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Basic Portuguese for Beginners

Are you planning a trip to Brazil, Portugal or another Portuguese-speaking country? Do you live next to Portuguese speakers and would like to communicate with them? Or are you simply in love with the sounds of this interesting Romance language and would like to learn the basics of it?

If you’ve said yes to at least one of the questions above, it’s a good idea to learn some basic words in Portuguese, right? If you’re intimidated by the language, don’t be because you have come to the right place! In this article, I’ll go over essential words and sentences in Portuguese to get you started.

Greetings and goodbyes in Portuguese

Whether you are meeting someone new or saying hi to an old friend, these are some of the first words you will definitely use when talking to a Portuguese speaker:

Oi! / Olá!Hello!

Bom diaGood morning

Boa tardeGood afternoon

Boa noite Good evening / good night
(That’s right, Portuguese doesn’t distinguish the periods of the night like English does, so just by learning Boa Noite you are ready to go!)


If you want to say goodbye, here are a few possible options:


Até logoSee you soon

Até amanhãSee you tomorrow

Tenha um bom diaHave a good day

Cuide-se Take care

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Being polite

Being polite is a language understood all over the word, so how about learning a few words that will help you go a long way in making new friends?

Obrigado(a)Thank you
(Unlike English, Portuguese differentiates many words by gender so it has two different ways of saying Thank You. It’s quite simple: if you’re a man, say Obrigado, but if you’re a woman, say Obrigada)

Muito obrigado(a)Thank you very much

ValeuThanks (informal)

De nadaYou’re welcome

Por favorPlease

Com licençaExcuse me

Me desculpeI’m sorry

Senhor / senhora / senhorita – Sir / madam / miss


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Introducing Yourself

Well, if the purpose here is making new Portuguese-speaker friends, let’s see how we can introduce ourselves and asking other people’s names.

Como você chama? / Qual é o seu nome?What’s your name?

Meu nome é …My name is …

É um prazer te conhecerIt’s a pleasure to meet you
(It’s common for Portuguese speakers to abbreviate the sentences. In this case, you can simply say Prazer and you will be understood.)

O prazer é meu The pleasure is mine

Starting a conversation

After greeting the person and introducing yourself, you’re ready to start chatting! Here are some things you can say to break the ice and start a conversation:

Tudo bem? / Como vai?How are you?

Tudo bem, e você? I’m fine, and you?

muito bemvery well
mais ou menosso-so

E aí?What’s up? (informal)

De onde você é? – Where are you from?

Que horas são? – What time is it?

Você fala inglês?Do you speak English?

Quantos anos você tem?How old are you?

Where to find beginner Portuguese content

If you’re serious about learning Portuguese, I’ve got some good news for you.

LingQ has hundreds of lessons that will help improve your Portuguese skills. These lessons are easy to read and you can listen to their audio as well. By going through 1 or 2 a day, you’ll start to recognize the language and slowly begin to read advanced content. 

Learn Portuguese online on the LingQ mobile app

LingQ’s beginner lessons have been professionally transcribed and recorded by native speakers, so you can learn from authentic content and hear how the words are properly pronounced. There’s so much more to LingQ and that’s why I recommend you check out this post on importing your own content into the LingQ app and turning it into a lesson

LingQ has also created a free Portuguese grammar guide that you can view right away.

Check out the app today and start learning Portuguese online.


Ivy do Carmo is a Brazilian content writer and translator whose passion has always been learning and teaching the English language.


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