The Portuguese language, a beautiful and melodious Romance language, is spoken by millions of people worldwide. It holds the status of the official language of Portugal, where it has deep historical roots, and is also the primary language spoken in Brazil, which is home to the largest population of Portuguese speakers in the world. Beyond these two major hubs, Portuguese is spoken in various other countries, making it a truly global language.
These are just a few reasons why you need to learn basic phrases in Portuguese. So
let’s not waste any time and quickly dive into the most useful Portuguese expressions.
Before we embark on our journey through basic Portuguese phrases for various situations, let's start with some fundamental Portuguese expressions. These phrases serve as the building blocks for effective communication, and whether you find yourself in the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro or the charming alleys of Lisbon, you'll be glad to have these in your linguistic toolkit. Here are 15 common Portuguese phrases along with their English translations or brief explanations:
Use this when greeting someone in a friendly and casual manner. It's appropriate for most situations.
Include this when making a polite request or asking for something. It adds politeness to your interactions.
Express your gratitude when someone does something for you. Use obrigado if you're male and obrigada if you're female.
Say this when you need to get someone's attention, apologise, or express regret for a mistake. It's versatile in its usage.
Employ these simple affirmatives or negatives to answer questions with clarity.
Use this phrase when inquiring about the price of an item or service.
Utilise this question to ask for directions or the location of a place or object.
Request the bill at a restaurant or any other establishment when you're ready to pay.
Use this question when you need to communicate in English, especially when travelling or seeking assistance.
Express your need for assistance when you require help in a polite and straightforward manner.
Greet someone in the morning until around noon with this phrase for a friendly and respectful interaction.
Employ this greeting in the afternoon, typically from noon until early evening.
Use this phrase in the evening or when saying goodbye late in the day.
Say tchau in casual settings and adeus when parting in a more formal or permanent manner.
Use this phrase when ordering at a restaurant, making a request, or stating your preferences.
These useful Portuguese phrases are versatile and can be used in a wide range of situations. Whether you're greeting someone, seeking assistance, or expressing gratitude, these expressions will be invaluable throughout your journey.
Navigating through unfamiliar streets is an adventure in itself, but it can also be challenging. To ensure you reach your intended destinations with ease, here are seven basic Portuguese phrases for asking directions:
These useful Portuguese phrases will not only help you find your way but also enable you to engage with locals and make your journey more interactive and enjoyable.
No trip is complete without a bit of retail therapy. Whether you're picking up souvenirs, clothing, or local products, these phrases will be your allies in the shopping world:
Use this question when you want to inquire about the price of a specific item or product.
Use this phrase when you're ready to make a purchase and want to indicate your choice.
Ask this question when you're making a payment and want to know if the establishment accepts credit card payments.
Use this phrase when you're shopping for clothing or trying out any item that requires testing or fitting.
Inquire about discounts or promotions when you want to know if the product you're interested in is available at a reduced price.
Use this question when you want to check if a particular colour or size of an item is in stock.
Use this question to ask for directions to a currency exchange facility or booth when you need to exchange money while travelling.
These phrases will not only make your shopping experience smoother but also help you strike up conversations with local shopkeepers, providing insights into their culture and products.
Exploring local cuisine is a highlight of any journey, and ordering food in Portuguese restaurants can be a delightful experience. Here are seven Portuguese phrases to enhance your dining adventures:
Use this phrase when you arrive at a restaurant and want to request a table for a specific number of people.
Request the menu from the server to browse the list of available dishes and drinks.
Ask for the chef's recommendation when you want to try a special dish that the chef recommends.
Use these phrases to order beverages, specifying whether you'd like a coffee or a glass of wine.
Express your appreciation for the food when you find it tasty. It's a compliment to the chef.
Request the bill when you're ready to pay for your meal.
Ask about the service charge if you're unsure whether the tip or service fee is already included in the bill.
Using these phrases not only ensures you enjoy a delicious meal but also fosters a deeper connection with the local culture and cuisine.
Comfortable lodgings are essential for any traveller. These Portuguese phrases will help you secure accommodations and ensure a pleasant stay:
Use this phrase when you arrive at a hotel to inform the staff that you have a pre-booked room.
Specify the type of room you want when booking or checking in. Individual means a single room, while duplo is a double room.
Request additional towels if you require more than what is provided in your room.
Inform the hotel staff if you find your room to be unclean or if it requires cleaning.
Ask about the check-out time to ensure you leave your room at the appropriate time on your departure day.
Inquire about the availability and cost of Wi-Fi access in the hotel. This is especially important if you rely on internet connectivity.
Ask the hotel staff if they offer luggage storage services if you need to leave your bags after check-out or before check-in.
These phrases will ensure you have a comfortable and hassle-free stay in your chosen accommodations.
Before we dive into the intricacies of the language, it's crucial to understand that Portuguese, like English, has regional variations. The two primary branches of Portuguese are European Portuguese (Português Europeu or pt-PT) and Brazilian Portuguese (Português Brasileiro or pt-BR). These regional distinctions encompass pronunciation, vocabulary, and even certain idiomatic expressions. Understanding these differences is essential for travellers, as it can greatly impact their ability to communicate effectively and immerse themselves in the local culture.
One of the most noticeable differences between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese is pronunciation. For instance, in European Portuguese, the 's' at the end of words is often pronounced like 'sh', whereas in Brazilian Portuguese, it's pronounced as 's'. So, "Portugal" would be pronounced "Pur-tu-gal" in European Portuguese and "Pur-tu-gau" in Brazilian Portuguese.
There are also variations in vocabulary. Some words are unique to one region or have different meanings. For example, the word for bus in European Portuguese is autocarro, while in Brazilian Portuguese, it's ônibus.
Regional idioms and expressions can also differ. A classic example is the use of tudo ótimo, which means "everything's great", but is more commonly used in Brazil. In Portugal, you might hear (está) tudo bem instead.
Grammar rules, such as verb conjugation, remain largely consistent between the two versions. However, there are subtle differences, especially in verb conjugation and verb tense usage, that might be noticed by more advanced speakers.
If you are still wondering which dialect to learn, check out our blog about how European and Brazilian Portuguese differ.
Yes, many common phrases are shared between Brazilian Portuguese (pt-BR) and European Portuguese (pt-PT). While there are some regional variations in pronunciation and vocabulary, you can generally use the phrases mentioned above in both regions. Native speakers will understand you, and your efforts to communicate in their language will be greatly appreciated.
Don’t hesitate to test your knowledge on Portuguese and Brazilian culture.
Learning these everyday Portuguese phrases can greatly enhance your travel experience, fostering deeper connections with the local culture and people. To expedite your language learning journey, consider using language learning apps like Drops. Drops offers bite-sized lessons, vocabulary exercises, and pronunciation practice tailored to your specific needs. Here are some benefits of learning Portuguese:
In conclusion, learning common Portuguese phrases is a valuable investment for any traveller heading to a Portuguese-speaking destination. With these Portuguese expressions in your toolkit, you'll not only enrich your travel experience but also build bridges of communication and connection with the people you meet along the way. So, whether you're strolling along the beaches of Rio de Janeiro or exploring the historic sites of Lisbon, embrace the Portuguese language, and embark on a journey filled with meaningful interactions and unforgettable moments. Start learning Portuguese now!
Javier Gil is our Senior Language Operations Manager. He loves linguistics, reading, skincare, 90s music, and Zumba. He currently lives in Spain.
Sound fun? Easy? Effective? It is.
Get Drops for free!