Thank You in Portuguese: 10 Phrases for Expressing Gratitude in Any Situation
You’re in Rio de Janeiro, and your host offers a traditional Brazilian dessert called brigadeiro to you.
“Obrigado” (thank you), you say.
But upon hearing you, he retracts the hot balls of sugary chocolate goodness and puts them back in the fridge, leaving you empty-handed.
Why!? Did you say something wrong, or was it your pronunciation?
This article will be your handy guide to correctly saying thank you in Portuguese.
That way, you’ll know how to express gratitude—and always get your dessert.
- 1. Obrigado/a — Thank you
- 2. (Não,) obrigado/a — No, thank you
- 3. Muito obrigado/a — Thank you very much
- 4. Agradecido/a — Thankful
- 5. Grato/a — Grateful
- 6. Lhe agradeço — I thank you
- 7. Valeu — Thanks
- 8. Brigadão — (A big) thank you
- 9. Brigadinho/a — (A small, cute) thank you
- 10. OBG — Thanks (in text slang)
- Some Grammar Rules to Keep in Mind
- Tips to Practice “Thank You” and Other Phrases in Portuguese
1. Obrigado/a — Thank you
This is by far the most common and easiest way to say thank you in Portuguese. It’s an adjective describing the speaker, almost like the phrase “much obliged” in English.
2. (Não,) obrigado/a — No, thank you
This one depends heavily on context and non-verbal clues. If someone is offering something to you, Obrigado can be a polite refusal, especially when paired with body language that indicates a lack of desire. Saying não, obrigado, however, is always a safe way of politely turning down someone’s offer.
Note: Remember when that local offered you some delicious Brazilian chocolate brigadeiro? If you don’t feel like having any, feel free to say, “Não, obrigado“ or simply “obrigado,” while putting your hands up in front of you as if you couldn’t eat another bite.
However, if you do want some, you can say:
Sim, obrigado. (Yes, thank you.)
Quero, obrigado. (I want some, thank you.)
Obrigado. (Thank you.) — Say this while nodding your head or making another nonverbal cue that you really do want to enjoy the treat.
3. Muito obrigado/a — Thank you very much
This is the most basic way to add emphasis to your thanks.
4. Agradecido/a — Thankful
This is a general term that is neither extremely formal nor extremely informal and, therefore, can be used in most contexts.
Remember, the same gender, plural and preposition rules apply here as with obrigado.
5. Grato/a — Grateful
Roughly translated as “I am obliged,” this one is pretty formal and mostly reserved for formal communications, rather than everyday speech.
Unless you’re writing formal emails or communications in the workplace, it’s best to opt for other “thank you” phrases on the list.
6. Lhe agradeço — I thank you
This phrase is handy when extreme formality is in order. If you want to step it up even further, add por (for) and then state the action you’re thankful for.
Lhe agradeço por me ajudar. (I thank you for helping me.)
7. Valeu — Thanks
When the context is more casual, there are a plethora of ways that locals typically thank each other, such as the colloquial valeu that’s often used among younger people.
This comes from the phrase valeu a pena, meaning “it was worth the effort.”
8. Brigadão — (A big) thank you
The –ão ending turns a regular “thank you” into the augmentative version of obrigado. This also can translate as “thanks a lot” or “thanks a bunch.”
9. Brigadinho/a — (A small, cute) thank you
The –inho/a ending makes this the diminutive version of obrigado. Depending on emphasis, it can mean “thank you very much” or simply add flare to your thanks!
10. OBG — Thanks (in text slang)
This abbreviation of obrigado is often used by younger crowds, almost exclusively used in text communication and on social media and messaging apps.
Some Grammar Rules to Keep in Mind
Since obrigado is used so often, there are actually several ways to say it, depending on the situation:
Because it’s an adjective, obrigado is used to describe the speaker. If the speaker is male, they should use obrigado. Female speakers will use obrigada instead.
Using obrigado with prepositions
When using obrigado in a sentence, it’s important to know what prepositions should follow it.
Here are the most common prepositions you’ll use with this word.
Obrigado + por + verb
This is used to say thanks for a certain action.
Obrigado por vir. (Thank you for coming.)
Obrigado por me ajudar. (Thank you for helping me.)
Obrigado + pelo/a + noun
These contractions of the preposition por + o/a are used when you’re thankful for an object or idea.
Obrigado pelo brigadeiro. (Thank you for the brigadeiro.)
Obrigado pela ajuda. (Thank you for the help.)
Tips to Practice “Thank You” and Other Phrases in Portuguese
Becoming conversational in Portuguese is easier than you might think. It really comes down to daily practice, and luckily there’s a wide variety of resources you can use to make Portuguese practice something you look forward to each day.
Here’s a list of some of the most engaging resources and ideas for daily practice that you can do from anywhere.
Attend language meet-ups at sites like Couchsurfing
One of the best parts of the internet-crazed world is the potential it gives us to get connected. For language learning, there’s nothing better than meeting a group of people as excited about practicing these languages as you are. Sites like Couchsurfing and Meetup often have language groups that meet to practice all sorts of languages. Check them out and see if there’s a group that meets near you!
Learn useful phrases in context with Portuguese media
As you can see from the brigadeiro example, saying thank you in Portuguese depends a lot on the context. Portuguese-language resources, such as music videos and TV shows, are really helpful in showing you how phrases and expressions are used naturally by native speakers.
FluentU is a language learning program that teaches you Portuguese based on authentic videos, specifically through quick clips of interviews, movies and vlogs.
The interactive subtitles show you definitions, audio pronunciation and sentence examples when you click on any word:
This exposes you to how common expressions are used authentically in different situations. You can also review phrases you’ve learned with flashcards and post-video quizzes.
Get a Brazilian penpal from Global Penfriends
If you’re someone who prefers written communication or wants to practice writing and reading skills, Global Penfriends is an incredible resource. It’s a website that connects two people from anywhere in the world. You can choose the age, gender and location of your pen pal, and you can even decide if you’d rather communicate through email or traditional snail mail.
Check out this Quizlet set
A few minutes per day studying this Quizlet set will get you comfortable saying thank you in all sorts of contexts and give you a chance to test yourself on what you’ve learned.
Teach your friends and family Portuguese phrases
Ever heard of the maxim, “If you can teach it, you have it mastered?” Not only will teaching those around you give you more opportunities to practice, but you may also be surprised how well these phrases stick in your mind after teaching them to someone else.
Hopefully, you’ve learned all you need to feel confident when thanking someone in every context. With these phrases, grammar notes and tips, you’ll be sure to never miss out on that delicious brigadeiro!