Hello there, reader.
I take it you’ve taken up the wonderful and rewarding challenge of learning Portuguese.
Of course, if you’re only starting out you’ll want to hone in on your basics.
And there’s nothing more important than knowing how to approach people and talk to them.
If you’re curious to know how to greet a native Portuguese speaker, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you’re talking to someone in Brazil, or you’ve got a few friends from Portugal you’d love to chat with in their native language, we’re about to cover what might just be the essential conversation starter: a simple hello.
There are lots of different ways to say “Hello,” “Hi” and “How are you?” in Portuguese, and I’m here to teach you all of them.
Naturally, we want you to feel confident with other greetings so you can have some authentic language exchanges. So, before we teach you the basics, here are a few tips that’ll help you throughout your studies.
How to Learn to Say Hello in Portuguese
1. Prep yourself
If you want to revise your “hellos,” “goodbyes” and “how are yous” before you practice with another person, here are our top recommendations:
Use FluentU to help you master your greetings. FluentU is an innovative platform that turns real-world Portuguese videos—like movie trailers, music videos, news clips and inspiring talks—into language-learning experiences.
Each video comes equipped with interactive subtitles in Portuguese and English, a full transcript and a “learn” mode. FluentU’s videos will allow you to see how native speakers greet each other on the daily. What’s more, the app’s exercises will help you to practice your greetings before using them yourself.
If you want to memorize these essential words and phrases, flashcards are a really good option. Getting started is quite easy too: this collection from Quizlet will point you in the right direction, otherwise just power up an app like Anki to create your own.
2. Test yourself
Even at the most basic level, testing your knowledge on a regular basis will help you learn and assess your strengths and weaknesses.
For something as essential as greetings, there are different ways to approach it:
You could enter each greeting through an online dictionary like Forvo or Linguee to hear it spoken in the dialect you’re learning. Play it back a few times and repeat it back to yourself; this allows you to practice your Portuguese pronunciation as much as it helps you commit your greetings to memory.
Another way to test your knowledge is through online games. For instance, Digital Dialects has one for basic phrases in Brazilian and European Portuguese that covers essential greetings and allows you to listen to audio.
3. Get out of your comfort zone—online and offline!
Now it’s time to get talking!
For offline exchanges, social media can offer some good leads: you could look for Facebook groups for Portuguese speakers and learners in your area and ask them if there are any exchange meetups coming up. You could even offer to organize your own! Otherwise, take a look at Meetup.com and see if there are any Portuguese language exchanges happening near you.
13 Fun Ways to Say Hello in Portuguese (Brazilian and European!)
Wherever possible, we’ve included audio links for the words or phrases listed below; just click on them to hear them in the dialect you’re learning.
How to Say “Hello” or “Hi” in Portuguese: The Basics
Used by European and Brazilian Portuguese speakers alike, Olá is a slightly more formal way of saying hello, and the safest option when you’re greeting someone you don’t know very well.
How to respond: A simple Olá back to the person will suffice. You can also say hello and immediately ask the other person how they are—the phrases you’ll need in order to do this will be covered later in this post.
A casual, informal way to say “hi” in Portuguese. It’s primarily used in Brazil, but you’ll sometimes hear it in Portugal too.
How to respond: Same logic as above—say oi, and maybe follow up by asking the person how they’re doing.
A common, slightly more formal way to greet people in Portugal: Viva, amigos! would be like saying “hello, my friends.” The word viva is literally translated as “live” or “long live” (as in “long live the king”— viva o rei), but the Portuguese use it as a way to wish good health to the person being greeted.
How to respond: If used as a standalone greeting, reply with Viva as well and then follow to ask the person how they are; if the other person greeted you with Viva and immediately followed with a “how are you?” phrase (as is most common) you may answer with Viva and a response to the question. Again, we’ll cover the related phrases and responses in the sections to follow.
How to Say “Hello, How Are You?” in Portuguese
Now we get to the different forms of saying “how are you?”
In the same way that English speakers will tweak that question according to formality (“how have you been?” “what’s up?” “how’s things?”), Portuguese speakers have their own formal and informal variations:
Literally translating to “Everything well?”, this is the most common informal manner of saying “how are you?” in Brazil. It’s also used in Portugal to greet family members and friends.
How to respond: Tudo, e você? (I’m good, and you?) is the most common response in Brazil; a longer alternative would be Eu estou bem, e você? (it means the exact same thing: I am good, and you?) and a shorter version is Bem, e você?.
These are different ways of saying “how are you?” or “how are you doing?” For these, the verbs estar (one of two “to be” verbs in Portuguese) and ir (to go) are conjugated according to the você form of “you,” most commonly used in Portugal in formal situations and by Brazilian Portuguese speakers in informal situations.
How to respond: In Portugal, these greetings are regularly used as a way of saying hello, and as such don’t warrant a reply. If you feel obliged to respond, a simple, Estou bem, obrigado (as above) will suffice.
These are two ways Brazilian Portuguese speakers say “what’s up?” Don’t try to translate it literally as these are quite slangy terms. Beleza? can be used in a “how are you?” sense—like saying “All good?” in English.
How to respond: Both greetings can easily be answered with Beleza (All good).
These are two slang phrases for saying “are you well?” in European Portuguese. They are best left for friends only as they’re quite informal.
How to respond: Portuguese speakers often use this as a way of saying “hi,” without expecting any answer in return. Still, you could answer with Tudo bem (I’m good) or Tudo (same but condensed) if you feel the context calls for it.
Portuguese Greetings for Different Times of Day
Depending on the time of day, you might say hello to a Portuguese speaker the following ways:
Bom dia: Good morning (literally translates as “good day” and can be used as such in some situations). Use this between 6:00 am and noon.
Boa tarde: Good afternoon. Use as a greeting from noon until about 7:00 pm.
Boa noite: Good evening/good night (there’s no distinction between the two in Portuguese). Greet someone using this phrase from 7:00 pm onwards.
These are typically used in more formal situations where Olá might be deemed to casual, or as a generally more polite way to greet the person in front of you.
How to respond: With all of these, responding with “Bom dia/Boa tarde/Boa noite” is all that’s needed. You could also add a “How are you?” into it:
Boa noite, como vai? (Good evening, how are you?)
Bom dia, tudo bem? (Good morning, how are you?)
“Hello, Operator?” How to Answer the Phone in Portuguese
This is one of those instances where you’ll see a marked difference between the Brazilian and European Portuguese dialects.
In Brazil, the most common way to answer the phone is with Alô? (Hello?). The other person will usually answer back with the same interjection, and maybe ask who is speaking (Quem é? or Quem tá falando?).
In Portugal, they do things differently: a Portuguese person will either answer with Está lá? (Are you there?) or simply with Estou (I am [there]). The other speaker will typically respond with Estou or Estou sim (Yes, I am [there]); sometimes they may reply with Fala (the imperative form of falar, the verb “to speak”) or simply Olá.
Bonus: How to Say “Goodbye” in Portuguese
Given that a “hello” is eventually followed by a “goodbye,” it’s good that we cover these greetings here too.
When it’s time to go your separate ways, this is how you or the other Portuguese speaker will conclude your meeting:
Pronounced just like ciao in Italian, this is the most common way Brazilians say goodbye to each other. To respond, just say Tchau back to the other person.
This is another form of saying goodbye, commonly used in Portugal but very formal in Brazil. (Speakers of the latter dialect may even it see it as over-dramatic at times.) Like saying tchau in Brazil, all you need to say back to someone who says Adeus is—you guessed it—Adeus.
These are time-specific goodbyes, and they allow you to wish someone a good morning (or day), a good afternoon or a good evening (or night). These are very polite ways of saying goodbye.
In response, you can either say Tenha um bom dia/uma boa tarde/uma boa noite também (Have a good morning/afternoon/evening too) or, depending on whom you’re addressing, a simple “para você também” (For you too) will suffice.
These are different ways of saying “see you soon.” For a slightly more formal alternative, use the phrase Até mais tarde or Até logo mais (both mean “See you later”). You can respond to the other person by echoing any of these greetings, or simply by saying Até (Until then).
Now it’s our turn to bid you goodbye and say boa sorte (good luck) with all your language studies! Make sure to practice your greetings so that you too can nail your everyday Portuguese conversations.
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