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Language Basics for Brazil to Know before You Go

When in any country, it's always good to know some very basic vocabulary to facilitate your time there. Here are some essential Brazilian words and sentences for you to know.

A colorful graffiti of a woman's face on a brick wall

Photo by Milos Hajder

11 de oct de 2023

When visiting Brazil as a tourist, knowing a few key sentences in Portuguese can greatly enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals. Here are some important sentences to know:


Hello: Olá (oh-LAH)

Good morning: Bom dia (BOHM DEE-ah)

Good afternoon: Boa tarde (BOH-ah TAHR-dee)

Good evening/night: Boa noite (BOH-ah NOY-chee)

Basic Phrases:

Please: Por favor (poor fah-VOHR)

Thank you: Obrigado (if you're male) or Obrigada (if you're female) (oh-bree-GAH-doo/oh-bree-GAH-dah)

Yes: Sim (seen)

No: Não (now)

Excuse me / Sorry: Desculpe (deh-SKOOL-peh)

Asking for Help:

Can you help me?: Você pode me ajudar? (voh-SEH POH-deh meh ah-joo-DAR?)

Where is...?: Onde fica...? (OHN-dee FEE-kah...?)

Moqueca (Brazilian seafood stew)

Upon entering, bring joy. When leaving, take nostalgia. Photo by Raquel Brepohl


Left: Esquerda (eh-SKEHR-dah)

Right: Direita (dee-RAY-tah)

Straight ahead: Em frente (eem FREN-teh)

How much is this?: Quanto custa isso? (KWAN-to KOOS-tah EE-soh?)

Ordering Food:

Menu, please: Cardápio, por favor (kahr-DAH-pee-oh, poor fah-VOHR)

I would like...: Eu gostaria de... (EH-oo goh-STAH-ree-ah deh...)

Water: Água (AH-gwah)

Food: Comida (koh-MEE-dah)

Beer: Cerveja (sehr-VAY-zhah)

Check, please: A conta, por favor (ah KOHN-tah, poor fah-VOHR)


1: Um (oong)

2: Dois (doysh)

3: Três (tresh)

10: Dez (dehss)

100: Cem (sehn)

How much does it cost?: Quanto custa? (KWAN-to KOOS-tah?)

These phrases should cover many common situations. Brazilians appreciate when travelers make an effort to speak their language, even if it's just a few basic sentences. It can go a long way in building rapport and having a more enjoyable trip.

If you want to learn more Brazilian Portuguese with a native speaker, look into taking some online classes on Preply before or during your travels. Use this link to get 30% off your first lesson.

Iguazu Falls

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