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No need to tell us obrigada for these tips.

Karen I. Chen
June 06, 2017

You probably don't need another reason to go to Brazil (gorgeous beaches, vibrant cities, wonderfully friendly locals, and the sheer craziness of Carnival). But if you were not already aware, Brazil has a language as beautiful as its tropical landscape. When I first moved there, I remember thinking that the language was so mellifluous and pleasing to the ears, I could listen to Brazilians chatting all day long.

In the land of samba and caipirinhas, body language does go a long way. But Brazilians are a very gregarious bunch, and as soon as you arrive and see the crowds of people hanging out on Ipanema Beach, dancing on the streets to live music, or chatting over açaí and snacks at the ubiquitous juice stands, you'll wish you had brushed up on a few introductory words and phrases to better interact with locals.

Unlike other parts of the world, where there may be little patience for beginners attempting a new language, Brazilians will be more than happy to practice with you — and they'll be extra impressed if you already know a thing or two. Whether it’s thanking the beach vendor for your coconut water or asking your waiter where the bathroom is, you’re sure to turn a big smile if you try to employ some Portuguese on your trip to Brazil.

Just a note: Brazilians tend to be pretty casual with language, so you can almost always use the informal versions below.

Basic Portuguese words and phrases

Hello: Oi (informal); Olá (formal)

How are you?: Como está?; Tudo bem? (In response, you can say “Tudo bem” as well, meaning “Everything’s good.”)

How’s it going?: Como vai?; Como está indo?

Goodbye: Tchau (informal); Adeus (formal)

See you later: Até mais.

See you soon: Até logo.

See you tomorrow: Até amanhã.

Good morning: Bom dia.

Good afternoon: Boa tarde.

Good evening/good night: Boa noite.

Please: Por favor

Thank you: Obrigada (if you are female), obrigado (if you are male). (Tip: Locals often shorten this to ‘brigada or ‘bridago, omitting the “o”.)

Thank you very much: Muito obrigada/o.

You’re welcome: De nada.

What’s your name?: Qual é o seu nome? (informal); Como se chama? (formal)

My name is…: Meu nome é… (informal); Me chamo... (formal)

Pleased to meet you: Prazer.

Friend: Amigo (masculine); Amiga (feminine)

Family: Família

Father / Mother: Pai / Mãe

Boyfriend / Girlfriend: Namorado / Namorada

Mr. / Mrs. / Miss: Senhor / Senhora / Senhorita

Beautiful: Lindo (if the object you’re describing is masculine); Linda (feminine)

Good: Bom (if the object you’re describing is masculine); Boa (feminine)

Bad: Mau; Ruim

Yes: Sim

No: Não

I don’t know: Não sei

I’m sorry/excuse me: Desculpa

Excuse me (passing through a crowd or asking to pass by someone): Com licença

Today: Hoje

Tomorrow: Amanhã

Yesterday: Ontem

Day: Dia

Week: Semana

Weekend: Fim de semana

Who?: Quem?

What?: Que? (When asking solely "What?" you say, "O que?")

Where?: Onde?

When?: Quando?

Why?: Por quê?

Which?: Qual

How much?: Quanto?

Useful Portuguese words for travelers

Airport: Aeroporto

Taxi: Táxi

Subway: Metrô

Subway station: Estação de metrô

Train: Trem

Train station: Estação de trem

Bus: ônibus

Bus Stop: Ponto de ônibus

Car: Carro (Tip: Double r’s in Portuguese are pronounced as an “h” sound, so this is pronounced ca-ho.)

Luggage: Bagagem

Ticket: Bilhete

Beach: Praia

City: Cidade

Restaurant: Restaurante (Tip: R’s at the beginning of words in Portuguese are pronounced as an “h” sound, so this is pronounced hes-taur-ronch.)

Bathroom: Banheiro

Store: Loja

Hotel: Hotel

Inn: Albergue

Food: Comida

Drink: Bebida

Breakfast: Café da manhã

Lunch: Almoço

Dinner: Jantar

Snack: Lanche, petiscos

Wine: Vinho; Vinho tinto (red wine); Vinho branco (white wine)

Beer: Cerveja

Expensive: Caro

Cheap: Barato

Street: Rua

Hospital: Hospital

Help: Ajuda

Police: Polícia

Bank: Banco

ATM: Caixa eletrônico

Left: Esquerda

Right: Direita

Go straight: Siga; Vai direto

Useful Portuguese sayings for travelers

Where is the bathroom?: Onde fica o banheiro?

Do you speak English?: Você fala inglês?

I don’t understand: Eu não entendo.

What?/Say that again?: O quê?

I don’t speak Portuguese: Não falo português.

How much does this cost?: Quanto custa isso?

Check, please: A conta, por favor.

Cheers! (when toasting drinks): Saúde!

I’m lost: Estou perdido (if you are male); Estou perdida (if you are female).

Let’s go: Vamos!; Vamos embora!

I would like...: Eu gostaria...

I like…: Eu gosto...

I don’t like…: Eu não gosto...

I am from/I come from…: Eu sou de…

Where are you from? De onde você é?

Important phrases for any trip to Brazil

What's up?: E ai?

How cool!: Que legal!; Que beleza!

This city is marvelous!: Essa cidade é maravilhosa!

Very good: Muito bom

Thanks (informal/colloquial): Valeu!

One more (drink)!: Mais uma!

I'd like an açaí with banana, please: Quero um açaí com banana, por favor. (Trust us, you'll want to order this).

Let's go to the beach!: Vamos a praia!

I will miss this place: Vou ter saudades desse lugar. 

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