Talk Like a Local: Words and Phrases That Will Help You Integrate
Publish date : October 12, 2022
You might have realized by now that Portuguese differs quite a bit from Spanish and other Romance languages. And sure, Duolingo and Portuguese lessons are a great way to learn the language, but they fall short on how people actually speak, as everyday language has a way of defying grammar books. The words and phrases I’m about to teach you will get you on your way.
Greetings and introductions
‘Hi!’ Simple, you can use it pretty much in any situation and any time of the day.
‘Good day!’ More formal, it’s ok to use it roughly till noon.
‘Good afternoon!’ More formal, use it in the afternoon.
‘Good night!’ More formal, use it from 7 pm on.
‘See you soon!’
‘See you later!’
Como se chama? / Qual é o seu nome?
‘What’s your name?’
Chamo-me… / O meu nome é…
‘My name is…’
‘All good?’ This is a very common way to ask how the other person is doing.
Please, thank you, sorry
Obrigado / obrigada
‘Thank you’. If you’re a man / if you’re a woman. You might hear men saying ‘obrigada’ and women saying ‘obrigado’, but this is the rule.
Muito obrigado / muito obrigada
‘Thank you very much.’
‘You’re welcome.’, which you can say after someone thanks you.
‘Excuse me.’ When you’re trying to get someone’s attention or a request to pass (e.g.: on a busy bus).
‘I’m sorry.’ It can be used in all contexts: to interrupt someone, as a request to pass, etc.
‘Health.’ When someones sneezes or when making a toast.
Bem-vindo! / Bem-vinda!
‘Welcome!’ Said to a man / to a woman.
Yes, no, and maybe
Tenho a certeza.
‘I don’t know.’
Não tenho a certeza.
‘I’m not sure.’
Request and give information
Estou a aprender português.
‘I’m learning Portuguese.’
Não falo português.
‘I don’t speak Portuguese.’
Pode repetir, por favor?
‘Can you repeat, please?’
Como se diz … em português?
‘How do you say … in Portuguese?’
Pode ajudar-me, por favor?
‘Can you help me, please?’
Quando custa isto? / Quanto custa …?
‘How much does this cost? How much does … cost?’
Que horas são?
‘What time is it?’
What to say at a cafe or restaurant
Um café e um copo de água, por favor.
‘A coffee and a glass of water, please.’ By default, when you order a coffee, you’ll get an espresso.
Quero um café e um copo de água, por favor.
‘I want a coffee and a glass of water, please.’
Um café para levar, por favor.
‘A coffee to go, please.’
A ementa, por favor.
‘The menu, please.’
Há opções sem glúten / Há opções vegan?
‘Are there gluten-free options? / Are there vegan options?’
A conta, por favor!
‘The check, please!’
Quero pagar, por favor.
‘I want to pay, please.’
Quero pagar com cartão.
‘I want to pay by card.’
Quero pagar em dinheiro.
‘I want to pay with cash.’
‘Do you have wifi?’
Qual é a password do wi-fi?
‘What’s the wifi password?’ Both English words are pronounced just like in English.
Onde é a casa-de-banho?
‘Where is the restroom?’
And a little slang that you might hear
‘Yes’ Although it sounds just like German ja, Portuguese ya actually comes from Ronga, a language spoken in Mozambique.
A filler that can mean a lot of things. It can be used to call someone’s attention (kind of like ‘duuude’), to show some level of disagreement, or simply to gain time (instead of uttering ‘uuuhh’).
Another filler, similar to English ‘like’.