The Greek philosopher Plato once wrote: “At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.”
You can love a car, a cocktail or a country.
You can love your cat, your parents and your spouse.
You can fall in love, be in love, love unconditionally and even fall out of love.
But if you are communicating in a non-native language, the results can be mixed. You are not just expressing your love (which can be hard enough as it is!), but you are also dealing with grammatical rules, vocabulary and other language barrier issues.
Whether you want to express your love to a person in Portuguese or talk about the things in your life that you adore, this post will introduce you to the words and expressions you will need!
How to Practice Expressing Your Love in Portuguese
1. Listen to music
Brazilian music is full of references to love, dating, passion and all of the confusion that surrounds the ritual of courtship.
There is a variety of Portuguese language radio stations freely available online. Radio Transamérica is a great place to listen to popular Brazilian music (known as MPB — Musica Popular Brasiliero). To practice expressions of love, look for Brazilian artists like Ivete Sangalo, Caetano Veloso and Jorge Ben Jor. Print out lyrics ahead of time and re-listen to your favorite songs to retain valuable phrases and their contextual meanings.
Another great resource for selecting your favorite Brazilian tunes is Celebrate Brazil, an online collection dedicated to the rich history of Brazilian music.
If you’re learning the European flavor of Portuguese, you can find many love song suggestions in this Quora thread.
Or you can dive right into the music with a YouTube playlist consisting of a mix of Brazilian and mainland Portuguese love songs.
2. Watch romantic comedies
Observing native Portuguese speakers in a variety of familiar and romantic interactions reiterates how locals naturally use terms of love and endearment.
Films like “Central Station,” “Bossa Nova” and “Lower City” are all excellent Brazilian movies to watch and observe how native speakers employ the vocabulary of love. For romantic comedies from Portugal, check out films like “A Mulher do Próximo,” “Um Crime de Luxo,” and “Maria and the Others.”
To improve your retention, always watch with subtitles and take notes on new words.
FluentU’s learning platform provides an excellent chance to view and practice the Portuguese language. With both interactive subtitles and on-demand linguistic explanations, the FluentU portal offers a variety of movie trailers and clips.
A Portuguese learning program is currently in development, so stay tuned for an immersive, authentic way to learn Portuguese, coming soon!
3. Enroll in a language exchange program
Whether online or in-person, conversing with a native speaker will improve your ability to naturally speak any language. It also provides the opportunity to ask language partners real questions about how they use their language, rather than relying on direct online or dictionary translations.
If you are looking for an online option, Tandem is a web-based application that connects you with language partners online and enrollment is free.
For in-person exchanges, you can consult Meetup to discover a variety of events in your area hosted by native Portuguese speakers and highlight cultural activities.
4. Fall in love
To really experience love in Portuguese, perhaps the best way is to fall in love with a native speaker. Or develop a deep personal friendship. Or even study abroad with a host family!
Ultimately, the rules of grammar cannot fully govern or categorize a human connection as profound as love. Learning to love actually and fully in any language, including Portuguese, requires practice. Maybe you’ll become Plato’s love poet after all.
How to Say “I Love You” in Portuguese and 9 Terms of Endearment for Your Loved One
How to Say “I Love You” in Portuguese
Amar — To love
The noun for love in Portuguese is amor. The term amor refers to a deeply romantic, familial or platonic bond. It is also a term of endearment. For example, you can call someone meu amor, which means “my love.” This affectionate term applies to a family member, a romantic partner, and even a friend.
If you want to tell someone that you love them in Portuguese, you can say te amo. You can say te amo to a parent, a close friend or a partner.
Adorar — To like a lot
The more common verb to express quotidian love for people and objects in Portuguese is adorar, which literally means “to adore.”
If you don’t quite feel ready enough to express your love with a heartfelt “Te amo,” you can say instead “Te adoro,” which signals that you like someone… a lot!
Additionally, in Portuguese you use the verb adorar to express great affinity for places, objects and activities. Do you really, really like coffee? Instead of saying “amo café (I love coffee),” which sounds like you harbor romantic feelings for your coffee, you can say “Adoro café (I really like coffee)!”
Similarly, if you want to express a desire in the conditional tense, you would use the conditional form of adorar in Portuguese. For example:
Eu adoraria ir ao Brasil. — I would love to go to Brazil.
When in doubt, use the verb adorar (instead of amar) in Portuguese to express an affinity.
Apaixonar-se por — To fall in love with
Now we enter some seriously romantic territory. In Portuguese, to express the sensation of falling deeply in love with someone, you use a reflexive verb apaixonar-se, which literally means “to be impassioned by someone.”
The question of verb tense can be tricky here, as it points to the precise point in time when the falling in love takes place. For example, to tell someone, “I am falling in love with you,” you use the present continuous and say, “Eu estou me apaixonando por você.”
Estar apaixonado por — To be in love
After you have fallen in love, you experience the state of being in love. Just as in English, to express this state in Portuguese, you use the verb estar (to be).
Other Terms of Endearment in Portuguese
There are endless terms of endearment to express affection towards romantic partners and family members in Portuguese. Below is a list of the most common.
You will note that some are gender-neutral, in which case you always apply the masculine possessive pronoun, meu (my) before the noun. In other cases, you use the gendered possessive pronoun that corresponds to the gender of the person to/about whom you are speaking.
Meu querido/Minha querida — My dear
Meu lindo/ Minha linda — My beautiful
Meu docinho — My sweet
Meu bem — My darling
Meu xuxu/chuchu — My squash
Meu fofinho — My softie, cutie
Minha vida — My life
Meu gatinho/ Minha gatinha — My kitty
Meu coração — My heat
Whether you’re expressing your undying love for your darling little xuxu, or you’re just saying that you adore tea, the words and expressions in this post will help you say “I love you” in Portuguese!
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