Thank You in Portuguese: 10 Phrases for Expressing Gratitude in Any Situation
You’re in Rio de Janeiro, and your host offers you a traditional Brazilian dessert called brigadeiro.
“Obrigado” (thank you), you say.
But upon hearing you, he retracts the hot balls of sugary chocolate goodness and puts them 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.
- Obrigado and Obrigada — “Thank You” in Portuguese
- More Ways of Giving Thanks in Portuguese
- Tips to Practice “Thank You” in Portuguese
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Obrigado and Obrigada — “Thank You” in Portuguese
This is by far the most common (and easiest) way to say thank you in Portuguese. It translates to something like “much obliged” in English, but is used to say thank you.
In Portuguese, this term is actually an adjective describing the speaker.
That means if the speaker is male, they’ll say obrigado, and if the speaker is female, they’ll use obrigada instead. As with other adjectives, it follows relevant plural and preposition rules as well.
If you’re just saying obrigado/a on its own, you’ll also need to be clear with your body language whether it’s a “yes, thank you” or a “no, thank you” kind of situation. This term depends heavily on context and non-verbal cues.
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.
So, your Brazilian host must have taken your casual obrigado above as a lack of interest in eating dessert. 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.
Now you know: Nodding, smiling or otherwise showing your enthusiasm when you say “thank you” in Portuguese will ensure you never miss out on brigadeiro or other delightful experiences again!
More Ways of Giving Thanks in Portuguese
Não, obrigado — No, thank you
While obrigado alone needs more context, saying não, obrigado (or não, obrigada if you’re female), is always a safe way of politely turning down someone’s offer.
To clearly tell your host you don’t feel like having any of that delicious Brazilian chocolate brigadeiro, 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.
Muito obrigado — Thank you very much
This is the most basic way to add emphasis to your thanks. Again, use this version if you’re male, or switch to the -a ending if you’re female.
Agradecido — 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.
Grato — Grateful
Roughly translated as “I am obliged,” you’ll follow the same guidelines about the -o/-a ending here.
This one is pretty formal and mostly reserved for such 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.
Lhe agradeço — I thank you
This phrase is handy when extreme formality is in order, and can be said as is no matter your gender.
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.)
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.”
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.”
Brigadinho — (A small, cute) thank you
The -inho/-inha ending makes this the diminutive version of obrigado. Depending on emphasis, it can mean “thank you very much” or simply add flair to your thanks!
OBG — Thanks (in text slang)
This abbreviation of obrigado is often used by younger crowds, and almost exclusively used in text communication and on social media and messaging apps.
Obrigado por… — Thanks for…
This will be followed by a verb or verb phrase, and 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.)
If you’re thankful for an object or idea, you’ll use obrigado + pelo/a + noun.
Obrigado pelo brigadeiro. (Thank you for the brigadeiro.)
Obrigado pela ajuda. (Thank you for the help.)
Tips to Practice “Thank You” 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. There’s nothing better than meeting a group of people as excited about practicing a language as you are. Check sites like Couchsurfing and Meetup to see if there’s a Portuguese group near you.
- Learn with Portuguese media. See how native speakers naturally use phrases like “thank you” with language learning programs like FluentU. It uses authentic videos (like news and movie clips) with interactive subtitles, audio pronunciations and other learning tools to teach you Brazilian Portuguese on the web or the app (Android and iOS).
- Get a Brazilian pen pal. You can connect with a Portuguese speaker anywhere in the world via Global Penfriends for practice focused on reading and writing. You’ll choose the age, gender and location of your pen pal, and decide if you’d rather communicate through email or traditional snail mail.
- Check out flashcards on Quizlet. A few minutes per day studying this Quizlet set, for example, will get you comfortable saying many Portuguese versions of “thank you” and let you quiz yourself on what you’ve learned.
- Teach your friends and family. Maybe you’ve heard the maxim, “If you can teach it, you have it mastered.” Teaching Portuguese phrases will give you more opportunities to practice, and they’ll even stick in your mind that much easier.
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!