Are you thinking about taking Portuguese lessons?
You certainly won’t regret it – Portuguese is a beautiful as well as useful language to learn.
It’s spoken around the world, and it’s also not difficult to learn, especially if you’re familiar with Spanish.
So, why not be one step ahead and learn a few phrases before your first Portuguese Language class? Or are you planning to visit a Portuguese-speaking country and you want to be able to get around?
Either way, learning this list of the most common Portuguese phrases and expressions will get you on the right track.
The Most Common Portuguese Phrases & Expressions
Whether you want to travel to Portugal or another Portuguese country, you’ll find these phrases very helpful. They are basic ways of saying hello and asking for direction or information:
Basic Portuguese Phrases & Greetings
Olá – Hello
Bom dia – Good morning
Boa tarde – Good afternoon
Boa noite – Good night
Por favor – Please
Com licença – Excuse me
Obrigado/Obrigada – Thank you
*the word changes depending on who is saying it – men say obrigado, women say obrigada
De nada – You’re welcome
Até breve! – See you soon!
Adeus – Goodbye
Asking for Direction & Information
Como eu chego ao… – How do I get to…
Qual a distância até …? – How far to …?
Para onde vai esse trem/ônibus? – Where does this train/bus go?
Que horas são? – What time is it?
Quanto custa? – How much does this cost?
Eu gostaria de reservar um quarto, por favor. – I would like to reserve a room, please.
Eu estou procurando por … – I am looking for …
Você tem…? – Do you have…?
Pode-se pagar com cartão de crédito? – May I pay by credit card?
Onde é o banheiro? – Where is the bathroom? (Brazilian Portuguese)
Onde fica a casa de banho? – Where is the bathroom? (European Portuguese)
Onde fica a saída? – Where is the exit?
Gostaria de uma cerveja. – I’d like a beer.
Qual você recomenda? – Which one do you recommend?
Preciso de sua/tua ajuda – I need your help
*use sua in Brazil and tua in Portugal
If you become ‘lost in translation’, don’t worry. You can ask politely for someone to repeat what they said, or you can try to switch to English. Either way, learning these simple Portuguese phrases might come in handy:
Não compreendo – I don’t understand
Eu compreendo – I understand
Como se diz… em Português? – How do you say … in Portuguese?
Fala inglês? – Do you speak English?
Alguém aqui fala inglês? – Does anyone here speak English?
Eu não sei – I don’t know
Fale mais devagar, por favor – Please speak more slowly
Starting a Conversation
If you find yourself in a situation where you want to start a basic conversation in Portuguese, you can try these phrases and easy questions:
Tudo bem? – How are you?
Como vai? – How’s it going?
Eu estou bem, e você/e tú? – I’m good, how are you?
*E tú? is the preferred form of ‘and you’ in Portugal, although it can be heard in Brazil too.
Qual é o seu nome? – What is your name?
Prazer – Nice to meet you
Me chamo… – My name is…
Até amanhã – See you tomorrow
Sim/não – Yes/No
Eu estou aprendendo Português – I am learning Portuguese
Learning Basic Portuguese Sentences & Phrases
Without a doubt, learning simple Portuguese greetings, phrases, and expressions will help you get around the Portuguese-speaking country more easily.
Learning how to start a basic conversation in Portuguese will also help you get in touch with local people. You can learn about local culture, cuisine, and customs. And you can actively work on your language skills!
However, learning Portuguese can be a bit challenging. On the other hand, if you’re familiar with Spanish, everything will be much easier.
To learn the basics of the Portuguese language more effectively, you need to study in the right way. For instance, learn the correct pronunciation of all the phrases on our list. Repeat them out loud. Portuguese pronunciation can be tricky because there are many unusual sounds, so it’s important that you start practicing those sounds from the start.
You should also try to learn in context. And that’s why it’s useful to learn common phrases and expressions instead of learning Portuguese words without context.
Another tip for learning Portuguese (and any other language for that matter) is to immerse yourself in the language. Try to surround yourself with Portuguese as much as you can – listen to Portuguese music or podcasts, watch Portuguese TV shows and movies, and try to read a magazine in Portuguese. This will allow you to get used to the sounds, build your vocabulary, and learn basic grammar rules.
Learning Portuguese is relatively easy for English speakers. Of course, mastering Portuguese grammar and vocabulary takes time, but with the right approach and enough practice, you’ll certainly get there.
And one of the best ways to start your Portuguese learning journey is to learn easy Portuguese sentences. That’s a good foundation to build on.
At the end of the day, local people will appreciate it if you speak to them in Portuguese. You can speak in English if you want to, especially in tourist places, but speaking in Portuguese will show respect and willingness to learn.
However, you’ve noticed that in our list we occasionally mentioned Brazilian and European Portuguese. The thing is, although they’re mutually intelligible, Brazilian and European Portuguese have many differences.
First of all, they have different accents. Many agree that Brazilian Portuguese sounds more phonetically pleasing because it has more open vowels. There are also some differences in spelling and vocabulary as well as formal and informal speech; if you’re in Portugal, you have to pay attention to formal and informal speech.
Nevertheless, if you learn European Portuguese, you can easily get around Brazil and vice versa. Brazilians and Portuguese can understand each other just like British people understand American English. But you should pay attention to the differences we noted in our list anyway, especially if you want to acquire more intricate language skills.
With the most common Portuguese phrases we mentioned today, you can travel to a Portuguese-speaking country with more confidence.
This is a great start to gaining basic knowledge of the Portuguese language. And we definitely encourage you to learn more.
After all, learning a new language is a very rewarding experience.