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The Top 40 Advanced Portuguese Phrases You Should Know

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There comes a point in everyone’s language learning experience where they feel stuck. This plateau is especially common for advanced learners. Figuring out where to go next and which skills to improve is not so easy. And at the same time, there are likely some gaps in your knowledge of Portuguese. Maybe some of the phrases used by native Portuguese speakers still confuse you, or you lack the appropriate expressions for use in work settings.

At this point, focusing on advanced Portuguese phrases will help you bridge the gap! Once you learn these phrases, you will have an array of ready-to-use expressions at your disposal. This will allow for fluent communication, whether you’re writing a cover letter or giving a presentation in Portuguese. 

You probably know by now that language, and specifically Portuguese, is not always objective and literal. In many instances, the old adage “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is very true! With the explanations given in this article, you’ll be able to see and understand how this concept applies to advanced Portuguese phrases. 

We’ll end on a fun note by looking at some of the most commonly used idioms in Portuguese. If you translate them word for word, they might not make much sense…but once you understand how they’re used, you’ll be on your way to sounding just like a native speaker!

A Crowd Laughing at a Show They’re Watching

As an advanced Portuguese speaker, you’ll be getting all the jokes!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Sound Smart: Academic Writing and Speeches
  2. Sound Hireable: Resumes and Cover Letters
  3. Sound Efficient: Business and Meetings
  4. Sound Like a Native: Idioms and Proverbs
  5. Continue Studying with PortuguesePod101

1. Sound Smart: Academic Writing and Speeches

If you have been tasked with writing an academic paper or giving a speech, congratulations! That means you are definitely a high-level Portuguese speaker. Still, you might yet lack some advanced Portuguese words and phrases that are essential for structuring your discourse. 

The examples below will help you organize and present your arguments, making them all sound coherent. 

Inicialmente / A princípio 
“Initially” / “At first”
Inicialmente, os dados da pesquisa serão analisados separadamente.
Initially, the survey data will be analyzed separately.”

A princípio, o projeto depende da aprovação do Conselho Administrativo. 
At first, the project will depend on the approval of the Board of Directors.”

Pretende-se estabelecer 
“It is intended to establish”
Neste estudo, pretende-se estabelecer que o consumo excessivo de açúcar é danoso à saúde.
“In this study, it’s intended to establish that the excessive consumption of sugar is damaging to health.”

Embora / Por outro lado / Apesar de 
“Although” / “On the other hand” / “Despite”
Embora amplamente divulgados, os resultados não são claros.
Although widely publicized, the results are not clear.”

Por outro lado, os dados coletados são altamente relevantes. 
On the other hand, the data collected is highly relevant.”

Apesar de todos os esforços, um estudo mais aprofundado é necessário. 
Despite all efforts, further study is needed.”

É importante / É necessário / Convém 
“It’s important” / “It’s necessary” / “It’s worth”
É importante ressaltar que estamos longe deste cenário.
It is important to emphasize that we are far from this scenario.”

É necessário processar o grande volume de informação de forma automática. 
It is necessary to process the large volume of information automatically.”

Convém notar que existem formas alternativas de analisar o problema.
It is worth noting that there are alternative ways to analyze the problem.”

Em termos de 
“In terms of”
Em termos de organização, é possível implementar melhorias de baixo custo.
In terms of organization, it is possible to implement low-cost improvements.”

As evidências sugerem que 
“The evidence suggests that”
As evidências sugerem que o aumento da temperatura global tem acelerado.
The evidence suggests that the rise in global temperature has accelerated.”

Assim / Desta maneira 
“Thus” / “In this way”
Assim, podemos esperar que medidas de contenção sejam tomadas.
Thus, we can expect containment measures to be taken.”

Desta maneira, garantimos a qualidade do ensino.
In this way, we guarantee the quality of education.”

Similarmente 
“Similarly”
Similarmente, o mesmo se aplica dentro da sala de aula.
Similarly, the same applies within the classroom.”

De acordo com 
“According to”
De acordo com o autor, este procedimento apresenta menor risco.
According to the author, this procedure presents less risk.”

Respectivamente  
“Respectively”
Estes valores correspondem ao grupo A e ao grupo B, respectivamente.
“These values correspond to Group A and Group B, respectively.”

Consequentemente 
“Therefore” / “Consequently” / “As a result”
Obtemos um aumento nas vendas de 35% e, consequentemente, podemos continuar a expandir.
“We achieved a sales increase of 35% and, consequently, we can continue to expand.”

Mais além 
“Beyond”
Alguns colaboradores vão mais além do que lhes é pedido.
“Some contributors go beyond what is asked of them.”

Até que ponto 
“How far” / “To what extent”
Até que ponto o uso de animais para estudos científicos é justificado?
To what extent is the use of animals for scientific studies justified?”

Por fim / Em conclusão 
“Finally” / “In conclusion”
Por fim, buscamos responder a pergunta central deste simpósio.
Finally, we seek to answer the central question of this symposium.”

Em conclusão, os resultados indicam um aumento do nível de poluição do rio avaliado.
In conclusion, the results indicate an increase in the pollution level of the assessed river.”

A Woman Taking Notes while Studying

Writing your next paper in Portuguese will be much easier if you know these phrases.


2. Sound Hireable: Resumes and Cover Letters

Although writing a resume or cover letter is pretty formulaic, it can be a challenging feat. For one, the phrases are constructed in a more formal way. In addition, knowing specific vocabulary related to your industry is necessary. Finally, there are certain expressions you should be familiar with so that you can leave a good impression and come across as a polite person. 

Of course, that’s not to say you can’t make them your own! Especially in creative fields like marketing or graphic design, you have a lot more freedom in how to craft your resume, cover letter, or portfolio. But understanding the advanced Portuguese phrases below will help you get started. 

Estou entrando em contato para discutir ___.
“I’m contacting you to discuss ___.”

Tenho interesse em saber mais sobre a oportunidade ___.
“I’m interested in learning more about the ___ opportunity.”

Busco a oportunidade de ___. / Estou em busca de ___.
“I am looking for the opportunity to ___.” / “I am looking for ___.”

Procuro uma nova colocação no mercado ___.
“I’m looking for a new placement in the ___ market.”

Buscando novos desafios na minha carreira em ___
“Seeking new challenges in my career in ___”

Com vasta experiência profissional na área de ___
“With extensive professional experience in the area of ___”

Possuo ampla experiência no mercado de ___.
“I have extensive experience in the ___ market.”

Acredito que as minhas experiências poderão contribuir com ___.
“I believe that my experiences can contribute to ___.”

Adoraria ter a oportunidade de conversar mais sobre ___.
“I would be delighted to have the opportunity to talk more about ___.”

Através dos meus estudos em ___, adquiri amplo conhecimento em___. 
“Through my studies in ___, I have gained broad knowledge in ___.”

Me coloco à disposição para ___.
“I am at your disposal to ___.”

Aguardo ansiosamente seu contato.
“I look forward to hearing from you.”


A Coffee Mug that Says I Love My Job

Ready to find the job of your dreams? Start with the perfect resume!

3. Sound Efficient: Business and Meetings

Clear communication is an essential part of doing business. While simply speaking Portuguese in meetings will garner recognition and praise from most Brazilians, you can go beyond that and make them focus on what you say instead of how you say it. The key is to be so comfortable with advanced Portuguese that you won’t have to stop and search for words.

If that sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry. Since you’re reading this article, it’s clear that you already have a pretty good handle on the language. Now, you just need to get to know the business lingo so you can go confidently into your next meeting!

Trabalho em equipe 
“Teamwork”
Este projeto só foi possível graças ao nosso trabalho em equipe.
“This project was only possible thanks to our teamwork.”

Levar ___ nas costas 
“Carry ___ on one’s back” / “Carry ___ on one’s shoulders”
Literally: “To carry the team on the back”
Meu departamento levou esta empresa nas costas no primeiro semestre. 
“My department carried this company on its back in the first semester.”

Tomar responsabilidade 
“To take responsibility”
Uma característica importante de líderes é tomar responsabilidade.
“An important characteristic of leaders is taking responsibility.”

Prazo final / Data de entrega 
“Deadline” / “Delivery date”
Lembre-se de que estamos perto do prazo final: a data de entrega é daqui a uma semana.
“Remember that we are close to the deadline: the delivery date is a week away.”

Gestão de processos 
“Process management”
A gestão de processos é uma parte essencial da estratégia de empresas de sucesso.
Process management is an essential part of successful businesses’ strategy.”

Rotina de trabalho 
“Work routine”
Ao trabalhar de casa, é importante organizar a rotina de trabalho.
“When working from home, it is important to organize your work routine.”

Pesar os prós e contras 
“Weigh the pros and cons”
Precisamos pesar os prós e contras da proposta antes de tomar uma decisão.
“We need to weigh the pros and cons of the proposal before making a decision.”

Cultura organizacional 
“Organizational culture”
Os valores da companhia são a base para a cultura organizacional
“The company’s values are the basis for the organizational culture.”

Missão e visão da empresa 
“Company’s mission and vision”
Eu acredito na missão e visão da empresa, por isso amo trabalhar aqui.
“I believe in the company’s mission and vision; that’s why I love working here.”

Vamos prosseguir de acordo com os planos. 
“We will proceed according to plan.”

Sinto muito pelo mal-entendido.
“Sorry for the misunderstanding.”

    ➜ Do you need more vocabulary and cultural information for doing business in a Portuguese-speaking country? PortuguesePod101 has a complete guide covering it all!

Four Business Professionals Having a Meeting at Work

The meetings will go a lot smoother if you have the right vocabulary!

4. Sound Like a Native: Idioms and Proverbs

The Portuguese language has countless proverbs, sayings, and idioms. In each lusophone country, you will encounter dozens more that are specific to that place. Before you try getting to know all the quirkiest idioms out there, it’s a good idea to zero in on the most used sayings in Portuguese. You’ll definitely encounter those in conversations with native speakers.

They might not make literal sense, but we bet you’ll see the wisdom in them. And even better, you’ll soon add to your daily vocabulary what are arguably the most advanced phrases in Portuguese! 

Estar com a faca e o queijo na mão 
To have all you need to solve a situation
Literally: “To be with the knife and cheese in hand”
Você está com a faca e o queijo na mão, é hora de agir.
You have all you need to solve this; it’s time to act.”

Fazer uma vaquinha 
To pool money, as in a crowdfunding
Literally: “To make a little cow”
Vamos fazer uma vaquinha para a festa de formatura.
“Let’s pool money for the graduation party.”

A esta altura do campeonato 
At this late stageLiterally:
“At this point in the championship”
A esta altura do campeonato, acho que não podemos fazer mais nada. 
At this point, I don’t think there is anything else we can do.”

Comprar gato por lebre 
To be fooled / To be deceived
Literally: “To buy a cat thinking it was a rabbit”
Quando a encomenda chegou, ele descobriu que tinha comprado gato por lebre!
“When the delivery arrived, he found out he had been deceived.”

Ir para o olho da rua 
To be fired
Literally: “To go to the eye of the street”
Eu não sei como ele ainda não foi para o olho da rua.
“I don’t know how he still hasn’t been fired.”

Não é a minha praia.
It’s not my thing.
Literally: “It’s not my beach.”
Matemática não é a minha praia.
“Math is not my thing.”

Bicho de sete cabeças 
Something very complicated
Literally: “Seven-headed beast”
Dirigir não é nenhum bicho de sete cabeças.
“Driving is not so complicated.”
The origin of this expression is Hydra, the monster from Greek and Roman mythology. Hydra had many heads, with some versions of the story stating that it had seven. Every time one of the heads was chopped off, the Hydra would grow two in its place. Killing it was extremely complicated: um bicho de sete cabeças.

A carapuça serviu. 
To identify with something bad, assuming the guilt
Literally: “The hood fits.”
Ela ficou chateada, mas o que eu posso fazer se a carapuça serviu?
“She was upset, but what can I do if she feels guilty?”
Carapuça is a kind of hood, but the word isn’t really used at all except in this expression.

Quem vê cara, não vê coração.
“To judge a book by its cover”
Literally: “Who sees face doesn’t see heart.”
Ninguém suspeitou dele, realmente quem vê cara não vê coração.
“Nobody suspected him, really judging a book by its cover.”

Falar pelos cotovelos 
To talk a lot
Literally: “Speak through the elbows”
Você já sabe que a minha mãe fala pelos cotovelos.
“You already know my mother talks a lot.”

Estar com a pulga atrás da orelha 
To have a suspicion about something
Literally: “To have a flea behind your ear”
Eu bem que estava com a pulga atrás da orelha, parecia bom demais para ser verdade.
“I was suspicious about it; it sounded too good to be true.”

    ➜ Check out this article containing many more popular Portuguese proverbs to find even more quirky sayings. It’s available for free on PortuguesePod101.com!

A Man Holding a Box of His Work Belongings After Being Fired

Me mandaram para o olho da rua. (“They fired me.”)

5. Continue Studying with PortuguesePod101

Are you ready to go out into the world and put these advanced Portuguese phrases to use? We hope you feel confident in your ability to have all kinds of conversations with Portuguese speakers while having a lot of fun along the way. Try to find situations where you can use the phrases and idioms explained in this article, as that will really help fix them in your memory.

Do you think we missed any important advanced conversational phrases in Portuguese? Or is there something that isn’t clear enough? Let us know in the comments! We are always eager to hear from you.

To take your skills to the next level, continue exploring PortuguesePod101.com! We have lots of free Portuguese resources and vocabulary lists for all situations. Go ahead and choose your favorite tools to expand your learning opportunities and continue growing your advanced Portuguese vocabulary. 

If you want to take your studies further, create your free lifetime account today. Members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons 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

Intermediate-level Portuguese Phrases You Should Know

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

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

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

Interesting conversations, here we go!

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

1. Talking About the Past: Experiences and Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Talking About the Future: Making Plans

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

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

For example:

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

Formal situations

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

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

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

Podemos remarcar a apresentação.
We can reschedule the presentation.

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

Casual situations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Group of Friends Eating Outdoors Together with Drinks

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

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

3. Giving Explanations and Reasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Woman Holding a Bowl of Salad for Her Husband

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

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

4. Making Recommendations and Criticisms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Woman in a Yellow Shirt Getting Ready for the Movies

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

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

5. Reacting to Everyday Conversations

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

1 – Excitement

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

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

Other expressions you can use to convey excitement:

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

2 – Disbelief and Surprise

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

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

Other expressions for reacting with surprise or disbelief:

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

3 – Bad News

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

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

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

4 – That’s Annoying

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

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

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

6. Be Polite: Etiquette Phrases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saúde!
Bless you!
Literally: Health!

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

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

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

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

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

A Businesswoman Extending Her Hand for a Handshake

Being polite in business settings is a key to success.


7. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

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

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

Before you go, explore some of the amazing free Portuguese resources we have prepared for you, and try out any of the Portuguese vocabulary lists available on PortuguesePod101.com. Go ahead and choose your favorite tools to expand your learning opportunities.

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

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The Top 50 Portuguese Phrases for Beginners

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Learning a language means becoming familiar with a lot of different things: grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation… Each of these elements deserves attention and dedication. But as a beginner, it’s easy to feel stuck. Learning some handy and practical Portuguese phrases for beginners is a way to break through the initial roadblocks. 

This is not to say you should overlook the more methodical, step-by-step study of Portuguese grammar. But pairing it with go-to phrases, expressions, and even slang terms can give you the boost you need in your language learning journey. Remember to also watch videos, listen to music, and tune into Portuguese conversations in order to practice your oral comprehension. Along the way, you’ll definitely encounter some of the beginner phrases from this article!

Today, you’ll learn basic Portuguese phrases you can use in a variety of situations and contexts. For some of the phrases, we have included a literal translation along with the natural translation; this way, you can identify both the practical uses of the phrase and the meaning behind the words. By the time you’re done with this article, you’ll have the tools you need to greet people and introduce yourself, use polite courtesy phrases, dine, shop, and get help from Portuguese speakers.

A Bald Man Wearing a Tie and a Watch Looking Up at Someone

These Portuguese beginner phrases will help you deal with common situations!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Conversation Starters: Greetings and Self-introductions
  2. Being Social: Courtesy Phrases
  3. Spending Money: Dining & Shopping
  4. Don’t Be Shy, and Ask for Help
  5. Continue Learning with PortuguesePod101!

1. Conversation Starters: Greetings and Self-introductions

Picture this: You’ve just arrived in a beautiful city in Brazil. While you wait for your bus, a fellow traveler smiles at you and says Oi! (“Hi!”). Instead of panicking, stay calm and remember these basic introduction phrases! 

Remember that, in most friendly and informal situations, you can start interactions with oi. Olá! (“Hello!”) also works, but it comes across as a bit more formal. 

The following Portuguese beginner phrases will help you continue a quick conversation, present yourself, and say goodbye.

Greetings and Goodbyes

Bom dia!Good morning!
Boa tarde!Good afternoon!
Boa noite!Good evening! / Goodnight!

Oi, tudo bem?Literally: Hi, all well?Hi, how are you?

Olá, como você está?Hello, how are you?
This is a more formal version of Oi, tudo bem?

When greeting, you can always add the name or the title of the person you’re talking to. For example: 

  • Bom dia, Luísa! Tudo bem? (“Good morning, Luísa! How are you?”)
  • Olá professor, como você está? (“Hello, Professor. How are you?”)

Tudo bem, obrigado.
Tudo bem, obrigada.
Literally: 
All well, thank you. (masculine)
All well, thank you. (feminine)
I’m well, thank you. (masculine)
I’m well, thank you. (feminine)

Eu estou bem, obrigado.
Eu estou bem, obrigada.
I’m well, thank you. (masculine)
I’m well, thank you. (feminine)

Até mais tarde.Literally: Until later.See you later.
Até mais.Literally: Until more.See you.
Até logo.Literally: Until soon.See you soon.
Até amanhã.Literally: Until tomorrow.See you tomorrow.


Introductions

Meu nome é [nome].My name is [name].

Eu me chamo [nome].Literally: I am called [name].My name is [name].

Qual é o seu nome?What is your name?

Como você se chama?Literally: How do you call yourself?What is your name?

É um prazer te conhecer.Literally: It’s a pleasure to meet you.Nice to meet you.
In more casual situations, you could simply say prazer (literally “pleasure,” but meaning “nice to meet you”).

Eu tenho [idade] anos.Literally: I have [age] years.I am [age] years old.

Eu sou (“I am”) is a handy, short way of giving some basic information about yourself, such as your name and your nationality.

Eu sou o [nome].
Eu sou a [nome].
I am [name]. (masculine)
I am [name]. (feminine)

Eu sou [nacionalidade].I am [nationality].

Eu sou do Canadá.
Eu sou de Israel.
Eu sou da Austrália.
Eu sou dos Estados Unidos.
I am from Canada.
I am from Israel.
I am from Australia.
I am from the United States.


An Asian Man Waving to Someone and Smiling

Meu nome é Michael. (“My name is Michael.”)

2. Being Social: Courtesy Phrases

There’s a special set of words that children learn early on: the magic words! When learning a foreign language, it’s a good idea to take a child’s approach by also mastering the magic words. You know the ones: thank you, please, excuse me, I’m sorry…

Even if you’re not a fluent Portuguese speaker, knowing how to use these courtesy phrases is important as it will help you come across as more polite. Pair these phrases with a smile, and you can get a long way in Brazil!


Desculpa.Literally: Apologies.I’m sorry.
Variations you can use:
  • Me desculpa. (Literally: “Apologize me.” / Means: “I’m sorry.”)
  • Me desculpe. (Literally: “Apologize me.” / Means: “I’m sorry.”)
  • Mil desculpas! (“A thousand apologies!”)

Perdão.Literally: Forgiveness.Pardon.

Me perdoe.Forgive me.

Sinto muito.Literally: I feel a lot.I’m really sorry.

Com licença.Excuse me.
You can use this expression in two ways: 
  1. To catch someone’s attention before asking a question
    Com licença, pode me dizer que horas são? (“Excuse me, can you tell me what time it is?”)

  2. To ask for some space so you can pass by
    Com licença, posso passar? (“Excuse me, can I pass?”)

Obrigado.
Obrigada.
Thank you. (masculine)
Thank you. (feminine)
If you identify as male, always use the masculine form, regardless of the gender of the person you’re thanking. Same thing for the female form: If you identify as female, always use obrigada.

Muito obrigado.
Muito obrigada.
Thank you very much. (masculine)
Thank you very much. (feminine)

De nada.
Por nada.
Literally: 
Of nothing.
For nothing.
You’re welcome.

Não faz mal.Literally: It doesn’t do harm.It’s alright. / No problem.
Não tem problema.Literally: There isn’t a problem.No problem.

Sem problemas.No problems.
Por favor.Please.

Three Friends Eating at an Outdoor Restaurant Together

Obrigada por me convidar para almoçar! (“Thank you for inviting me for lunch!”)


3. Spending Money: Dining & Shopping

With just a few staple sentences, you can get by in a restaurant or a shop as you buy those basic things you’re sure to need when traveling. In addition to memorizing these Portuguese beginner phrases, try to also sharpen your vocabulary. Doing so will definitely spice up your shopping and dining experiences!

Phrases for Ordering and Paying

Um refrigerante, por favor.A soda, please.

Eu queria uma garrafa de águaLiterally: I wanted a bottle ofI would like a bottle of sparkling
com gás, por favor.sparkling water, please.water, please.

Eu gostaria de uma limonada, por favor.I would like a lemonade, please.
Eu quero uma lembrancinha do Brasil.I want a souvenir from Brazil.
Vocês têm chinelos?Do you have slippers / flip-flops?
Havaianas is the most famous Brazilian flip-flop brand, and the brand name is sometimes used synonymously with the word for “slippers.”
Quanto custa a água de coco?How much is the coconut water?
Fica quanto?How much is it?
Posso pagar com cartão de crédito?
Posso pagar com cartão de débito?
Posso pagar com dinheiro?
Can I pay with a credit card?
Can I pay with a debit card?
Can I pay with cash?
Vou pagar com cartão de crédito.
Vou pagar com cartão de débito.
Vou pagar com dinheiro.
I’ll pay with a credit card.
I’ll pay with a debit card.
I’ll pay with cash.

Dining-specific Phrases

Posso ver o menu?Can I see the menu?

Qual é o prato do dia?Literally: What is the dish of the day?What is today’s special?

Vocês têm prato feito?Literally: Do you have a set dish/meal?
Prato feito, also called PF, is a popular (and often cheap) option in many Brazilian restaurants. It normally consists of rice, beans, french fries, meat, and a lettuce-and-tomato salad.

Restaurante self-servicePay-by-weight restaurant
This is a very common type of restaurant in Brazil. It is similar to a buffet, but instead of being an all-you-can-eat, its dining model requires customers to weigh their serving before eating. 

Restaurante à la carteRestaurant with table service
This is a restaurant with a set menu and table service.

Para aqui ou para levar?
Para aqui ou para viagem?
Literally: 
For here or to go?
For here or to travel?
For here or to go / takeaway?

Para levar.
Para viagem.
Literally: 
To go.
To travel.
To go. / Takeaway.

A conta, por favor.The bill, please.

A Waiter Carrying Three Plates of Food

Restaurante à la carte (“Restaurant with table service”)

4. Don’t Be Shy, and Ask for Help

At one point or another, we all need to ask for help. It happens to everyone, so don’t feel bad about it!

Sometimes, it might be a good idea to let people know that you’re still learning and might not understand everything they say. And in case it’s really necessary, you can always ask English speakers to give you a helping hand.

And of course, don’t forget to learn beginner Portuguese phrases for emergency situations.

Difficulties Understanding Portuguese

Como?Literally: How?Sorry? 
You could say Como? (“Sorry?”) if you didn’t hear or understand what someone just said.

Desculpe, não entendi.I’m sorry; I didn’t understand.
Pode repetir?Can you repeat?
Pode repetir mais devagar, por favor?Can you repeat it more slowly, please?
Eu não falo português muito bem.I don’t speak Portuguese very well.
Estou aprendendo português.I’m learning Portuguese.
Você fala Inglês?Do you speak English?
Não conheço esta palavra.I don’t know this word.

Finding Your Way

Onde é o banheiro?
Onde fica o banheiro?
Literally: 
Where is the bathroom?
Where the bathroom stays?
Where is the bathroom?

Como chego no hospital?
Como chego na academia?
Literally: 
How do I arrive at the hospital?
How do I arrive at the gym?
How can I get to the hospital?
How can I get to the gym?

Você sabe onde fica o restaurante?Do you know where the restaurant is?
Desculpa, você sabe o nome desta rua?Excuse me, do you know the name of this street?

Este ônibus passa no centro?Literally: Does this bus pass downtown?Does this bus stop downtown?


Emergencies

Socorro!Help!
Pode me ajudar, por favor?Can you help me, please?
Eu preciso de um médico.I need a doctor.
Eu preciso de ajuda!I need help!

A Tourist Getting Directions from a Woman at an Info Center

Com licença, onde fica o Jardim Botânico? (“Excuse me, where is the Botanical Garden?”)

5. Continue Learning with PortuguesePod101!

Feeling ready to put these Portuguese beginner phrases to use? We hope so! This article will serve as a helpful cheat sheet for the most common situations you’ll find yourself in, so feel free to come back as many times as you need. 

Was this article helpful? Do you think you’ll be able to deal with the common situations that you might face as a new Portuguese learner? Let us know if you think we missed anything!

If you want to take your speaking and listening skills to the next level, be sure to continue studying Portuguese grammar and vocabulary. You can get started by using any of the vocabulary lists or other free resources on PortuguesePod101.com.

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.

Happy Portuguese learning!

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Learn Advanced Portuguese Words to Achieve Your Goals

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Learning the Portuguese language requires the application of various study and practice methods. One of the most effective ways to progress in your studies is to memorize key vocabulary words across a wide range of topics. Like in many other spheres of life, those who aim high are most likely to thrive. In that fashion, studying advanced Portuguese words is an active way to keep motivated when learning the language.

The conventional learning process consists of moving linearly from one proficiency level to the next. While this method is conventional for good reasons, this path to knowledge should not stand in the way of curious learners who wish to broaden their horizons. Indeed, even beginners and intermediate learners can benefit and derive enjoyment from studying more advanced Portuguese vocabulary. 

Stretching your knowledge this way will not only help you set higher standards for yourself, but it can also be a playful way to prepare for your intended future uses of the Portuguese language. Why not get a head start in your Brazilian business ventures, academic endeavors, or Portuguese proficiency testing? A little extra effort could be strategic in changing your life!

With the intent of providing a resourceful alternative for curious learners who wish to breathe in the heights of thin air, this article presents advanced Portuguese words and phrases in a variety of categories.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. General Advanced Portuguese Words
  2. Advanced Business Words
  3. Advanced Medical Words
  4. Advanced Legal Words
  5. Sophisticated Words to Level Up Your Writing & Conversations
  6. Conclusion

1. General Advanced Portuguese Words

A Man Studying in a Library

These advanced Portuguese words will enrich your writing in academic contexts!

Let us begin our list of advanced Portuguese words by building a solid foundation. Here, we will cover the crucial verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and linking words that will help you express yourself with greater clarity in many situations. 

1 – Verbs

ArgumentarContra fatos, não há o que argumentar.
“To argue” / “To debate” – “Against facts, there’s no arguing.”

Debater – Ela gosta de debater.
“To debate” – “She likes to debate.”

Compreender – Na vida, há coisas difíceis de compreender.
“To understand” / “To comprehend” – “There are things in life that are difficult to understand.”

Postergar – Ele postergou o almoço o quanto pôde.
“To postpone” – “He postponed the lunch as long as he could.”

Articular – Aprenda a articular estas palavras avançadas em português para obter os melhores efeitos!
“To articulate” – “Learn to articulate these advanced Portuguese words for the best results!”

Perceber – Percebi um ninho de pássaros da minha janela.
“To glimpse” – “I’ve glimpsed a bird’s nest from my window.”

Relatar – Se precisar relatar um problema, fale comigo.
“To report” – “If you need to report a problem, talk to me.”

Congregar – Tentamos congregar toda a comunidade com este evento.
“To congregate” – “We tried to congregate the whole community with this event.”

Interromper – Eles não conseguem deixar de interromper a explicação!
“To interrupt” – “They can’t help interrupting the explanation!”

Prosseguir – Havia algumas dúvidas sobre a melhor maneira de proceder.
“To proceed” – “There were some doubts about the best way to proceed.”

2 – Adjectives

Precedente – O candidato precedente teve bom desempenho…
“Previous” – “The previous candidate had a good performance…”

Consistente – …mas o desempenho da seguinte também foi consistente.
“Consistent” – “…but the latter’s performance was also consistent.”

(In)Conveniente – Esta é uma solução extremamente conveniente!
“(In)Convenient” – “This is an extremely convenient solution!”

Formidável – Seria formidável ter uma lista de palavras avançadas em português para estudar.
“Formidable” / “Terrific” – “It would be formidable to have an advanced Portuguese word list to study.”

Aleatório (m.) / Aleatória (f.) – As cartas estão dispostas em ordem aleatória.
“Random” – “The cards are arranged in a random order.”

Rentável – Aquele era o negócio mais rentável no país na época.
“Profitable” – “That was the most profitable business in the country at the time.”

Astuto (m.) / Astuta (f.) – Minha mãe era uma mulher muito astuta.
“Cunning” / “Astute” – “My mother was a very astute woman.”

Adequado (m.) / Adequada (f.) – Tudo é possível pedindo da maneira adequada.
“Adequate” / “Suitable” – “Everything is possible when you ask for it in a suitable manner.”

Impecável – O serviço de quarto neste hotel é impecável.
“Flawless” – “Room service is flawless at this hotel.”

Razoável – Poucas ofertas têm um preço tão razoável.
“Reasonable” – “Few offers have such a reasonable price.”

Espontâneo (m.) / Espontânea (f.) – A escolha foi totalmente espontânea, mas equivocada.
“Spontaneous” – “The choice was totally spontaneous, yet mistaken.”

Eficaz – Ela é a mais eficaz das três filhas.
“Effective” – “She is the most effective of the three daughters.”

Moderado (m.) / Moderada (f.) – Muita gente subestima o comportamento moderado.
“Moderate” – “Many people underestimate moderate behavior.”

Destemperado (m.) / Destemperada (f.) – Ele não parecia ser um sujeito destemperado antes de beber!
“Untempered” – “He did not look like an untempered bloke before he drank!”

3 – Adverbs

Definitivamente – Eu recebi os resultados do exame: eu definitivamente tenho uma úlcera.
“Definitely” – “I’ve got the results of the test back: I definitely have an ulcer.”

Brilhantemente – O filme é perfeito porque termina brilhantemente.
“Brilliantly” – “The film is perfect because it ends brilliantly.”

Tranquilamente – Ela almoçava tranquilamente enquanto os cavalos corriam do lado de fora.
“Quietly” – “She ate lunch quietly as the horses ran outside.”

Rápido (rapidamente) – Os carros passam rapidamente na estrada.
“Quickly” – “The cars pass quickly on the road.”

  • Even though rápido means “quick,” the synonymous adverb rapidamente is the “correct” form; rápido is more common in informal language. The feminine form, rápida, is not acceptable for this use.

Literalmente – Literalmente ninguém pensou nisso.
“Literally” – “Literally nobody thought about it.”

Certamente – Você certamente me conhece da televisão.
“Certainly” – “You certainly know me from TV.”

Ainda – Acredite se quiser, a reunião ainda não acabou.
“Yet” – “Believe it or not, the meeting is not over yet.”

4 – Linking Words

Todavia – Fazia frio à noite, todavia não chovia.
“Nevertheless” – “It was a cold night; nevertheless, it was not raining.”

Embora – Embora eu adorasse ficar, preciso sair.
“Although” – “Although I’d love to stay, I need to go.”

Contanto que – Você pode ficar com o doce, contanto que termine o jantar.
“As long as” – “You can have the candy, as long as you finish dinner.”

Portanto – Paramos de ver o filme, portanto não sabemos qual é o final dele.
“Therefore” – “We stopped watching the movie; therefore, we don’t know its ending.”

Consequentemente – Todos pararam de rir, consequentemente tudo ficou em silêncio.
“Consequently” – “Everyone stopped laughing; consequently, everything was quiet.”

No que concerne a – Esta pergunta não faz sentido no que concerne à trama.
“With regard to” – “This question does not make sense with regard to the plot.”

Apesar de – Apesar de estar vestida, ela se sentia nua.
“Even though” – “Even though she was dressed, she felt naked.”

2. Advanced Business Words

A Woman Talking on the Phone Late at Night at the Office

Add these words to your advanced Portuguese vocabulary and boost your business communication skills.

Do you plan to do business or find a job in Brazil? Learning some advanced Portuguese vocabulary words for the business world will be providential in helping you reach better results through strong communication and understanding.

1 – Verbs

Gerenciar – Quem gerencia este establecimento?
“To manage” – “Who runs this establishment?”

Remunerar – Este é um cargo bem-remunerado.
“To compensate” / “To pay” – “This is a well-paid position.”

2 – Nouns

A matriz – Tudo mudou desde o incidente na matriz.
“Head office” – “Everything has changed since the incident at the head office.”

A filial / A sucursal – Instalaram conexão 5G na filial ontem.
“Branch” – “5G connection was installed in the company’s branch yesterday.”

O setor / O departamento – Uma empresa pequena tem poucos setores.
“Department” – “A small company has few departments.”

Recursos humanos – Os profissionais de recursos humanos são muito solicitados.
“Human resources” – “Human resources professionals are in high demand.”

Comercial – O setor comercial recomendou mudanças ao produto.
“Commercial” – “The commercial department recommended changes to the product.”

Jurídico – Ouvi más notícias do setor jurídico.
“Legal” – “I’ve heard bad news from the legal department.”

Operações – A complexidade das operações cresceu em dez anos.
“Operations” – “The complexity of the operations increased in ten years.”

A superintendência – O gerente dela foi à superintendência.
“Superintendence” – “Her manager went to the superintendence.”

Os ativos – Temos planos de liquidar ativos neste ano.
“Assets” – We have plans to liquidate assets this year.

Os passivos – Esta empresa não tem passivos.
“Liability” – “This company has no liabilities.”

A taxa de juros – As taxas de juros parecem estar favoráveis à contabilidade.
“Interest rate” – “The interest rates seem to be favorable to accounting.”

O tributo – É impossível escapar dos tributos!
“Tributes” – “It’s impossible to escape from the tributes!”

Fundos – Temos que desbloquear os fundos.
“Funds” – “We have to release funds.”

A receita – Esta receita toda cobre as dívidas?
“Revenue” – “Does all this revenue cover the debts?”

O lucro – Lucro não é o mesmo que receita.
“Profit” – “Profit is not the same as revenue.”

O prejuízo – Como uma empresa deste tamanho consegue ter prejuízo financeiro?
“Loss” – “How can a company of this size have a financial loss?”

A dívida – Ter uma dívida com o fisco é uma ferida incurável.
“Debt” – “Having a debt with the tax authority is an incurable wound.”

O capital de giro – Capital de giro é fundamental para um negócio.
“Working capital” – “Working capital is fundamental for a business.”

A folha de pagamento – Folha de pagamento é uma lista de empregados que são pagos pela empresa.
“Payroll” – “Payroll is a list of employees who get paid by the company.”

O holerite – Recebemos o holerite com um sorriso no rosto.
“Payslip” – “We’ve received the payslip with a smile on our faces.”

3. Advanced Medical Words

An Optometrist Examining a Woman’s Eyes

Time for a check-up of advanced Portuguese words related to medicine.

1 – Verbs

Esterilizar Os instrumentos foram todos esterilizados.
“To disinfect” / “To sterilize” – “The instruments were all sterilized.”

Anestesiar – Eles querem anestesiar minha avó!
“To anesthetize” / “To sedate” – “They want to sedate my grandmother!”

2 – Nouns

O tratamento – Qual é o tratamento para a minha doença?
“Treatment” – “What is the treatment for my disease?”

A biopsia – O exame envolve a biopsia do tecido.
“Biopsy” – “The test includes a biopsy of the tissue.”

O procedimento – Três médicos participam do procedimento.
“Procedure” – “Three doctors take part in the procedure.”

O médico / A médica residente – A médica residente ficou impressionada com o vocabulário avançado dele em português.
“The resident doctor” – “The resident doctor was impressed by his advanced Portuguese vocabulary.”

  • Residente is traditionally an adjective, but it can also be used as a noun.

A cirurgia – Ninguém faz cirurgias nesta época do ano.
“Surgery” – “Nobody does surgery at this time of year.”

A alergia a medicação – Nunca tive uma alergia grave.
“Allergy to medication” – “I have never had a severe allergy.”

O raio X – Você não tem medo da radiação do raio X?
“X-ray” – “Aren’t you afraid of the X-ray’s radiation?”

A fratura – Esta é uma típica fratura de braço.
“Fracture” – “This is a typical arm fracture.”

A infecção – O hospital controla as infecções com cuidado.
“Infection” – “The hospital carefully controls the infections.”

A inflamação – Esta é minha primeira inflamação no ouvido.
“Inflammation” – “This is my first ear inflammation.”

O sangramento – Estou preocupado com um sangramento no meu nariz.
“Bleeding” – “I’m concerned about a bleeding in my nose.”

A receita médica – Quem consegue ler o que está escrito na receita?
“The receipt” – “Who’s able to read the writing on the receipt?”

O exame de sangue – Doutor, qual é o resultado do exame de sangue?
“Blood test” – “Doctor, what are the blood test results?”

A menstruação – Deixa eu te contar algo sobre menstruação…
“Menstruation” – “Let me tell you something about menstruation…”

Cólica – Ela odeia profundamente as cólicas.
“Cramps” – “She hates cramps profoundly.”

A dor de estômago – A dor de estômago está de matar.
“Stomachache” – “The stomachache is killing me.”

3 – Adjectives 

Benigno – O médico disse que o tumor é benigno.
“Benign” – “The doctor says it is a benign tumor.”

4. Advanced Legal Words

A Gavel in the Foreground and a Judge in the Background

You have the right to learn advanced Portuguese vocabulary words related to the legal system!

Advanced students of Portuguese should also start learning words related to the legal system. A good understanding of this vocabulary can help you follow the news, engage in more complex conversations, and even avoid unfortunate misunderstandings. 

1 – Verbs

Convocar / intimar – Ela convocou a testemunha.
“To summon” – “She summoned the witness.”

2 – Nouns

O escritório – Este escritório é extremamente moderno.
“Office” – “This office is extremely modern.”

Jurídico – Ouvi más notícias do setor jurídico.
“Legal” – “I’ve heard bad news from the legal department.”

A procuração – O contrato pode ser assinado por procuração?
“Proxy” / “Power of attorney” – “Can the contract be signed by proxy?”

O/a representante legal – Sou o representante legal da empresa.
“Legal representative” – “I am the company’s legal representative.”

Os honorários – Ela precisa pagar honorários advocatícios.
“Fee” – “She needs to pay attorney’s fees.”

O histórico criminal – Você não tem histórico criminal?
“Criminal record” – “Don’t you have a criminal record?”

O recurso – Você pode interpor um recurso neste processo?
“Legal appeal” – “Can you file an appeal in this lawsuit?”

A corte de apelação – Muita gente discorda desta decisão da corte de apelação.
“Court of Appeals” – “A lot of people disagree with this decision by the Court of Appeals.”

O juiz / a juíza – O juiz perdeu a cabeça…
“Judge” – “The judge has lost his mind…”

A petição – Uma petição é um documento geralmente cheio de palavras avançadas em português.
“Petition” – “A petition is a document commonly filled with advanced Portuguese words.”

O/a oficial de justiça – Não acredito que fui intimado por um oficial de justiça.
“Bailiff” – “I can’t believe I was summoned by a bailiff.”

O mandado de prisão – Para esta situação, um mandado de prisão é necessário.
“Arrest warrant” – “An arrest warrant is required in this situation.”

O divórcio litigioso – Divórcio litigioso é coisa séria.
“Litigious divorce” – “Litigious divorce is a serious thing.”

O acordo judicial – Sua melhor opção hoje é um acordo judicial.
“Judicial agreement” – “Your best option today is a judicial agreement.”

A indenização – Depois da sentença, vem o pagamento da indenização…
“Indemnity” – “After the sentence comes the indemnity payment…”

O escrivão / A escrivã – Quais são as atribuições de um escrivão?
“Justice clerk” – “What are the assignments of a justice clerk?”

A agressão – Ele foi acusado de agressão.
“Assault” – “He was accused of assault.”

A corrupção – Ela foi presa com acusações de corrupção.
“Corruption” / “Bribery” – “She was arrested with corruption charges.”

A extorsão Ele alega que não sabia que isto era extorsão.
“Extortion” – “He claims he did not know it was extortion.”

A evasão de divisas – Evasão de divisas é um crime federal.
“Foreign exchange evasion” – “Foreign exchange evasion is a federal crime.”

5. Sophisticated Words to Level Up Your Writing & Conversations

Lego Blocks

This advanced Portuguese word list will add some extra color to your communication!

Why fake it ‘til you make it, when you could learn these advanced Portuguese words and phrases to leave a real and lasting impression in more sophisticated contexts? In this section, we have listed the more advanced counterparts (first column) of simpler Portuguese words (second column). We recommend studying these words well and learning how to use them properly when the situation calls for it.

Alternative Verbs

RatificarConfirmarOs prefeitos ratificaram o pacto.
To ratifyTo confirmThe mayors ratified the pact.
RedigirEscreverEstamos redigindo um novo relatório.
To composeTo writeWe are composing a new report.
AdquirirComprarQueremos adquirir estas patentes.
To acquireTo buyWe want to acquire these patents.
RevelarMostrarA Embraer revelou novos modelos de avião.
To unveilTo showEmbraer has unveiled new airplane models.
DeclararDizerEla alegou que não tinha nada a declarar.
To declareTo sayShe claimed she didn’t have anything to declare.

Alternative Adjectives

These adjectives are not the most common advanced Portuguese words, but they might come in handy. 

FundamentalMuito importanteEste é um serviço fundamental.
FundamentalVery importantThis is a fundamental service.
FactualObjetivoPrefiro comentários factuais sobre o assunto.
FactualObjectiveI prefer factual comments on the matter.
EscassoPoucoAs opções de comida aqui são escassas.
ScarceFewThe food options here are scarce.
VantajosoBomSempre procuramos condições vantajosas.
AdvantageousGoodWe always look for advantageous conditions.

Alternative Adverbs

EventualmenteTalvezPodemos seguir seus planos eventualmente.
EventuallyMaybeEventually, we might follow your plans.
Com efeitoRealmenteCom efeito, tudo era verdade.
IndeedReallyIndeed, everything was true.
DoravanteA seguirDoravante te chamarei de “fofinho”!
HenceforthFollowinglyHenceforth, I’ll call you “Fluffy”!
AdicionalmenteAlém dissoAdicionalmente, eu gostaria de falar com a sua mãe.
AdditionallyBesidesAdditionally, I’d like to talk to your mother.

6. Conclusion

We hope you found this list of advanced Portuguese words helpful and that you feel inspired to keep improving your language skills. Did you know any of these words already, or were they all new to you? 

Being introduced to complex vocabulary is only the first step. Directed and consistent study is essential in learning how to correctly use each of the advanced Portuguese words and phrases presented in this guide. You can take an active approach by: 

  • Building your own sentences using some of these advanced Portuguese vocabulary words
  • Using flashcards to gradually absorb their meanings
  • Finding a Portuguese learning program that fits your every need

Striking a balance between individual effort and directed study is essential when it comes to improving your learning potential. 

PortuguesePod101 is a platform packed with free resources designed to teach you Portuguese in an engaging way. Our thematic vocabulary lists will help you understand new words (including their usage and pronunciation), while our vast array of other tools create a flexible yet structured approach to language learning. If you need an extra push, MyTeacher is a Premium PLUS service from PortuguesePod101 that gives you access to 1-on-1 coaching with a private teacher.

Whatever your needs or your current proficiency level, you can count on PortuguesePod101 to help you level up with ease. Not sure where to start? Then we recommend checking out our advanced Portuguese course to get a feel for what we offer.

Try it, and see for yourself—happy learning!

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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!

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Sound Like a Brazilian: The Top 10 Portuguese Filler Words

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

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

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

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

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

A Group of Four Friends Chatting and Having Coffee Beverages

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

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

1. Why do we use filler words? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. The Top 10 Portuguese Filler Words

#1

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Tipo“Type”“Like”

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

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

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

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

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

#2

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Ééé“Uh”

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

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

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

A Woman Pausing to Look Up and Think while Taking Notes

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

#3

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

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

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

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


#4

PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent
Então“Then”“So”

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

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

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

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

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

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

#5

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

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

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

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

#6

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

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

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

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

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

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

#7

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

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

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

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

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


One Businessman Whispering Something in the Ear of Another Businessman

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

#8

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

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

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

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


#9

PortugueseLiterally and English Equivalent
Sabe“You know”

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

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

#10

PortugueseLiterally and English Equivalent
Ah / Ai“Oh”

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Giving a Speech

Avoid filler words in presentations and formal settings.

4. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Say “I Love You,” in Portuguese

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

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

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

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

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

1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-up Lines

The Flames of a Fire

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

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

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

A- Meeting and flirting

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

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

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

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

B- Going out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colored Dyes Dissolving in Water

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

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

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

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

Ready? 

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

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

An Old Couple Walking Together in a Park

Old friends, sat on their park bench like bookends…

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

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

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

4. Endearment Terms

A Couple Lying Together in the Grass During Autumn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Must-know Love Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Don’t say adeus, say até logo!

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

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

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

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

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

Happy learning!

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Saying No: An Overview of Portuguese Negation

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

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

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

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

Não gostei. (“I didn’t like it.”)

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

1. Negating a Statement

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Making a positive sentence negative

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. Negation and Questions

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

1 – Giving a negative response to a question 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Asking Negative Questions

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

Let’s take a look:

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

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

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

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

A Little Girl Making a Disgusting Face While Eating Peas

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

3. Other Negating Words

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

1 – Nem (“Neither” / “Nor”)

Nem is a very popular negating word. 

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

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

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

2 – Nunca and Jamais (“Never”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 – Não mais (“Not anymore”)

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

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

4 – More Negating Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Confused Guy Scratching His Head

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

4. Double and Triple Negatives

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

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

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

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

If anything, triple negatives can convey a stronger negation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out this lesson with double negative examples by PortuguesePod101!

A Girl Confused in Class

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

5. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

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

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

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

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

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Portuguese?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just One Thing Before We Start

A Woman Raising Her Hand in Class

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

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

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

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

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

Beginner Level

An Answer Sheet Filled Out

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

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

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

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

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

Study Tips 

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

  • Reading & Writing. 

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

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

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

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

  • Speaking & Listening. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intermediate Level

An Up-close Shot of Someone Holding a Television Remote

Meet your new assistant for remote cultural research.

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

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

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

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

Study Tips

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


  • Speaking & Listening.

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

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

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

    Here are some PortuguesePod101 resources for you:

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

Advanced Level

Suitcases Stacked Up and An Airplane Flying in the Background

Studying abroad can be very helpful for the advanced learner.

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

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

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

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

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

Study Tips

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

  • Reading & Writing. 

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

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

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

  • Speaking & Listening. 

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

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

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

    Here are some resources for you:

    Listening Comprehension for Advanced Learners
    Video Culture Class: Brazil Holidays

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Brazilian Wisdom of Portuguese Proverbs

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

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

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

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

A Woman Stretching as She Gets Up in the Morning

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

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

1. Proverbs About Relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Picture of a Monkey on a Tree Branch

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

2. Proverbs About Work and Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Lots of Jewelry and a Golden Watch

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

3. Proverbs About Life and Wisdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Singing while Listening to Music on His Headphones

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

4. Proverbs About Overcoming Adversities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

A Kitten and a Puppy against a White Background

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

5. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

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

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

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

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