Brazilian Portuguese/Lesson 2

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In this lesson, you will learn:

  • Basic greetings and farewells
  • Words used in greeting
  • The verb 'to be' in present tense

Dialogue[edit | edit source]

Paulo: Oi, Julia.

Julia: Olá, Paulo. Como vai você?

Paulo: Muito bom, obrigado! E você?

Julia: Bem, obrigado.

Paulo: Ah. Aw, eu tenho que ir.

Julia: Até logo!

Paulo: Tchau!

Greetings[edit | edit source]

Let's start out with the first word that Paulo says: "Oi" Which literally means, "Hi". Julie replies with "Olá" which is the equivalent of "Hello". (In Brazil, 'oi' is used more often.)

Next you have "Como vai você?" which means literally "How goes you?" or "How do you go?" or "How`s it going [with you]?" This is used when you haven't seen someone for a while and you say "Como vai?" to ask them how they are doing. To reply to someone when they say, "como vai?" you simply have a few basic phrases you could use, depending on what mood you're in.

  • If you're happy or doing well, you say Muito bem or Tudo bem.
  • If you're so-so, you say Mais ou menos.
  • If you're not so well, you may say something along the lines of Não muito bem or simply Mal.

Now that you know that, you should thank them for asking. Notice how Julie thanks Paulo differently then how he thanks her.

  • If you're a male, you would say "obrigado" to thank them.
  • If you're a female, you would say "obrigada".

Farewells[edit | edit source]

Paulo suddenly has to go, so he says Eu tenho que ir which literally means "I have to go."

Julia understands to she tells him "See you later" or "Até logo" literally "Until later" (Li. You can also say "Tchau" which is what Paulo says.

Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

And so there's how to greet and depart. Let's review key words and phrases:

Oi/Olá! Hi!

Como vai você? -How are you?

Muito bem! Very well!

Mais ou menos. So-so.

Mal. Bad.

Eu tenho que ir. I have to go.

Até logo. See you later!

Tchau! Bye!

Grammar: the verb 'to be'[edit | edit source]

Just like in English, there is a word in Portuguese that describes the concept of being. In fact, there are two words that translate into 'to be.' Those words are ser and estar, and also like in English, both verbs are irregular. If you already know Spanish, then go ahead and skip this. The same rules apply in this language.

Let's look at ser first.

Ser is used to describe permanent characteristics. Say for instance you were to introduce yourself to somebody and your name was Marcia. You would say "Eu sou Marcia." Marcia is your name and that is a part of you that will probably never change.

Here are some other examples of permanent characteristics.

  • Nationality
  • Natural hair color
  • Profession (even though it CAN change, you would still use ser)

Estar is used for temporary things such as mood and location. You won't always be happy and you won't always be in the spot that you're sitting. So to say "I am happy" you would say "Estou feliz." And to say "I am in Mexico City" you would say "Estou na cidade de Mexico."

So in sum, estar is for temporary things and ser is for permanent situations.

Let's Conjugate[edit | edit source]

Here's the most fun thing about language courses - conjugating verbs! (Not.) Each subject pronoun has a different set of endings for each type of verb. Before we begin, there are a few things that you have to know.

1. Verbs in Portuguese have three infinitive endings - that is, there are -ar, -er and -ir verb endings. First thing you do is drop the infinitive ending and add the ending for the conjugation. You'll learn more about that in Chapter 3.

2. Subject pronouns The subject pronouns in Brazilian Portuguese are as follows:

Pronoun Translation
Eu I
Você You
Ele He
Ela She
Nós we
Vocês You (plural)
Eles / Elas They (m/f)

  • You may have heard about the pronouns tu and vós. Those are not used in every day Brazilian Portuguese so I will not use them in these lessons.

As in several other languages, in Portuguese there are two ways to say "you" depending on your relationship with the person.

If you know the person well, or if they are a member of your family, a friend or a child you use você

If you do not know the person well, or if you want to show respect to them, you use either o senhor (for males) or a senhora (for females). These words mean "sir" and "madam" respectively.

Both você and o senhor use the same form of the verb- The third person (He / she) form of the verb. In case your still not sure I've attached an example below.

INFORMAL- Você fala português (You speak Portuguese)

FORMAL- O senhor fala português (You speak Portuguese)

What I've described above is used in Brazil. In Portugal the same applies, except você is semi formal and a different pronoun, tu is informal

Most importantly though, remember that people will understand that Portuguese is not your first language, and will forgive you for small mistakes.

Now on to conjugating the verbs ser and estar.


  • Eu sou
  • Você é
  • Ele/ela é
  • Nós somos
  • Vocês são
  • Eles/elas são


  • Eu estou
  • Você está
  • Ele/ela está
  • Nós estamos
  • Vocês estão
  • Eles/elas estão

Quiz[edit | edit source]

Let's test how much you've learned.

1. How do you say “How are you” in Portuguese?

2. What is the Portuguese phrase for “see you later?”

3. Translate the following:

  • a) Oi, como vai? Eu estou bem, obrigado. E você?
  • b) Mais ou menos.

4. Fill in the table with either the correct Portuguese pronoun or translation.

Pronoun English
You all

5.Conjugate the verb “ser” in present tense.

6. Situation 1: João goes the store. His buddy calls him and asks him where he is at. João begins his answer with:

  • a) Eu estou ...
  • b) Eu sou ...

7. Situation 2: Maria is introducing herself to someone. She begins by saying:

  • a) Eu sou Maria.
  • b) Eu estou Maria.