Master Basic Portuguese Conversation
Have you been interested in visiting Brazil, but your Portuguese skills are a little rusty?
Trust me, I know that feeling.
Maybe you have a partner or a friend who is urging you to head on down to Rio or São Paulo and visit the rich, cultural phenomenon that is Brazil.
I’ll tell you right now, you should absolutely consider it.
Brazil is an amazing place with endless opportunities for fun, connections or even career moves.
The one thing I hear the most from people considering a trip to Brazil is that they don’t think they’ll have a good time because they do not speak Brazilian Portuguese, or that they’ll offend someone or otherwise spoil their time there.
Well, let me ease those fears for you right now and tell you that this should not stop you!
First off, Brazilians are quite possibly the most friendly and welcoming people on the whole planet.
Even if you showed up and only knew two or three words in Portuguese, chances are they are going to enjoy your company regardless because, simply put, Brazilians love people.
However, to make your trip more enjoyable for you personally, a little Portuguese can go a long way.
I am going to take this opportunity to teach you a few of the most useful phrases that you can use to communicate the next time you hear a Brazilian speak Portuguese.
First and foremost is how to say hello.
Now you may be thinking, “yeah of course I know how to say hello, it’s olá.”
But did you know that you can also say things like “hey,” “hi,” and “how’s it goin” in Portuguese, just like we do in English?
If you want to sound more natural and laid back, you can say “ei” or “oi.”
“Ei,” is just like pronouncing the word hey, but without the “h” sound at the beginning and can be used the exact same way that we use “hey”.
For example, if you see someone you are close with, like friends or family, you can sey “ei, como vai?” which means “hey, how’s it goin?” and has an element of a casual nature to it.
You could also use “oi,” which is the equivalent to saying “hi,” in English, and is also used in the exact same way.
For example, you can say to anyone, “Oi, tudo bem?” which as you can imagine, translates to “Hi, how are you?
Now, having said that, the next phrase you should know is that one you just read, “tudo bem.”
You may have heard this one by now. It literally means “everything well,” or “all good,” if you were to translate it directly. And though, it is used this way, it is more like saying “How is everything?” or “Is everything going well?”
It is one of the most used phrases you will hear in all parts of Brazil.
Next, we have “bom dia,” “boa tarde,” and “boa noite.”
These translate to “good morning,” “good afternoon,” and “good night,” respectively.
The word for “good,” in Portuguese is fairly versatile and you will hear it in a lot of phrases just like in English.
Now you may have noticed that the word “good,” had two forms there: “bom,” and “boa.”
This is because the word assumes the gender of the noun it is referring to.
For more on this concept, check out my article on word gender in Portuguese.
You know how to say “hello,” “how are you,” and so on. Now let’s look at saying goodbye.
There are a couple ways to say goodbye in Portuguese and you will use each depending on the situation.
The most common way will be to say “tchau,” (pronounced like “chow.”)
This is exactly like saying “bye,” in English and is used the same way.
For example, you can say “tchau gente,” which is like saying “bye guys,” in English and is familial and somewhat colloquial.
You will want to use “tchau,” at any time that you are saying bye to someone in a way that is not permanent. This is a sort of odd way of thinking about things for us English speakers, but it will become clearer here in a moment.
The other common way of saying goodbye is “adeus.”
“Adeus,” directly translates as “to God,” which over the centuries is how the Portuguese speakers have adapted to saying things like “go with God, or “may God be with you,” and has an air of a sort of definite quality to it, a sort of permanence.
You would use this word when you are saying goodbye to someone, perhaps forever, or for an undetermined amount of time.
For example, let’s say you are leaving Brazil and you have someone saying goodbye to you at the airport, it would be more appropriate to use “adeus,” in this situation, rather than “tchau,” because you don’t truly know if you will ever see this person again, as life is very uncertain.
It’s somewhat poetic and sad in a way, but also makes sense that there should be a deeper way to say goodbye than just “bye, see ya.”
To recap, we have looked at the following:
|How is everything?||Tudo bem?|
|Good morning||Bom dia|
|Good afternoon||Boa tarde|
|Good night||Boa noite|
These are just a few of the most common phrases in Portuguese that you should absolutely memorize before you journey on down there.
Now obviously, the more you learn, the better. This article is just something to give you a little jumpstart.
If you are looking for the best place to start with learning Brazilian Portuguese, then I have no higher recommendation than to head on over to Rocket Languages Portuguese to get started.
They have all the tools you need to fast track your learning journey and get you speaking like a native in record time!
Good luck my friend, e até a próxima!
I really like your site. Thank you for all the free content!
Thank you Paul, I am glad you are enjoying it. Good luck in your studies.
I’ve been studying for almost 8 years now and I’ve visited Brazil 18 times but I still can’t converse, read or understand what people are saying. I practice every day with my girlfriend who only speaks Portuguese and we’ve been doing it for almost 5 years now but I still can’t understand her except for an occasional word. I have to translate everything into English to understand, even the words that I know. When I read there are many words that have multiple meanings so I don’t know which meanings to use when translating. What is the secret? I see people converse after studying just a few weeks. I have spent a lot of time studying and tried many different things.