phrase instead of the previous one.

Bem-vindos à nossa casa!
Welcome to our home! [plural]

Sinta-se à vontade. 
[Formal]
Fique à vontade. 
[Informal]
Make yourself comfortable.Make yourself comfortable.
Literally: Feel at ease.Literally: Stay at ease.

Sintam-se em casa.
Make yourself at home.
Literally: Feel at home.

Saúde!
Bless you!
Literally: Health!

You can say saúde when someone sneezes. Saúde is also used when making toasts!

Boa viagem!
Enjoy your trip!
Literally: Good travel!

Na expectativa de um contato seu. 
[Formal]
Waiting for your contact.
Literally: In the expectation of your contact.

Aguardo sua resposta. 
[Formal]
Fico no aguardo. 
[Informal]
I look forward to your reply.I look forward to your reply.
Literally: I await your reply.Literally: I stay in wait.

Volte sempre.
Thank you for your business.
Literally: Come back always.

A Businesswoman Extending Her Hand for a Handshake

Being polite in business settings is a key to success.


7. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

Are you ready to put these handy Portuguese phrases to the test? Start using them in your conversations, and see just how much more you’ll be able to communicate. Remember to not only use the phrases we presented today but make them your own by swapping out nouns and verbs. 

Do you think we missed any useful intermediate Portuguese phrases? Has this article been useful in helping you improve your Portuguese as an intermediate learner? Drop us a comment below to let us know. We’d love to hear from you! 

Before you go, explore some of the amazing free Portuguese resources we have prepared for you, and try out any of the Portuguese 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, create your free lifetime account today. Members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons and reviews 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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