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The Ultimate Guide to Intermediate Portuguese Words


You have conquered the sometimes scary first steps of learning a new language. Your ears are used to the different rhythms of Portuguese, you can make all of those unique R sounds, and you can even write sentences about familiar topics in the language. Awesome! You’ve now reached the intermediate Portuguese level, and a whole new world is opening up!

Being an intermediate learner in a foreign language comes with dores e delícias (“pain and joy”). On the one hand, you have already conquered many of the initial stumbling blocks and you can consume some Brazilian media with ease. But on the other hand, there is a real possibility of getting stuck and reaching a plateau in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and self-expression.

Alongside a good dose of motivation and a smart study program, this article will help you with the common issues that intermediate Portuguese students face. How? It brings together 300+ words that you can add to your vocabulary. If you’re not familiar with some of them or don’t understand how to use them in sentences, this is a good indicator of your next steps! By tackling the different word categories and learning how to use the majority of the words presented, I guarantee you won’t get stuck in the intermediate limbo!

So roll up your sleeves, open your notebook, and warm up your vocal cords. It’s time to get familiar with the most important intermediate Portuguese nouns, verbs, adjectives, numbers, pronouns, and more!

Five Friends Getting Together for Dinner at One of Their Homes

Showcase your intermediate Portuguese skills when chatting with your friends!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Useful Pronouns
  2. Connect the Dots: Conjunctions
  3. Fill in the Blanks: Prepositions
  4. Making Sense of Numbers
  5. Call it by its Name: Nouns
  6. Make it Happen: Verbs
  7. Qualifiers: Adjectives
  8. Modify Verbs: Adverbs
  9. Sound Like a Local
  10. Continue Learning with PortuguesePod101!

1. Useful Pronouns

You’re already familiar with the essential pronouns that accompany or replace nouns. That’s great! Now, let’s go a step further. Here are some more of these handy words to add to your Portuguese arsenal. 

1 – Tonic Pronouns

At an intermediate Portuguese level, you can use tonic pronouns. These pronouns act as a complement to terms, and they need to be preceded by a preposition. The most common prepositions used in these cases are:

  • Por (“For”)
  • Para (“For” / “To”)
  • Até (“Until” / “Up to”)

If you want to, you can jump to the third section of this article to learn more about intermediate-level Portuguese prepositions. 

PersonPortuguese pronounEnglish
1st person sg.mimme
2nd person sg.tiyou
3rd person sg.ele / elahe / she
1st person pl.nóswe
2nd person pl.vósyou (plural)
3rd person pl.eles / elasthey (masculine / feminine)


  • Ela esperou por ti. (“She waited for you.”)
  • Eu vou enviar um e-mail para a professora. (“I will send an email to the [female] teacher.”)
  • Nós fomos até ele. (“We went to him.”)
  • Vocês guardaram bolo para mim? (“Did you [plural] save cake for me?”)

When the preposition is com (“with”), the pronouns change a bit:

PersonPortuguese pronounEnglish
1st person sg.comigowith me
2nd person sg.contigowith you
3rd person ele / com elawith him / with her
1st person pl.conoscowith us
2nd person pl.convoscowith you (plural)
3rd person eles / com elaswith them (masculine / feminine)


  • Vem dançar comigo! (“Come dance with me!”)
  • Eles não quiseram vir conosco. (“They didn’t want to come with us.”)
  • Nós vamos viajar com eles. (“We will travel with them.”)
  • Quero assistir um filme com você. (“I want to watch a movie with you.”)

Note: Você is an informal Portuguese pronoun and refers to the 2nd person singular, meaning it can be used instead of tu. However, você is a special case and agrees with the 3rd person singular in terms of verb conjugation.

2 – Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to identify the owner of a noun. 

Remember that these pronouns should agree with the noun in gender and number. In the table below, they’ll appear in the following order: singular masculine, plural masculine, singular feminine, plural feminine.

PersonPortuguese pronounEnglish
1st person sg.meu, meus, minha, minhasmy
2nd person sg.teu, teus, tua, tuasyour
3rd person sg.seu, seus, sua, suashis / her
1st person pl.nosso, nossos, nossa, nossasour
2nd person pl.vosso, vossos, vossa, vossasyour (plural)
3rd person pl.seu, seus, sua, suastheir

It’s common in Brazil to use the 3rd person singular pronoun with você (“you”).


  • Meus livros são novos. (“My books are new.”)
  • Os seus vestidos são lindos. (“Her dresses are beautiful.”)
  • A sua apresentação foi um sucesso! (“Your presentation was a success!”)

/! Brazilians also use the contraction of the preposition and the 3rd person personal pronouns to indicate the owner of a noun.
  • De + ele = dele (“his”)
  • De + eles = deles (“theirs,” masculine)
  • De + ela = dela (“her”)
  • De + elas = delas (“theirs,” feminine)
Example: Os vestidos dela são lindos. (“Her dresses are beautiful.”)

2. Connect the Dots: Conjunctions

As a beginner, you studied the most important simple conjunctions and learned that they are invariable words that connect clauses. 

As an intermediate Portuguese speaker, you can also use conjunctive phrases, which are two or more words that behave as a conjunction.

Não só…mas tambémNot only…but also
Quanto mais…maisThe more…the more
Desde queAs long as
A não ser queUnless
Mesmo queEven if / Although
Já queSince
Uma vez queOnce / Since

A Man Falling Asleep while Working at His Computer

Uma vez que eu termine, eu vou dormir. (“Once I finish, I’ll sleep.”)

3. Fill in the Blanks: Prepositions

In order to create more complex sentences, you should also know how to use prepositions. Just like conjunctions, prepositions are invariable words with a connective function. But they go a step beyond, also explaining or completing the meaning of the terms being connected. Becoming familiar with how to use these words is a great way to improve your Portuguese and begin sounding more like a native speaker. 

1 – Essential Prepositions

ATo / On
AtéUntil / To
DeFrom / Of
DesdeFrom / Since
EmIn / On / At
ParaFor / To
SobreAbout / On

2 – Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases are two or more words that, together, act as a preposition. The following are just some of the most common Portuguese prepositional phrases.

Apesar deDespite
De acordo comAccording to
Por causa deBecause of
Por baixo deBelow
Embaixo deUnder / Underneath
Além deBesides / Beyond
Antes deBefore
Em cima deOn top of
Ao lado deNext to / Beside
Em frente aIn front of
Em vez deInstead of
Perto deNear / Close to
Por trás deBehind
Depois deAfter
Antes deBefore / Ahead of

A Little Boy Holding His Dog

O cachorro está perto do menino. (“The dog is close to the boy.”)

4. Making Sense of Numbers

Now that you’re ready to engage in more complex conversations—and even go shopping—in Portuguese, knowing how to deal with bigger numbers is a must! 

Thankfully, numbers in Portuguese follow a standard structure with very few surprises. 

1 – From 11 to 20


If you want to hear how these numbers sound, watch this lesson on

2 – Tens

21Vinte e um
22Vinte e dois
23Vinte e três
24Vinte e quatro
25Vinte e cinco
26Vinte e seis
27Vinte e sete
28Vinte e oito
29Vinte e nove

This structure will repeat for the other numbers, up to a hundred.


3 – Hundreds

101Cento e um 
102Cento e dois
103Cento e três

4 – A Thousand and Over

2,000Dois mil
10,000Dez mil
100,000Cem mil
110,000Cento e dez mil
1,000,000Um milhão
1,000,000,000Um bilhão
1,000,000,000,000Um trilhão

It’s easy to continue from this point, simply combining the numbers you already know.


  • 152 – Cento e cinquenta e dois
  • 3,587 – Três mil quinhentos e oitenta e sete
  • 102,999 – Cento e dois mil novecentos e noventa e nove
  • 2,851,100 Dois milhões oitocentos e cinquenta e um mil e cem

5. Call it by its Name: Nouns

As an intermediate Portuguese learner, it’s normal to feel limited by your vocabulary. But don’t despair! As you advance in your language learning journey, add these nouns to your portfolio of words to strengthen your speaking and reading abilities. 

Since Portuguese nouns have grammatical gender, the following list includes the corresponding indefinite articles. 

1 – Places

Uma lagoaLagoon
Uma cachoeiraWaterfall
Um rioRiver
Uma ilhaIsland
Uma paisagemLandscape 
Um espaçoSpace 
Uma esquinaCorner
Um estadoState
Um continenteContinent

2 – Time

Um amanhecerDawn
Um entardecerEvening 
Um anoitecerDusk 
Um séculoCentury
Um trimestreQuarter 
Um semestreSemester

3 – People

Uma pessoaPerson
Uma multidãoCrowd
Um bebêBaby
Uma criançaChild
Um adolescenteTeenager
Um moço, uma moçaYoung man 
Young woman
Um senhor, uma senhoraOld man
Old woman
SobrenomeLast name

4 – House and Household Items

Um jardimGarden
Um quintalBackyard
Uma varandaBalcony
Um sótãoAttic
Um porãoBasement
Um terraçoTerrace 
Um microondasMicrowave oven
Um fogãoStove 
Um fornoOven
Uma geladeiraFridge
Um refrigeradorCooler
Uma lavadora de roupa 
Uma máquina de lavar roupa
Washing machine
Uma piaSink
Um chuveiroShower
Uma banheiraBathtub

5 – Meals and Food

Uma refeiçãoMeal
Uma sobremesaDessert
Um acompanhamentoSide dish
Um vegetalVegetable
Um garfoFork
Uma facaKnife
Uma colherSpoon
Um porcoPork
Um bifeBeef
Um frangoChicken
Um peixeFish
Uma sojaSoy

6 – Body

Uma cinturaWaist
Um tornozeloAnkle
Um calcanharHeel
Um joelhoKnee
Um cotoveloElbow
Um ombroShoulder
Um pulsoWrist
Uma sobrancelhaEyebrow
Um denteTooth

7 – Business and Bureaucracy

Um formulárioForm
Uma taxaFee 
Um impostoTax
Uma inscriçãoSubscription
Um comprovanteReceipt
Um documentoDocument
Uns dadosData
Um sistemaSystem
Uma certidãoCertificate
Uma licençaLicense
Um clienteClient
Um pagamentoPayment
Uma senhaPassword
Um cartãoCard
Um chequeCheck
Um trocoChange
Uma carteiraWallet
Um pagamentoPayment

8 – Units

Um quilogramaKilogram
Um gramaGram
Uma toneladaTon
Um litroLiter
Um metroMeter

9 – Miscellaneous

Uma fotoPhoto
Um vídeoVideo
Uma câmera
Uma câmera fotográfica
Photo camera
Um filmeMovie
Uma sérieTV show
Uma históriaStory
Uma cançãoSong
Uma lendaLegend
Uma novidadeNews 
Uma notíciaNews
Um bilheteNote 
Um recadoMessage 
Um presenteGift
Uma surpresaSurprise
Uma verdadeTruth
Uma mentiraLie
Uma vontadeWill 
Um desejoDesire
Uma necessidadeNeed
Um sonhoDream
Um pedidoRequest 

A Group of Friends in a Photo

Uma foto dos amigos (“A photo of the friends”)

6. Make it Happen: Verbs

After mastering the most important auxiliary verbs in Portuguese (in particular, ser, estar, and ir), it’s time to expand your vocabulary with more verbs. They’ll definitely help you understand a greater variety of stories and conversations in Portuguese!

TerminarTo finish
DespistarTo mislead
To sidetrack
AparecerTo appear
To show up
ParecerTo seem
To look like
DisporTo dispose
To afford
EncontrarTo find
AjudarTo help
ReceberTo receive
TaparTo close
To plug
TamparTo cover
LançarTo throw
To launch
NadarTo swim
AfogarTo drown
NavegarTo navigate
To browse
DançarTo dance
AtrairTo attract
NamorarTo date
To flirt
CasarTo marry
TrairTo betray
MudarTo change
To move
TrocarTo exchange
To swap
To change
ViajarTo travel
PassearTo wander
To walk
CorrerTo run
PularTo jump
VoarTo fly
EscalarTo climb
To scale
SubirTo rise
To climb
DescerTo go down
To descend
AbaixarTo lower
LevantarTo rise
To lift
SentarTo sit
TropeçarTo stumble
PreferirTo prefer
To choose
PerceberTo perceive
To realize
ExplicarTo explain
ResponderTo answer
To reply
DeixarTo leave
To allow
UsarTo use
To put on
ArrumarTo arrange
To straighten
LimparTo clean
OrganizarTo organize
BagunçarTo mess up
CozinharTo cook
PrepararTo prepare
To make
CongelarTo freeze
DescongelarTo defrost
To unfreeze
TemperarTo season
QueimarTo burn
AssarTo bake
To roast
LavarTo wash
EntregarTo deliver
To give
DesmaiarTo faint
To pass out
RefazerTo remake
To redo
FacilitarTo facilitate
To ease
ComplicarTo complicate
AceitarTo accept
NegarTo deny
To negate
AtenderTo meet
To serve
To answer
DemorarTo delay
To linger
ReunirTo get together
To gather
To collect
AtrasarTo delay
AdiantarTo anticipate
To advance
DepositarTo deposit
To place
AgirTo act
To behave
ManusearTo handle
ConsertarTo fix
To repair
To mend
QuebrarTo break
To crack
ResolverTo resolve
SolucionarTo solve
To figure out
PesquisarTo search
To research
AssinarTo sign
EmprestarTo lend
To loan
MelhorarTo improve
PiorarTo worsen
PerdoarTo forgive
To pardon

The following verbs are reflexive.

Desculpar-se / Se desculparTo apologize
Queixar-se / Se queixarTo complain
Machucar-se / Se machucarTo get hurt
Maquiar-se / Se maquiarTo put makeup on
Pentear-se / Se pentearTo comb

Several Ballet Dancers Performing

Quem me dera saber dançar balé. (“I wish I knew how to dance ballet.”)

7. Qualifiers: Adjectives

Add details and make your sentences richer by using adjectives. 

As you probably remember, Portuguese adjectives need to agree with the noun in both gender and number. In the list below (where applicable), we have listed the singular masculine form first, followed by the singular feminine form.

Educated / Polite
GentilKind / Nice
Friendly / Likeable / Pleasant
ResponsávelResponsible / Accountable
Hard / Tough
Soft / Tender
Smooth / Flat
MoleSoft / Limp
LilásLight purple
Roasted / Baked
Cooked / Boiled

8. Modify Verbs: Adverbs

There are countless Portuguese adverbs you can use to modify verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions. Since you’ve already mastered the most commonly used adverbs, you can now introduce more complex ones to your sentences. 

1 – Manner

AssimThis way 
À toaIdly
Às pressasIn a rush
À vontadeAt ease

2 – Time

À tardeIn the afternoon
À noiteIn the evening
De manhãIn the morning
De repenteSuddenly

3 – Place

À direitaOn the right
À esquerdaOn the left
Em voltaAround

4 – Intensity

DemaisToo much
TantoSo much

An Express Train Moving Quickly

O trem se move rapidamente. (“The train moves quickly.”)

9. Sound Like a Local

Now that you’re at an intermediate Portuguese level, it’s a good idea to also learn some local slang terms. Keep in mind that these are all informal words and expressions to be used with friends and close family. Avoid them in job interviews and other formal situations.

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at common Brazilian interjections you can use in daily life. After all, you’re bound to bite your lip or be surprised at some point…and when that happens, there’s nothing better than to express your feelings the Brazilian way! 

1 – Commonly Used Slang Terms

Depending on the region of Brazil, different words are used to refer to friends. For example, cara is more common in Rio de Janeiro, while mano can be heard in São Paulo.

Sem graçaBoringPlain

Cara de pauTo have the nerve toBrazen-faced
Ele teve a cara de pau de mentir para mim. (“He had the nerve to lie to me.”)
Ela é uma cara de pau! (“She has nerve!”)



This one is used to refer to foreigners, especially English speakers or Europeans. Don’t worry—in Portuguese, gringo isn’t pejorative!


It literally translates to “type,” but it’s used just as “like” in English. It’s the most commonly used Brazilian filler word.

2 – Interjections

Oh no!
Meu Deus!My God!
Cuidado!Watch out!
Well done!
Minha nossa!
Oh my!
Eita!Used to express surprise
Ufa!Used to express relief
Credo!Good grief! 
Good heavens!
Vamos!Let’s go!
Força!Stay strong!

A Woman Getting Money from Her Wallet

Tô cheia de grana. (“I have a lot of money,” informal, female speaker)

10. Continue Learning with PortuguesePod101!

This was quite the list, with more than 300 words that intermediate Portuguese learners should master. The different categories we presented are all important for constructing coherent sentences. With these words, you’ll be able to join conversations online and in person, read and hear a variety of Portuguese content, and continue advancing in your language learning journey!

Remember that you can always come back to this guide to refresh your memory and check how your vocabulary and grammar are moving along. On this note, let us know if you enjoyed this article! Do you think it is a good resource for intermediate learners? Did we miss any word category you would have liked to see here? Feel free to drop us a comment with any questions you might have, and we’ll gladly get back to you. 

And now, it’s time to put it all into practice. To start, you can check out our tips for remembering words better. Or, go ahead and browse through our vocabulary lists and other free resources on 

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

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

Learn the Names of Animals in Portuguese


Brazil is known for its natural resources and beauty. Animals and plants are something to behold if you’re visiting this country from any part of the world. Even though the Amazon rainforest is the most famous natural landscape in Brazil, the country is home to six more biomes—each with its own species! 

To meet and interact with a whole new world of animals is an amazing experience. One second, we don’t even know a species exists. The next second, there it is: a completely unique being!

Getting to know the names of animals in Portuguese could keep you busy for a long time…but it’s certainly a fun task, especially for animal lovers. 

Our comprehensive list of animal names in Portuguese covers both native fauna and animals common to other parts of the world. Combining animals you’re familiar with and more exotic species is a great way to broaden your knowledge about the numerous manifestations of nature’s wonders.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Domestic Animals
  2. Farm Animals
  3. Wild Animals
  4. Aquatic Animals
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians
  7. Animal Body Parts
  8. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions
  9. Conclusion

1. Domestic Animals

A Little Boy Holding His Puppy

Yes: You will learn the Portuguese word for “puppy” so you can fully enjoy cute memes.

We’ll begin our list with some less exotic animal names in Portuguese—those of housepets! 

There is a growing love for pets in Brazil, with the 2019 National Health Survey indicating that dogs are present in 46.1% of Brazilian homes while cats are present in 19.3%. If we combine these totals, we find that these animals are present in 47.9 million homes. 

This number is astonishing if we keep in mind that the country’s population of children (aged 0 to 12) was only 35.5 million, according to recent statistics.

Before we move on to our list, here’s the Portuguese word for “puppy”: filhote.

Cachorro (m.)
Cachorra (f.)
Gato (m.)
Gata (f.)
Porquinho-da-índia“Guinea pig”
Coelho (m.)
Coelha (f.)
Rato (m.)
Rata (f.)
Pay attention: Although the name of this animal sounds in Portuguese like “rat,” rato and rata actually mean “mouse.” Use ratazana for “rat.” If referring to mice (plural form of “mouse”), the correct word is camundongos.

Common Pet Birds and Fish

In addition to more traditional pets, many Portuguese households keep birds or fish as pets. The bird species in Brazil really bring a special “sparkle” to the country’s fauna, and we also host a number of interesting fish varieties. Let’s take a look at which ones are most commonly kept as pets in Brazil. 

A- Birds


B- Fish

Peixe betta“Betta fish”

2. Farm Animals 

Cows on the Farm

Next stop: the farm!

The raising of livestock is a driving economic activity in Brazil, with cows, chickens, and pigs being the most common farm animals in the country. Portugal’s main livestock product is pig, according to 2018 national statistics, while Angola aims to raise cattle as an economic buffer against the fluctuating oil prices

While you’re likely to encounter a variety of wildlife species from one Portuguese-speaking country to another, our farm animals are largely the same. One interesting exception is the ema: This giant bird is similar to the ostrich, but with feathery, longer wings. It can be found in Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Here are the names of common farm animals in Portuguese:

Vaca (f.)“Cow”
Porco (m.)
Porca (f.)
Cavalo (m.)
Égua (f.)
Peru (m.)
Perua (f.)
Pato (m.)
Pata (f.)
Bode (m.)
Cabra (f.)
Pro tip: Cabra is not the same as cobra (“snake”). In the Brazilian Northeast, cabra is also a slang term for “bloke” or “guy.” So, pay attention to the context and use this word carefully.
Ganso (m.)
Gansa (f.)
Ema“American rhea”
The national animal of Portugal is the Rooster of Barcelos. This iconic character is at the heart of a folktale, in which it saves a man from being mistakenly sentenced to death in the city of Barcelos. This rooster is depicted in many colorful versions: paintings, drawings, and especially as colorful souvenir statues that tell anyone “I’ve been to Portugal,” at just one glance.

3. Wild Animals 

Animals start getting even more interesting when we leave the farm and go farther out to the countryside—or even into the wild. That’s where the most diverse native Portuguese animals live. 

Due to the large continental size of Brazil, as well as its diversity of climate and land, this country is especially known for its rich selection of fauna. 

Here are the names of some wild animals in the Portuguese language:

(Literally: “Laziness animal”)
Macaco (m.)
Macaca (f.)
Macaco-prego“Capuchin monkey”
Pro tip: The name of this animal sounds in Portuguese like another word. Do not mistake cervo [e] for servo [ɛ]. The first one is “deer,” but the second is “servant”!

4. Aquatic Animals

A Fish in the Water

There are plenty of fish in the sea—and beyond!

Still searching in the wilderness, we find some very fascinating aquatic animals. All Portuguese-speaking countries are closely related to the sea and marine life: Angola, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Portugal are coastal countries. Cape Verde, Eastern Timor, and São Tomé and Príncipe are insular countries with access to oceans containing lots of sealife. And let’s not forget the Amazon River, which is home to many awesome—and many yet undiscovered—freshwater animals.

From aquatic life sanctuaries in Portugal to Brazilian turtle protection programs, and from sunny beaches to rivers and waterfalls, there are many opportunities for tourists to meet beautiful native Portuguese animals that live in or around the water.

Boto“River dolphin”
The river dolphin is the main character of one of the most interesting Brazilian myths, called boto-cor-de-rosa (“the pink river dolphin”). The legend says this Amazonian animal walks the land transformed as a charming gentleman wearing all-white clothing on moonlit nights.

The seducer dolphin-man is said to be the father of all children from unknown fathers, according to this legend of Northern Brazil.

5. Bugs and Insects

Our next set of animal names in Portuguese might make you a bit uncomfortable.

We might not like them, and we might even find them disgusting…but we all share the same planet. Language learners should know at least a few bug and insect names in Portuguese! Here are some common ones you’ll find in Brazil and abroad:


6. Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians

A White Crane

You are now entering the rabbit hole of Portuguese bird names.

Are you ready to learn a few more specific animal names in Portuguese? Brazil is home to a particularly diverse population of birds, reptiles, and amphibians, and knowing their names will make your trip even more memorable.

Even though our list here is quite comprehensive, you could study even more species using Cornell University’s Ornithology database. Their well-designed Merlin app is a practical way to explore and identify many different types of birds worldwide.

Garça“Great egret”
Bem-te-vi“Great kiskadee”
Alma de gato“Squirrel-cuckoo”
Quero-quero (also known as abibe-do-sul in Portugal)“Southern Lapwing”
Fun fact: The Brazilian Butantan Institute developed the very first anti-ophidic antidotes in the world. Its Biologic Museum has a collection of some of the most famous and intriguing Brazilian snakes, such as the jararaca, sucurí, surucucú, cascavel (“rattlesnake”), coral, and many more.
There is also a general label for any small lizard in many parts of Brazil: calango.
“Frog” / “Toad”

7. Animal Body Parts

Now that you’ve learned a few common animal names, the next step is to learn the names of their unique body parts. Adding these words to your Portuguese animal vocabulary will help you better describe the animals you encounter during your visit!

Pro tip: The word pata does not refer to a human leg (which is called perna). Also, remember that pata is Portuguese for a female duck!

8. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions

Cinnamon Apple Tea

Behold the most expected guests at teatime: kettle beak and teacup wing.

After this tour de force through the zoo, here’s a final souvenir from this extensive journey of studying animal names in Portuguese: idioms and slang expressions!

These expressions have the same meaning as their English translations:

  •  “Butterflies in the stomach” – Borboletas no estômago
  • “The black sheep of the family” – A ovelha negra da família

Now, these idioms and expressions might sound odd to a tourist in a Portuguese-speaking country:

  •  “The teacup’s wing” – A asa da xícara [de chá]
  • “Kettle’s beak” – Bico da chaleira
  • “He does not resist a skirt’s tail.” – Ele não resiste a um rabo de saia.

The teacup’s handle is sometimes called its “wing,” and the kettle’s spout is called its “beak.”

On the other hand, a “skirt’s tail” is a slang term for “woman” in a flirtatious context. If someone is interested in a woman, they might pay attention to the movement of her skirt (the way a hunter might notice the tail movement of an animal).

  • “Dog’s ears” – Ouvidos caninos

Someone with a sensitive sense of hearing is said to have a dog’s ears.

  • “Jaguar’s friend” – Amigo da onça

A “jaguar’s friend” is someone who is an inconvenience to others, namely a friend who doesn’t act so friendly. This expression was made popular by a 1940s comic strip created by Péricles de Andrade Maranhão in the O Cruzeiro magazine.

  • “I don’t like you because you’re (a) donkey.” – Não gosto de você porque você é burro.

A donkey is a stubborn animal and a synonym for “dumb” in Brazil. In this case, it’s used as an adjective

  •  “Man, we’ve paid the duck…” – Cara, nós pagamos o pato…

As odd as this idiom might sound, “to pay the duck” means to be fooled. A variation of this expression is “to fall like a duck,” used when someone “falls” for a prank or a scam.

  • “He turned into a macaw.” – Ele virou uma arara.
  • “She turned into a beast.” – Ela virou um bicho. / Ela virou uma fera.

These phrases are used to express that someone became very angry over something.

9. Conclusion

You’ve now learned a good variety of animal names in Portuguese, as well as other relevant words and phrases. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to include every animal on this list. But we did our best to include both animals you’ll find in Brazil and those you’re more familiar with from abroad. 

But you don’t have to stop here!

If you can’t get enough of Mother Nature’s children and want to learn even more animal words in Portuguese, create your free lifetime account on today.

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Never mind old, dusty grammar books or months of repetitive exercises in your language learning app. Get real and start a solid path to knowledge at!

Before you go, what’s your favorite animal? Do you know its name in Portuguese?

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Learn Portuguese Phone Call Phrases and Talk with Ease


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

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

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. 

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Basic Portuguese Words for Beginners


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

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

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

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

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

1. Handy Pronouns

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

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

1 – Personal Subject Pronouns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Reflexive Pronouns

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

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

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

3 – Demonstrative Pronouns

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

Isto (“This”) and its variations

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

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

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

Isso (“That”) and its variations

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

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

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

Aquilo (“That”) and its variations

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

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

4 – Interrogative Pronouns

Use these pronouns to ask questions:

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

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

5 – Indefinite Pronouns

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

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

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

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

2. Counting: Numbers

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


Someone Punching a Passcode into Their Cellphone

What numbers will you use in your passcode?

3. The Name of Things: Nouns

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

1 – A Reminder: Articles

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

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

Feminine Singular Nouns

Example: Cadeira (“Chair”) 

Use the following articles:

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

Feminine Plural Nouns

Example: Cadeiras (“Chairs”) 

Use the following articles:

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

Masculine Singular Nouns

Example: Livro (“Book”) 

Use the following articles:

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

Masculine Plural Nouns

Example: Livros (“Books”) 

Use the following articles:

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

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

2 – Time

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

3 – People

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

4 – Places

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

5 – Transportation

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

6 – Home

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

7 – School and Office Supplies

Uma canetaPen
Um lápisPencil
Uma borrachaEraser
Um cadernoNotebook
Um livroBook

8 – Technology in the Home

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

9 – Body

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

10 – Dining and Food

Uma mesaTable
Um pratoPlate
Um copoGlass
Uma frutaFruit
Um legumeVegetable
Um caféCoffee
Um pãoBread

A Boy Smiling while Using a Laptop

Um menino (“A boy”)

4. Talk About Actions: Verbs

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

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

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

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

Three Students Studying in a Classroom with a Teacher Standing Nearby

Vamos estudar. (“Let’s study.”)

5. Add Details: Adjectives

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

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

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

An Asian Woman Getting Her Hair Done at a Salon

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

6. Make Connections: Conjunctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man and Woman Watching Funny Videos on a Cellphone

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

7. Add More Information: Adverbs

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

1 – Questions

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

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

2 – Time


3 – Frequency

Jamais / NuncaNever
Às vezesSometimes

4 – Place

Em toda parte / Em todo lugarEverywhere

5 – Manner

MalPoorly / Barely
PoucoLittle / Few
Só / SozinhoAlone

A Woman Lost at the Train Station

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

8. Even More Words: Brazilian Culture

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

1 – Traditional Brazilian Culture

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

2 – Holidays

Ano NovoNew Year

3 – Music and Musical Styles

Bossa novaBossa nova
AxéAxé music
FunkFunk carioca
SertanejoBrazilian country music

4 – Food & Beverages

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

A Samba Parade during Carnival

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

9. Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

Sound Like a Brazilian: The Top 10 Portuguese Filler Words


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


PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent

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.”)


PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent

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?”)


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.”)


PortugueseLiterallyEnglish Equivalent

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.”)


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.”) 


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?”)


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.”)


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.”)


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.”)


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 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 get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence.

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

How to Say “I Love You,” in Portuguese


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. 


  • 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

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, 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 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


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 Go ahead and choose your favorite tools to expand your learning opportunities.

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

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10 Good Reasons Why You Should Learn Portuguese


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

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

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

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

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

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

1. About Lusofonia and Portuguese

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

A Beach with a Palm Tree and Seagulls Flying

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

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

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


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


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

Cape Verde

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

East Timor

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


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


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


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

Saint Tomé and Príncipe 

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

2. General Reasons to Learn Portuguese

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

1. The language is elegant and plural.

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

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

2. It will give you access to different cultures.

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

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

  • Italian
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Romanian

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

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

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

Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. You’ll meet interesting people.

A Bunch of Kids Raising Their Hands in a Classroom

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

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

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

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

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

3. Personal and Professional Advantages

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

5. Improve your memory.

A Close-up Image of an Eye

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

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

6. Portuguese has some interesting phonological phenomena.

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

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

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

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

7. Keep an eye on the developing world.

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

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

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

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

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

8. There are big consumer markets to be found.

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Open up the Portuguese door to new business opportunities.

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

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

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

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

4. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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Past, Present, Future: Learn About Portuguese Verb Tenses


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

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

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

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

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

1. The Basics of Portuguese Conjugation

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

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

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

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

1 – Moods

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

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

2 – Tenses 

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

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

Presente / “Simple Present”
Préterito Perfeito / “Simple Past”
Pretérito Imperfeito / “Past Imperfect”
Pretérito Mais-que-perfeito / “Past Pluperfect”
Futuro do Presente / “Simple Future”
Presente / “Present Subjunctive”
Pretérito Imperfeito / “Imperfect Subjunctive”
Futuro / “Future Subjunctive”

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

  • The Infinitive

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

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

  • The Past Participle

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

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

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

  • The Gerund

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

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

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

3 – Auxiliary verbs

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

Elas estão dormindo. / “They are sleeping.”

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

Some of the most common auxiliary verbs in Portuguese are:

  • Ter / “To have”

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

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

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

  • Ir / “To go”

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

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

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

  • Estar / “To be” (temporary)

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

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

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

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

Two Girls Talking about Something

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

2. Here and Now: Present Tenses

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

1 – Presente do indicativo / “Present indicative”

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

Let’s see some examples:

Eu durmo cedo.“I sleep early.”

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

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

2 – Presente contínuo / “Present continuous”

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

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

Ela está dormindo.“She is sleeping.”

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

3 – Presente do subjuntivo / “Present subjunctive”

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

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

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

4 – Imperativo / “Imperative”

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

Durma agora.“Sleep now.”

Bebam água.“Drink water.”

A Mother Sleeping with Her Toddler

Elas dormem cedo. / “They sleep early.”

3. What Once Was: Past Tenses

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

1 – Pretérito do indicativo / “Preterite indicative”

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

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

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

2 – Imperfeito do indicativo / “Imperfect indicative”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 – Imperfeito subjuntivo / “Imperfect subjunctive”

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

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

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

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

4. Planning for Tomorrow: Future Tenses

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

1 – Futuro do indicativo / “Future indicative”

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Futuro do subjuntivo / “Future subjunctive”

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

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

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

3 – Futuro do Pretérito or Condicional / “Conditional”

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

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

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

A Grandmother Snuggling Her Granddaughter

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

5. Continue Learning Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

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

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

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

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


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

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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 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 we recommend:

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

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

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

Intermediate Level

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Meet your new assistant for remote cultural research.

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

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

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

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

Study Tips

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

  • Speaking & Listening.

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

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

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

    Here are some PortuguesePod101 resources for you:

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

Advanced Level

Suitcases Stacked Up and An Airplane Flying in the Background

Studying abroad can be very helpful for the advanced learner.

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

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

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

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

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

Study Tips

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

  • Reading & Writing. 

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

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

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

  • Speaking & Listening. 

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

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

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

    Here are some resources for you:

    Listening Comprehension for Advanced Learners
    Video Culture Class: Brazil Holidays


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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