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Learn Portuguese Phone Call Phrases and Talk with Ease

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The biggest challenge for most language learners is actually speaking their target language. In order to have successful interactions with native speakers, one must have a solid working knowledge of the language in question. But luckily, we can also rely on subtle cues from body language, eye movement, and even the context to help us navigate our conversations with others.

That is, unless we’re on a phone call. 

When speaking on the phone, we no longer have this additional input to fall back on. 

If the thought of having a telephone conversation in Portuguese makes you anxious, you’re not alone. This is a common fear among learners of the language! How can you expect to put together a coherent sentence on the phone with a stranger, when it’s hard enough chatting with friends and acquaintances in person? 

But if you know the rules, the game will be much easier to play. If you practice, you may actually end up enjoying the game! 

In this article, we’ll teach you the most useful Portuguese phone call phrases for each stage of a phone conversation. Knowing these phrases will prepare you to greet your interlocutor, introduce yourself, handle both casual and professional calls, deal with connection issues, and much more. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be able to handle any phone call in Portuguese with greater ease and confidence—whether you’re phoning a friend, your boss, or a complete stranger.


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Vocabulary Terms Related to Phone Calls
  2. Picking up the Phone
  3. Introducing Yourself
  4. Stating the Reason for Your Call
  5. Asking to Speak to Someone
  6. Asking Someone to Hold
  7. Leaving a Message
  8. Asking for Clarification
  9. Ending the Phone Call
  10. Samples of Telephone Conversations in Portuguese
  11. Takeaway

1. Vocabulary Terms Related to Phone Calls

An Old Woman Standing in a Crosswalk, Looking Down at Her Phone and Smiling

Let’s get into the basics before we reach out to make a call, right?

Before you jump right into your next phone call, it would be wise to learn some general Portuguese phone call words and phrases. Here are some common terms you should know: 

  • Telefone – “Phone”
  • (Telefone) celular – “Mobile phone”
  • Telefone fixo – “Landline”
  • Bateria – “Battery”
  • Carregador – “Charger”
  • Carregar / Recarregar – “To charge” / “To recharge”
  • Ligação (telefônica) – “Phone call”
  • Número de telefone – “Phone number”
  • Ligar – “To call”
  • Desligar – “To hang up”
  • Ligar de volta / Retornar – “To call back”
  • O telefone está tocando – “The phone is ringing”

You might want to learn some specific vocabulary related to mobile phones in our free vocabulary list Screen Time: Words and Phrases for Using Your Smartphone on PortuguesePod101.com.

Some phone phrases in Portuguese are suitable for both formal and informal contexts. Those that are only suitable in formal contexts are distinguished through the use of formal language. Here are some respectful terms you might use during a formal or professional phone call:

  • Doutor / Doutora – “Doctor” or “Dr.”
  • Senhor “Mr.”
  • Senhorita – “Ms.”
  • Senhora / Dona – “Mrs.” 

2. Picking up the Phone

Of course, your Portuguese phone conversation is going to start with a greeting. There are three common ways to answer the phone in Portuguese:

  • Alô! – “Hello!”
  • Pronto. – “Ready (to talk).”
  • Estou. [Portugal] – “I am (listening).”

The most frequent phone greeting in Portuguese is Alô, though older people tend to answer the phone by saying their name or family name. This goes back to when landline phones were more common and people could not see who was calling or picking up. 

3. Introducing Yourself

The next set of Portuguese telephone phrases you need to learn are those for introducing yourself: 

  • Aqui é o Pedro, sobrinho da Marisa. – “This is Pedro, Marisa’s nephew.”
  • É a Ana. – “It’s Ana.”
  • Quem fala? / Quem está falando? – “Who is speaking?”
  • Sou amigo dele. / Sou amiga dela. – “I am a friend of his.” / “I am a friend of hers.”

Note: Amigo is the singular masculine noun for “friend,” while amiga is the singular feminine form. 

A polite addendum is to ask if the person is busy before moving forward with your call: 

  • Você pode falar agora? – “Did I catch you at a bad time?”
  • Você está ocupado / ocupada? – “Are you busy?”

Note: Ocupado is the singular masculine adjective for “busy,” while ocupada is the singular feminine form.

4. Stating the Reason for Your Call

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

“I’d like to make a dentist appointment.”

Things start to get interesting here—we’re getting somewhere. Here’s an informal Portuguese phone phrase pattern to discuss your reason for calling: 

  • Estou ligando para perguntar sobre a operação. – “I’m calling to ask about the surgery.”
  • Estou ligando para saber das novidades. “I’m calling to check on you.”

Now, here are some formal phrases: 

  • Eu gostaria de marcar uma consulta. – “I’d like to make an appointment.”
  • Eu gostaria de confirmar a presença dela no meu evento. – “I’d like to confirm her presence at my event.”
  • Eu queria fazer uma reserva para três pessoas para hoje à noite. – “I would like to make a reservation for tonight for three people.”
  • Recebi uma ligação deste número e estou retornando a chamada. – “I’ve received a call from this number and am returning the call.”

5. Asking to Speak to Someone

Did you call the right number? Will you be able to reach the right person on this call? 

Here are the most common phone call phrases in Portuguese for asking to speak to someone:

  • Posso falar com a Marisa? – “May I talk to Marisa?”
  • Marisa está? – “Is Marisa there?”
  • É do gabinete da Dra. Márcia? – “Am I talking to Dr. Márcia’s cabinet?”
  • Eu gostaria de falar com o Dr. Stefano, por favor. – “I’d like to talk to Dr. Stefano, please.”

Sometimes we know our reason for calling, but we aren’t sure who we need to talk to. But fear not. It’s simple to inquire about this:

  • Com quem eu posso falar para resolver problemas sobre o meu plano de internet? – “Who can I talk to to solve problems with my internet plan?”

6. Asking Someone to Hold

Perhaps you’re the one receiving a call, and you need to ask the other person to wait while you retrieve information or transfer them to another department. Below are a few Portuguese telephone phrases you can use to ask the caller to wait a moment. 

  • Um minuto, por favor. – “Just a minute, please.”
  • Um instante, por favor. “Just a moment, please.”
  • Poderia aguardar na linha por um segundo? “Could you hold the line for a second?”
  • Vou passar para ele / ela. – “I’ll put him / her on.”
  • Vou lhe transferir para o escritório dele / dela. Não desligue. “Let me transfer you to his / her office. Don’t hang up.”

7. Leaving a Message

A Woman Chatting with Someone on the Phone and Smiling

“No problem, I’ll call later!”

If you’re unable to reach the person you wanted to speak with, you should have the opportunity to leave them a message. Below are a few common phone call phrases in Portuguese that are often used in this type of situation. Keep in mind that these phrases can be used in both formal and informal contexts. 

  • No momento, ele / ela não está. Gostaria de deixar um recado? “(S)he is not here at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?”
  • Ele / ela não está disponível no momento. – “(S)he is not available right now.”
  • Não posso falar agora. Posso te ligar daqui a pouco? “Can’t talk to you now. Can I call you soon?”
  • Posso deixar um recado? – “Can I leave a message?”
  • Você poderia pedir para ele / ela me ligar de volta ainda hoje? – “Would you ask him/her to call me back today?”
  • Eu ligo depois então. – “I’ll call later, then.”

8. Asking for Clarification

Unfortunately, electronic communications are vulnerable to technical problems that can lead to misunderstandings. This is when we need to take a step back and take things slow. Here are several Portuguese phone phrases you can use to let your interlocutor know there are connection issues or to ask for clarification:

  • Desculpe, não consigo te ouvir direito. – “Excuse me, I can’t hear you.”
  • A ligação está ruim. – “The connection is bad.”
  • O sinal (do celular) está péssimo. – “The (cell phone) signal is awful.”
  • Você poderia soletrar seu nome, por favor? – “Could you spell your name, please?”
  • Desculpe, a ligação caiu. “I’m sorry, we got cut off.”
  • Você ligou para o número errado. – “You’ve dialed the wrong number.”
  • Desculpe, foi um engano. – “I’m sorry, I have the wrong number.”
  • A bateria do celular está fraca. – “The cell phone battery is almost dead.”

If your mobile phone just isn’t working at all, maybe you should resolve some issues with your phone plan. In that case, don’t hesitate to check out our vocabulary list Words and Phrases for Talking About Your Phone Plan on PortuguesePod101.com.

9. Ending the Phone Call

It’s been an interesting ride. But all things must come to an end. 

The final set of Portuguese phone call phrases you’ll learn today are those for ending the phone call.

  • Muito obrigado / obrigada pela ajuda. – “Thank you very much for helping.”

Obrigado is used by male speakers to say “thank you” and obrigada is used by female speakers.

  • Está bem. Nos falaremos mais tarde. – “Alright. We’ll speak later.”
  • Até logo! – “Goodbye!”
  • Tchau! – “Bye!”

If you’re ending a formal call, consider using this one: 

  • Obrigado / Obrigada por ligar. Tenha um ótimo dia. – “Thanks for calling. Have a great day.”

10. Samples of Telephone Conversations in Portuguese

You’ve now seen a variety of phone call phrases in the Portuguese language, but do you know how to use them? To make the learning process more organic for you, we’ve included two sample phone dialogues below. The first one is an informal conversation between two friends; the second one is a formal conversation between one of those friends and a restaurant attendant. 

Informal telephone conversation in Portuguese

A Businessman Looking at His Watch while Talking on His Cell Phone

Set up an appointment in two steps: one formal call and one informal call.

Michel calls his friend Rosa to make an invitation for breakfast together on a weekend:

Dona Lara: Alô!Mrs. Lara: Hello!
Michel: Alô! Rosa? Aqui é o Michel, tudo bem?Michel: Hello! Rosa? Michel speaking, how are you?
Dona Lara: Oi, Michel. Aqui é a mãe dela. Só um minuto, já passo pra Rosa.Mrs. Lara: Hi, Michel. This is her mother speaking. Just one minute, I’ll put Rosa on.
Michel: Oi, Dona Lara! Desculpe, não te reconheci. Estou bem, obrigado.Michel: Hello, Mrs. Lara! I’m sorry, I didn’t notice it was you. I’m fine. Thanks.
Rosa: Alô! Michel?Rosa: Hello! Michel?
Michel: Oi, Rosa. Tudo bem?Michel: Hello, Rosa. How are you?
Rosa: Tudo, e aí? Me desculpa, mas acabou a bateria do meu celular.Rosa: I’m fine, how are you? I’m sorry, my phone’s battery is dead.
Michel: Sem problema. Escuta, você tem planos pro fim de semana?Michel: No problem. Listen, do you have plans for the weekend?
Rosa: Não tenho nada marcado ainda. Por quê?Rosa: I don’t have anything scheduled yet. Why?
Michel: Quer tomar um café da manhã no restaurante do clube no domingo?Michel: Would you like to have breakfast in the club’s restaurant on Sunday?
Rosa: Acho a ideia legal, mas domingo eu vou à igreja.Rosa: It’s a nice idea, but I go to church on Sunday.
Michel: E de sábado, você está livre?Michel: What about Saturday? Do you have something on?
Rosa: De sábado está bem. A que horas?Rosa: Saturday’s okay. At what time?
Michel: Legal! É às nove e meia, mas ainda vou ligar lá pra reservar. Depois te ligo pra confirmar, beleza?Michel: Cool! At half past nine, but I still have to call to make reservations. I’ll call you later to confirm, right?
Rosa: Ótimo! Obrigada pelo convite.Rosa: Alright! Thanks for the invitation.
Michel: Por nada! Até mais!Michel: You’re welcome! See you later!
Rosa: Tchau!Rosa: Bye!

Formal telephone conversation in Portuguese

The two friends have set the time and place. Now Michel calls the restaurant to reserve a table.

Atendente: Restaurante do Clube Gaivota, Regiane, boa tarde.Attendant: Clube Gaivota’s Restaurant. Here’s Regiane, good afternoon.
Michel: Boa tarde, Regiane. Meu nome é Michel e eu gostaria de fazer uma reserva de mesa para o sábado.Michel: Good afternoon, Regiane. My name is Michel and I’d like to make a reservation for a table for Saturday.
Atendente: Senhor? Attendant: Sir?
Michel: Alô! Você está me ouvindo?Michel: Hello! Are you listening?
Atendente: Desculpe, a ligação está ruim. Mas eu consigo te ouvir agora.Attendant: I’m sorry, the connection is bad. But I can hear you now.
Michel: Certo. Gostaria de reservar uma mesa para dois no café da manhã de sábado.Michel: Right. I’d like to make a reservation for two on Saturday for breakfast.
Atendente: Está bem. O café começa às sete e meia. A reserva é para que horas?Attendant: Okay. Breakfast starts at half past seven. What is the time of the reservation?
Michel: Às nove e meia.Michel: Half past nine o’clock.
Atendente: Certo, temos uma mesa disponível para este horário. A reserva é em nome de quem?Attendant: Right. We have a table available for this time. Who’s making the reservation?
Michel: Michel.Michel: Michel.
Atendente: Está bem, senhor Michel. A reserva foi feita: mesa para dois no sábado, às nove horas e trinta minutos.Attendant: Alright, Mr. Michel. The reservation is complete: table for two on Saturday at half past nine o’clock.
Michel: Perfeito! Muito obrigado. Tchau, tchau.Michel: Perfect! Thank you very much. Bye, bye.
Atendente: Até mais.Attendant: See you later.

11. Takeaway

The aim of this guide was to familiarize you with the most essential Portuguese phrases for a phone call. Once you have these down, you’ll feel more comfortable with both the relevant vocabulary and the more specific phrases for personal and business purposes. 

Are there any phone call phrases or situations we didn’t include that you’d like to learn? Let us know in the comments and we’ll get back to you! 

This is a great step toward improving your language skills. But if you want to go deeper, you’ll have to use more precise and powerful learning tools.

PortuguesePod101 offers a comprehensive teaching program that combines multimedia resources, short vocabulary lists, and detailed lessons for learners at every level. 

You can learn even faster using our MyTeacher service. This gives you 1-on-1 interaction with a personal tutor who can help boost your performance while delivering solid results. 

Master Portuguese phone conversations and so much more with PortuguesePod101!

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

Basic Portuguese Words for Beginners

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Are you learning Portuguese but feel that you’re missing the words you need to start participating in conversations? Studying a new language comes with its challenges, and one could easily become intimidated by the sheer number of words that exist. 

Luckily, most Portuguese speakers get by on a daily basis with just around 1000 words. No need to devour a whole dictionary to start speaking the language; all you need to get started are some basic Portuguese words for beginners. 

With only a few weeks of practice, you’ll have become familiar with around 200 words—enough to be considered a functional beginner. By the time you reach 1000, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true conversationalist!

Let’s start today by going over those first couple hundred beginner Portuguese words. These will serve as a solid foundation that will help you engage in conversations, understand dialogues, and even deal with some day-to-day situations.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Handy Pronouns
  2. Counting: Numbers
  3. The Name of Things: Nouns
  4. Talk About Actions: Verbs
  5. Add Details: Adjectives
  6. Make Connections: Conjunctions
  7. Add More Information: Adverbs
  8. Even More Words: Brazilian Culture
  9. Final Thoughts

1. Handy Pronouns

Pronouns are, without a doubt, some of the first words you’ll encounter in Portuguese. And for a good reason: Whenever we’re talking about people, personal pronouns are the first to pop up. 

There are several types of pronouns, and each type serves a different function within a sentence. For now, let’s just focus on the most common ones. 

1 – Personal Subject Pronouns

Talking about someone? Then personal subject pronouns are your best friend. They substitute the subject of a sentence:

  • A professora chegou atrasada. (“The professor [feminine] arrived late.”) 
  • Ela chegou atrasada. (“She arrived late.”) 

PersonPortuguese pronounEnglish
1st person sg.euI
2nd person sg.tu / vocêyou 
3rd person sg.ele / elahe / she
1st person pl.nóswe
2nd person pl.vós / vocêsyou
3rd person pl.eles / elasthey (masculine / feminine)

There are a few things we should point out about those pronouns.

  1. In many parts of Brazil, você is used as the second person singular (instead of tu), in informal situations. In formal situations, you can use:
  • O senhor (“the sir”): O senhor deseja um café? (“Fancy a coffee, sir?”)
  • A senhora (“the madam”): A senhora precisa de algo? (“Need anything, madam?”)

These three forms of address (você, o senhor, a senhora) all use third person singular conjugations. You can find out more in this article.

  1. To refer to the first person plural, many Brazilian speakers use a gente, with the verbs conjugated in the second person singular.
  • Nós vamos comer pizza. (“We will eat pizza.”)
  • A gente vai comer pizza. (“We will eat pizza.”)

  1. Vós is rarely used in Brazilian Portuguese, being considered extremely formal. To refer to the second person plural, you can use:
  • Vocês [informal]: Vocês sabem que horas são? (“Do you know what time it is?”)
  • Os senhores [formal]: Os senhores podem aguardar aqui. (“You can wait here.”)
    • Masculine form, used for a group of only men or men and women
  • As senhoras [formal]: As senhoras já podem entrar. (“You can already come in.”)
    • Feminine form, used for a group of only women

2 – Reflexive Pronouns

In Portuguese, some verbs are reflexive. They indicate an action done by the subject to themselves. When using these verbs, an extra pronoun (called an object pronoun), is required. 

PersonPortuguese pronounUse it withEnglish
1st person sg.meeu (“I”)Eu me visto. (“I get dressed.”)
Ela me acordou. (“She woke me up.”)
2nd person sg.tetu (“you”)(Tu) te lembras dele? (“You remember him?”)
3rd person sg.seele / ela (“he” / “she”)
você (“you”)
a gente (“we”)
Ele se vestiu. (“He got dressed.”)
Você já se arrumou? (“Did you get ready?”)
A gente se sentiu mal. (“We felt ill.”)
1st person pl.nosnós (“we”)Nós nos assustamos. (“We got scared.”)
2nd person pl.vosvós (“you”)Vós vos sentis bem? (“Do you feel well?”)
3rd person pl.seeles / elas (“they” masculine / feminine)
vocês (“you”)
Eles se perderam. (“They got lost.”)
Vocês se penteiam? (“Did you brush your hair?” plural)

There are several rules involved regarding the correct position of the reflexive pronoun in Portuguese (before or after the verb). For informal conversational purposes, most Brazilian Portuguese speakers place the reflexive pronoun before the verb. 

3 – Demonstrative Pronouns

You can use demonstrative pronouns to talk about the objects around you.

Isto (“This”) and its variations

When talking about something close to you (the speaker), you can use:

  • Isto (“This”)
    • Isto é lindo! (“This is beautiful!”)
  • Este / Esta (“This”) – masculine and feminine form in the singular
    • Esta cadeira é pequena demais. (“This chair is too small.”)  
  • Estes / Estas (“These”) – masculine and feminine form in the plural
    • Estas panelas estão sujas. (“These pans are dirty.”) 

Isto is not commonly used in spoken, casual Portuguese. A more popular option is isso:

Isso (“That”) and its variations

When talking about something close to the other person (the listener), use:

  • Isso (“That”)
    • Isso é pesado? (“Is that heavy?”)
  • Esse / Essa (“That”) – masculine and feminine form in the singular
    • Essa camisa é a sua cara! (“That shirt is so you!”)
  • Esses / Essas – masculine and feminine form in the plural
    • Vocês podem usar esses lençóis. (“You can use those bedsheets.”)

Even though isso means “that,” it’s very common for Portuguese speakers to use it to mean “this” as well. So in casual situations, you can use isso to talk about objects that are close to the speaker or the listener. 

Aquilo (“That”) and its variations

This one is used when talking about something that is far from both you and the other party, whether physically or in terms of time.

  • Aquilo (“That”)
    • Eu quero aquilo! (“I want that!”)
  • Aquele / Aquela (“That”) – masculine and feminine form in the singular
    • Aquele quadro é muito caro. (“That painting is very expensive.”)
  • Aqueles / Aquelas (“Those”) – masculine and feminine form in the plural
    • Aqueles shows foram inesquecíveis. (“Those concerts were unforgettable.”)

4 – Interrogative Pronouns

Use these pronouns to ask questions:

  • Quem? (“Who?”)
    Quem chegou? (“Who arrived?”)
  • O que? (“What?”)
    O que você quer comer? (“What do you want to eat?”)
  • Qual? (“Which?”)
    Qual bolo você prefere? (“Which cake do you prefer?”)
    Quais são os livros que posso doar? (“Which are the books that I can give away?”)
  • Quanto? (“How much?” / “How many?”)
    Quantos anos você têm? (“How old are you?”)
    Quantas caixas você quer? (“How many boxes do you want?”)
    Quanto custa essa casa? (“How much is this house?”)

Notice that quem and que are invariable pronouns: they never change. Qual and quanto are variable pronouns, which means they change depending on the gender and number of what they’re referring to.

5 – Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are great for talking about unspecified things—people, places, objects, you name it! Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Tudo (“Everything”)
  • Todo / Toda (“All” masculine and feminine singular)
  • Todos / Todas (“All” / “Everyone” masculine and feminine plural)
  • Nada (“Nothing”)
  • Nenhum / Nenhuma (“None” masculine and feminine)
  • Algo (“Something”)
  • Algum / Alguma (“Some” / “Few” masculine and feminine singular)
  • Alguns / Algumas (“Some” / “Few” masculine and feminine plural)
  • Ninguém (“Nobody”)
  • Alguém (“Somebody”) 
  • Vários / Várias (“Several” masculine and feminine)
  • Muito / Muita (“A lot of” masculine and feminine)
  • Muitos / Muitas (“Many” masculine and feminine)
  • Pouco / Pouca (“Little” masculine and feminine)
  • Poucos / Poucas (“Few” masculine and feminine)

A Doctor Pointing to Something on a Clipboard a Nurse Is Holding

Ele é médico e ela é enfermeira. (“He is a doctor and she is a nurse.”)

2. Counting: Numbers

As a beginner in Portuguese, you’ll need to know at least a few numbers to get by in certain situations. If you learn how to count from 0 to 10, you’ll have it covered!

0Zero
1Um
2Dois
3Três
4Quatro
5Cinco
6Seis
7Sete
8Oito
9Nove
10Dez

Someone Punching a Passcode into Their Cellphone

What numbers will you use in your passcode?

3. The Name of Things: Nouns

Once you have the pronouns and numbers down, you should focus on memorizing as many basic nouns as possible. The words below will serve as a useful addition to your Portuguese beginner vocabulary; they’ll allow you to start forming sentences and you can even use them alone to get an urgent point across! 

1 – A Reminder: Articles

The first thing you need to remember about Portuguese nouns is that they have a gender and a number. For example, a noun could be masculine plural or feminine singular. 

A noun’s gender and number will affect which articles you need to use with it (and it will also affect adjectives, as we’ll see later).

Feminine Singular Nouns

Example: Cadeira (“Chair”) 

Use the following articles:

  • Definite article a: a cadeira (“the chair”) 
  • Indefinite article uma: uma cadeira (“a chair”)

Feminine Plural Nouns

Example: Cadeiras (“Chairs”) 

Use the following articles:

  • Definite article as: as cadeiras (“the chairs”) 
  • Indefinite article umas: umas cadeiras (“some chairs”)

Masculine Singular Nouns

Example: Livro (“Book”) 

Use the following articles:

  • Definite article o: o livro (“the book”) 
  • Indefinite article um: um livro (“a book”)

Masculine Plural Nouns

Example: Livros (“Books”) 

Use the following articles:

  • Definite article os: os livros (“the books”) 
  • Indefinite article uns: uns livros (“some books”)

To make it easier for you to remember the gender of nouns in the future, the following list will include the indefinite articles alongside the nouns. 

2 – Time

Uma horaHour
Um minutoMinute
Um diaDay
Um mêsMonth
Um anoYear
Uma manhãMorning
Uma tardeAfternoon
Uma noiteNight / Evening
Uma segunda-feiraMonday
Uma terça-feiraTuesday
Uma quarta-feiraWednesday
Uma quinta-feiraThursday
Uma sexta-feiraFriday
Um sábadoSaturday
Um domingoSunday

3 – People

Uma mãeMother
Um paiFather
MamãeMom
PapaiDad
Uma mulherWoman
Um homemMan
Uma esposaWife
Um maridoHusband
Um irmãoBrother
Uma irmãSister
Uma famíliaFamily
Uma namoradaGirlfriend
Um namoradoBoyfriend
Um filhoSon
Uma filhaDaughter
Um amigo
Uma amiga
Friend (masculine)
Friend (feminine)
Um estudante
Uma estudante
Student (masculine)
Student (feminine)
Um vendedor
Uma vendedora
Salesman
Saleswoman
Um professor
Uma professora
Professor / Teacher (masculine)
Professor / Teacher (feminine)
Um médico
Uma médica
Medical doctor (masculine)
Medical doctor (feminine)

4 – Places

Um mundoWorld
Um paísCountry
Uma cidadeCity
Um bairroNeighborhood
Um endereçoAddress
Uma ruaStreet
Uma avenidaAvenue
Uma estradaRoad
Um lugarPlace
Uma praiaBeach
Uma florestaForest
Uma montanhaMountain
Uma lojaShop
Um hospitalHospital
Um supermercadoSupermarket
Uma escolaSchool

5 – Transportation

Um carroCar
Um ônibusBus
Um tremTrain
Um aviãoPlane
Um táxiTaxi / Cab
Uma bicicletaBicycle

6 – Home

Uma casaHouse
Uma portaDoor
Uma janelaWindow
Uma cozinhaKitchen
Um quartoBedroom
Um banheiroBathroom
Uma sala de estarLiving room
Um jardimGarden

7 – School and Office Supplies

Uma canetaPen
Um lápisPencil
Uma borrachaEraser
Um cadernoNotebook
Um livroBook

8 – Technology in the Home

Um telefonePhone
Um celularCellphone
Uma telaScreen
Um computadorComputer
A InternetThe internet
Uma televisãoTelevision

9 – Body

Uma cabeçaHead
Um olhoEye
Uma bocaMouth
Um narizNose
Uma orelhaEar
CabeloHair
Um braçoArm
Uma mãoHand

10 – Dining and Food

Uma mesaTable
Um pratoPlate
Um copoGlass
ÁguaWater
Uma frutaFruit
Um legumeVegetable
Um caféCoffee
Um pãoBread
ArrozRice
FeijãoBeans


A Boy Smiling while Using a Laptop

Um menino (“A boy”)

4. Talk About Actions: Verbs

Portuguese beginners will greatly benefit from learning the most common verbs early on in the process. 

Verbs are the central part of sentences and, as you can imagine, there are thousands of them to choose from. Why not begin by getting acquainted with 50 of the most commonly used verbs in Portuguese?


SerTo be (permanent)
Ser is used to talk about permanent or long-lasting things that a person can be. For example, you can be a certain nationality or profession.
  • Eu sou engenheira. (“I am an engineer.”) [feminine]
EstarTo be (impermanent)
Estar is used to talk about temporary things that a person can be or feel. For example, you can be cold or you can be in school.
  • Eu estou no supermercado. (“I am in the supermarket.”)
  • Eu estou com medo. (“I am scared.”)
IrTo go
TerTo have
PoderTo be able to
Can
DeverTo have to
Must
FazerTo do
To make
DizerTo say
To tell
FalarTo talk
To speak
To tell
Dar To give
GostarTo like
AmarTo love
VerTo see
OuvirTo hear
EscutarTo listen
TocarTo touch
To play an instrument
SentirTo feel
PensarTo think
ProcurarTo look for
To search
AcharTo find
SaberTo know
EntenderTo understand
QuererTo want
PedirTo ask for
FicarTo stay
To get
To be
Ficar translates to “to get” when it’s followed by an adjective. For example:
  • Você está ficando vermelha! (“You are getting red!”) – feminine
You can also use ficar when talking about locations:
  • A minha casa fica logo ali. (“My house is right over there.”)
PrecisarTo need
DeitarTo lay down
ColocarTo put
To place
DirigirTo drive
ChegarTo arrive
EntrarTo enter
ChamarTo call
To summon
ComeçarTo start
To begin
VirTo come (over)
VoltarTo come back
To return
SairTo leave
To go out
ConhecerTo meet
To know
Conhecer only means “to know” when referring to something familiar.

For example, you could use conhecer if you knew a certain street or a certain person:
  • Você conhece a prima Luisa? (“Do you know Cousin Luisa?”)
But you can’t use conhecer when referring to something you know how to do. In this case, use saber:
  • Eu sei cozinhar. (“I know how to cook.”)
ConseguirTo achieve
ContinuarTo continue
ViverTo live
TomarTo take
Tomar can be used interchangeably with beber (“to drink”).
PegarTo catch
To grasp
ComerTo eat
AndarTo walk
TrabalharTo work
ContarTo count
To tell
EsperarTo wait
AbrirTo open
FecharTo close
DecidirTo decide
AprenderTo learn
EstudarTo study

Three Students Studying in a Classroom with a Teacher Standing Nearby

Vamos estudar. (“Let’s study.”)

5. Add Details: Adjectives

As we hinted at before, adjectives in Portuguese need to agree with the noun they describe in gender and number. 

Each adjective below is listed in the singular form. Where applicable, we’ve indicated the gender as follows: [masculine / feminine]. 

Bom / BoaGood 
RuimBad 
FácilEasy
DifícilDifficult / Hard
Novo / NovaNew 
Velho / VelhaOld 
Caro / CaraExpensive 
GrandeLarge / Big 
Pequeno / PequenaSmall / Little 
Longo / LongaLong 
Curto / CurtaShort 
Bonito / BonitaBeautiful 
Lindo / LindaHandsome / Pretty
Feio / FeiaUgly
ForteStrong
LegalNice
Alto / AltaTall
Baixo / BaixaShort
Magro / MagraThin / Skinny 
Gordo / GordaFat 
AlegreGlad
TristeSad
Tímido / TímidaShy 
Cansado / CansadaTired 
DoenteSick / Ill
EnsolaradoSunny
NubladoCloudy
ChuvosoRainy
Frio / FriaCold 
QuenteWarm / Hot
ImportanteImportant
Preto / PretaBlack 
Branco / BrancaWhite 
AzulBlue
VerdeGreen 
Amarelo / AmarelaYellow 
Vermelho / VermelhaRed 
DoceSweet
Salgado / SalgadaSalty
Delicioso / DeliciosaDelicious


An Asian Woman Getting Her Hair Done at a Salon

Ela tem cabelo preto. (“She has black hair.”)

6. Make Connections: Conjunctions

Conjunctions are small yet powerful words that connect two or more clauses or sentences. You’ll use them countless times when talking or writing in Portuguese. By mastering the most commonly used ones, you’ll get far!

  • E (“And”)
    Eu gosto de correr e nadar. (“I like to run and swim.”)

  • Ou (“Or”)
    Você quer café ou água? (“Do you want coffee or water?”)

  • Nem (“Nor”)
    Não como carne nem peixe. (“I don’t eat meat nor fish.”)
  • Se (“If”)
    Ela vai trabalhar se conseguir uma babá. (“She will work if she can get a nanny.”)
  • Então (“So”)
    Hoje acordei tarde, então estou sem fome. (“I woke up late today, so I’m not hungry.”)
  • Mas (“But”)
    Ela perdeu mas está feliz. (“She lost, but she is happy.”)
  • Que (“That”)
    É importante que você passe nessa curso. (“It’s important that you pass this course.”)

  • Porque (“Because”)
    Ela ganhou porque treinou muito. (“She won because she trained a lot.”)

  • Como (“As” / “Like”)
    Ela, como suas amigas, é estudante. (“She, like her friends, is a student.”)
    Como me perdi, cheguei atrasada. (“As I got lost, I arrived late.”)

Learn even more Portuguese conjunctions, as well as how and where you can use them, with this complete guide by PortuguesePod101

A Man and Woman Watching Funny Videos on a Cellphone

Eles gostam de conversar e assistir vídeos. (“They like to chat and watch videos.”)

7. Add More Information: Adverbs

While adjectives modify nouns, adverbs modify other types of words (verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs). Adverbs are a nifty set of words in Portuguese for beginners to learn, as they allow you to better express yourself and add extra information to what you’re saying. 


1 – Questions

Like the interrogative pronouns we already saw, interrogative adverbs can also be used to ask questions. 

QuandoWhen
Quando é seu aniversário? (“When is your birthday?”)
OndeWhere
Onde vocês estão? (“Where are you?”) – plural
AondeWhere to
Aonde você vai?  (“Where are you going to?”)
ComoHow
Como foi a sua viagem? (“How was your trip?”)
Por queWhy
Por que eles brigaram? (“Why did they fight?”)

2 – Time

TardeLate
CedoEarly
LogoSoon
Already
OntemYesterday
HojeToday
AmanhãTomorrow
AntesBefore
DepoisAfter

3 – Frequency

SempreAlways
Jamais / NuncaNever
Às vezesSometimes
GeralmenteUsually

4 – Place

AquiHere
There
Em toda parte / Em todo lugarEverywhere
DentroInside
ForaOutside
LongeFar
PertoCloseby

5 – Manner

BemWell
MalPoorly / Barely
MuitoVery
PoucoLittle / Few
RápidoFast
RealmenteReally
NadaNothing
SomenteOnly
MaisMore
MenosLess
JuntosTogether
Só / SozinhoAlone

A Woman Lost at the Train Station

Ela sempre se perde. (“She always gets lost.”)

8. Even More Words: Brazilian Culture

Let’s dive into some specific Portuguese vocabulary you can use to engage in interesting conversations!

1 – Traditional Brazilian Culture

Boi-bumbáA Brazilian folk theatrical tradition
NovelaSoap opera
Festa juninaTraditional party that takes place in June
CapoeiraAfro-Brazilian martial art

2 – Holidays

Ano NovoNew Year
CarnavalCarnival
NatalChristmas
PáscoaEaster

3 – Music and Musical Styles

SambaSamba
Bossa novaBossa nova
AxéAxé music
FunkFunk carioca
SertanejoBrazilian country music

4 – Food & Beverages

FeijoadaStew of black beans, beef, and pork
ChurrascoBarbecue (Brazilian-style)
BrigadeiroBrazilian chocolate truffle
TapiocaCassava pancake
PaçocaPeanut candy
GuaranáSoft drink made with guaraná, a typical fruit from the North region which resembles an eye
CaipirinhaTraditional alcoholic cocktail, made with cachaça, ice, sugar, and lime
CachaçaAlcoholic beverage made out of sugarcane; some are cheap, while others are prime Brazilian drinks.
ChimarrãoCaffeine-rich infusion with the yerba mate plant
MandiocaManioc, cassava
PalmitoHeart of palm

A Samba Parade during Carnival

Desfile de escola de samba no Carnaval (“Samba parade during Carnival”)

9. Final Thoughts

This article presented 200+ words every Portuguese beginner should know, from pronouns and verbs to culture-specific terms. This will be a handy guide you can come back to as you advance in your Portuguese learning journey. Soon, you’ll have many more words to add to this list! 

We would love to hear your thoughts. Did you like this article? Do you think we missed any important Portuguese words for beginners? Let us know in the comments. 

And now, it’s time to put it all into practice. To start, you can check out these tips for remembering words better. Or go ahead and choose your own vocabulary list or another free resource on PortuguesePod101.com, and get studying!

If you want to take your learning experience further, members of PortuguesePod101 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

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

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.

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

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!

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

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

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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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Portuguese Quotes That Will Blow Your Mind

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Music is a universal language. If it appeals to one person, it may appeal to others as well and lead to communication. Well, poetry isn’t that far off from music! And what is poetry but words that contain music within themselves to produce a more potent feeling? 

Good poetry casts a net of fascination over those people who devote their time to understanding its meaning and the sounds it contains. In this vein, Portuguese quotes are similar to poetry. From expressing an individual verve to passing down popular knowledge, these artful words can serve as a gateway to communication and mutual understanding.

What’s more, studying quotes in Portuguese can be useful to you as a language learner! Doing so will allow you to learn rich expressions that you can start using today to sound more like a native speaker. In addition, these quotes can lend you insight into the culture of Portuguese-speaking countries, which will be a valuable asset for effective communication.

In this article, you’ll learn several quotes in Portuguese that touch on a variety of topics, from success to human relations. To ensure you walk away with a comprehensive view of how to use different sayings in a variety of contexts, we’ve included both native Portuguese quotes and quotes from other languages that have been translated into Portuguese. 

Feel free to compare versions and practice your skills!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Language Learning
  2. Quotes About Success
  3. Quotes About Love
  4. Quotes About Time
  5. Quotes About Human Relations
  6. Quotes About Life
  7. Conclusion

1. Quotes About Language Learning 

Let’s begin our list with some inspirational quotes in Portuguese that are sure to motivate you in your language studies.


#1 Os limites da minha linguagem são os limites do meu mundo.

Literal translation: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

Our first quote is from Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951). It’s not a Portuguese saying, but it’s one of the best motivational quotes we could think of to begin this list on the right foot.

It’s invigorating to understand that the boundaries of one’s world are nothing more than the thoughts they can put into words. This means that the more languages you learn and the more experiences you exchange, the more opportunities you have to expand the boundaries of your world.

#2 Um passo à frente e você não está mais no mesmo lugar.

Literal translation: “A step forward and you’re not in the same place anymore.”

This phrase was coined by late Brazilian composer Chico Science (1966 – 1997), and it’s part of the tune Passeio no Mundo Livre. In this context, roaming is a symbol of freedom and the song’s carefree persona.

Additionally, a step forward could symbolize transformation. To take a step and go ahead holds the promise of certain change—and, sure, it applies to learning new languages. Every step forward, however small it may be, results in a noticeable difference in the level of knowledge one possesses. To some degree, someone who learns something new is always a different person than they were before.

2. Quotes About Success

Quotes about success abound on the internet, and for good reasons. The following trio of success quotes in Portuguese will hopefully bring you some practical knowledge for your life, as well as insight into the Portuguese language. 


#3 Quem não arrisca não petisca.

Literal translation: “Those who don’t take a risk don’t have a snack.”

This popular Brazilian Portuguese quote describes the dynamics of success in a nutshell: You have to put something at stake to make progress.

The proverbial snack is as tasty as the potential sacrifices one has to make to obtain it. The saying applies to  both financial contexts and other situations in life, from flirting to business and everything in-between.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that the world has many more cases of failure than of success. Among these failures, there’s always someone who thinks he’s the only one that lost, but should’ve won. So, this phrase can also be used as an excuse by someone who lost something important in a bet of some kind.

Two Fishermen Casting Their Nets

“If it fell into the net, it’s fish.”

#4 Caiu na rede, é peixe.

Literal translation: “If it fell into the net, it’s fish.”

This old Brazilian saying contains an interesting piece of wisdom, and we consider it one of the most inspirational quotes in Portuguese on our list. The quote means that results, even though they might be small, can be considered a catch.

Oftentimes, success is only a matter of perspective. Sometimes we have a “squid” or a “big fish” in our “nets” but don’t have eyes for it, always looking for a bigger catch that may never come—and for what? It’s like Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

Also, gathering many little fish is more interesting in the long run than waiting for one big one. From a complementary point of view, this saying can be interpreted as: “Something is better than nothing.” You can also use this quote to refer to someone who never refuses a deal or a date.

#5 Há males que vêm para o bem.

Literal translation: “Some bad things come for good.”

This traditional Brazilian saying argues that some adversities should be taken lightly.

Fate (or karma, if you believe in it) and the passing of time can extract advantages from difficult situations.

3. Quotes About Love

Our list of the best Portuguese quotes wouldn’t be complete without some words on love and romance. Here are a couple of romantic quotes in Brazilian Portuguese we think you’ll enjoy.


#6 A melhor definição de amor não vale um beijo de moça namorada.

Literal translation: “The best definition of love isn’t worth a kiss of the valentine lady.”

This line is from Brazilian writer Machado de Assis (1839-1908), author of some of the most notable national novels. His works account for some of the most famous Portuguese quotes in Brazil, such as this one.

This quote comes from a tale by Assis called O Espelho (“The Mirror”), from the book Papeis Avulsos (“Random Papers”). In the original context, it’s a mere metaphor for the importance of a thorough exposition of facts, for the comprehension of the main character’s metaphysical theory (according to which, each individual has two souls, one that’s projected outwards and another that’s projected inwards).

The story was published in 1882 and really isn’t bad. In fact, it’s a sample of some of Assis’s more mature writing traits: dynamic storytelling, philosophical inventions applied to trivial situations, and social criticism injected with remarkable flair.

That said, love is not the main topic of the story. But it doesn’t matter: the “empirical love” sentence is one of the finest love quotes in Brazilian Portuguese.

A Picture of a Man

Loverboy Machado de Assis in a meditative pose

#7 Obrigado por ser sempre o meu arco-íris depois da tempestade.

Literal translation: “Thank you for always being my rainbow after the storm.”

This anonymous saying depicts the fact that hard times may come and go, but one’s better half is always a bright and colorful symbol of peace and serenity.

4. Quotes About Time

Time is a very rare commodity nowadays. We tend to run out of it very easily and look for activities with instant results. Portuguese and Brazilian wisdom concerning this matter indicates that this may not be the best way to go about spending our time. Here are a couple of meaningful quotes in Portuguese on the concept of time.

#8 Devagar se vai ao longe.

Literal translation: “To go slowly gets you yonder.”

This is an old Brazilian saying that’s featured in Joge Ben Jor’s song Bicho do Mato.

The message here is simple: take your time. If you keep calm and just do what you have to do, you can achieve your goals.

Also, this quote expresses the importance of being resilient. Being persistent concerning ideals will lead somewhere, eventually.

#9 A tradição é que faz a Humanidade.

Literal translation: “Tradition makes Humanity.”

This is a quote by Portuguese writer and diplomat Eça de Queirós (1845-1900), author of many important novels—some say that his Os Maias (“The Maias”) is among the greatest Portuguese novels ever.

This Portuguese quote about time was originally written in Queirós’ newspaper O Distrito de Évora (“The District of Evora”). It was part of a larger reflection piece on the importance of growing old and of elderly people as a reference for society.

The sentence makes it clear that the formation and practice of habits makes us what we are. Things in life don’t happen by chance, but bloom from “seeds” we plant. Tradition is understood here as habits that we cultivate in order to achieve some criteria for preserving what we understand as “human.”

A Monument

Eça de Queirós embodies the virtues of tradition: he became a monument in France!

5. Quotes About Human Relations

As they say, no man is an island. Here are some quotes in Portuguese about friendship, family, and other human relations to get you thinking about your own relationships!


#10 Suporta-se com paciência a cólica dos outros.

Literal translation: “One endures patiently the others’ colic.”

This is another one from Brazilian writer Machado de Assis. The sentence is part of the novel Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas (“Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas”), published in 1891.

This is considered Assis’ magnum opus and was revered by American literary critic Susan Sontag as an undercover gem of universal literature. The narrative consists of the biographical ramblings of Brás Cubas, a bored elite man without a significant legacy.

This quote is one of five other lines Cubas composed in times of boredom. While three of the sentences are just silly, this one is an interestingly selfish take on human feeling: only our own pain feels legitimate.

#11 Águas passadas não movem moinhos.

Literal translation: “Past waters don’t move mills.”

This is a popular saying in Portuguese and Brazilian cultures, nearly equivalent to the English expression, “It’s all water under the bridge.”

#12 Cada macaco no seu galho.

Literal translation: “Each monkey on its branch.”

This is an old Brazilian saying that gives name to a samba by late composer Riachão (1921-2020). The message is loud and clear: take care of your own business.

It can be applied to business situations or in other relationships, such as one’s friendship or love life.

6. Quotes About Life

For lack of a better way to group these Portuguese quotes, “life” is the most suitable label for them. The diversity of situations and imagery they represent make these Portuguese quotes about life a kaleidoscopic depiction of this phenomenon. 

Some of them sound grim while others are more lighthearted. 

#13 Cão que ladra não morde.

Literal translation: “A dog that barks doesn’t bite.”

Appearances can deceive, and we often perceive dangers as being worse than they really are. This expression can be used in reference to someone who likes to threaten people and scare them off, but actually doesn’t do much. 

#14 A mentira tem pernas curtas.

Literal translation: “The lie has short legs.”

This Brazilian saying states that while you can get away with lies for a little while, people will eventually catch up with the truth and figure it out.

#15 Na cama que farás, nela te deitarás.

Literal translation: “You’ll lie on the bed you’ll make.”

This old Portuguese saying means that the decisions we make today have an impact on our future. All of our actions have consequences.

This saying can be applied to both practical and moral contexts. In the first case, it’s related to the direction of our lives. In the second case, one could interpret it to represent the idea of karma or the law of retribution.  

#16 Em terra de cego, quem tem olho é rei.

Literal translation: “In a land of the blind, a one-eyed man is a king.”

The “eye” in this proverb can be interpreted as resourcefulness. Even if someone has only a little bit of insight, that insight can make a huge difference among people who don’t have it.

Desiderius Erasmus (Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1469-1536) was one of the first to use this phrase. However, the phrase is still rather popular in Portuguese culture to this day.

#17 Em boca fechada não entra mosca.

Literal translation: “A fly doesn’t enter a closed mouth.”

If you keep quiet, there’s a lower chance of bad consequences. This Brazilian saying is widely used by parents to discipline naughty, insubordinate children.

#18 Ladrão de tostão, ladrão de milhão.

Literal translation: “The thief of a penny is a thief of a million.”

This popular Brazilian saying states that if a person is willing to steal a small amount, there are no moral boundaries to keep them from stealing more.

The quote can also be applied in broader contexts unrelated to stealing. For example, it may be a categorical affirmation that small deeds are significant in shaping a person’s character.

#19 Ninguém diga: desta água não beberei.

Literal translation: “Thou shalt not say: of this water, I shall not drink.”

This is the most popular form of a common Brazilian saying. A longer version of it adds that the path may be long and the person can get hungry or thirsty on the way.

This Portuguese quote is nearly equivalent to the English proverb, “Never say never.”

A Man Getting Water Sample

I shall not drink this water… unless the thirst is appalling!

#20 Se você vir a barba do vizinho pegar fogo, coloque a sua de molho.

Literal translation: “If you see the neighbor’s beard catching fire, you should dip yours.”

The meaning of this old Brazilian saying is this: Be careful. Watch for signs and act in response to them in an appropriate manner. Sure, dipping one’s beard in water may not be the most reasonable course of action, but it gets the point across. This is one of the oddest and most funny Portuguese quotes on this list.

#21 Macaco velho não mete a mão em cumbuca.

Literal translation: “The old monkey does not put his hand in a bowl-shaped fruit.”

Here’s another old Brazilian saying that’s built upon imagery that may be strange to foreigners. It basically means that smart and experienced people don’t interfere in situations which may lead to potential harmful consequences. 

7. Conclusion

In this article, you learned some quotes in Portuguese on a variety of topics. Which one was your favorite, and why? What are some popular quotes in your language? We look forward to hearing from you!

When it comes to Portuguese quotes and numerous resources for better learning, PortuguesePod101 is one of the richest online Portuguese learning platforms. We offer a nearly endless collection of YouTube videos and lessons on our YouTube channel, and our website features articles, vocabulary lists, and many other types of engaging media that will teach you Portuguese in the fastest, easiest, and most fun way.

Happy Portuguese learning!

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