You’ve just arrived in Rio de Janeiro.
Some stroke of luck has landed you in the house of a local, who is preparing a typical Brazilian dessert called brigadeiro. It’s chocolate, which is obviously your favorite.
Honestly, you couldn’t have imagined a more perfect, happy place if you tried.
Your host offers some brigadeiro to you. “Obrigado” (thank you), you say, showing off your language mastery and impeccable manners.
But wait! Upon hearing you, he retracts the hot balls of sugary chocolate goodness and goes to put them back in the fridge, leaving you empty-handed.
Why!? Was it your pronunciation? Did you say something wrong? Should you not have said, “Thank you?”
Don’t let this happen to you!
This article will be your handy guide to all the ins and outs of saying thank you in Portuguese and will ensure that you get your desserts.
5 Simple Tips to Help You 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.
1. Attend language meet-ups using sites like Meetup and 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!
2. Get a Brazilian pen pal from Global Penfriends.
If you’re someone who prefers written communication or you want to practice your 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.
3. See authentic language examples using FluentU’s video library.
If you’re like most people who are learning a language, then you prefer to sound like a native speaker. To do that, you must expose yourself to authentic dialogue. FluentU’s Portuguese program is the ultimate way to do this, all while watching fun videos!
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. (Note: Portuguese program is still in development!)
Use the video library search function to find content that uses vocabulary like Obrigado in authentic contexts.
Or, browse videos by playlist, topic or language level. The interactive subtitles let you click on any word to look it up while you’re watching! You can also test your knowledge with fun quizzes or continue practicing with customized vocabulary lists and flashcard sets.
4. 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.
5. 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.
How to Say Thank You in Portuguese (Plus Phrases for “No, Thank You” and “You’re Welcome!”)
In your Portuguese language journey, you’ll certainly encounter all sorts of situations to say thank you. These phrases will help you impress people in both formal and informal situations.
The Most Common Phrases and How to Use Them
Common “thank you” phrases
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.
Não, Obrigado(a), or simply 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.
Important 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 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.
Muito Obrigado (Thank you very much)
This is the most basic way to add emphasis to your thanks.
Grammatical rules to keep in mind
Gender: Obrigado vs. Obrigada
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.
When speaking on behalf of more than one person, the plural obrigados(as) should be used. Remember, due to Portuguese gender rules, if there’s even a single male in the group, you should use Obrigados. Only use Obrigadas if the group being referred to is entirely female.
Using Obrigado with prepositions
When using obrigado in a sentence, it’s important to know what prepositions should follow it. Here’s a list of the most common prepositions you’ll use with this word.
1. Obrigado por
This is used when combining obrigado with a verb.
Obrigado por vir. (Thank you for coming.)
Obrigado por me ajudar. (Thank you for helping me.)
2. Obrigado pelo/pela
These contractions of the preposition por + o/a are used when a noun follows obrigado, as in:
Obrigado pelo brigadeiro. (Thank you for the brigadeiro.)
Obrigado pela ajuda. (Thank you for the help.)
The Formal “Thank You”
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.
Colloquial Ways to Say “Thank You”
When the context is more casual, there are a plethora of ways that locals typically thank each other, such as:
This comes from the phrase valeu a pena, meaning “it was worth the effort.”
These are the respective augmentative and diminutive versions of obrigado. Depending on emphasis, they can mean “thank you very much” or simply add flare to your thanks!
This abbreviation of obrigado is often used by younger crowds and is almost exclusively used in text communication and on social media and messaging apps.
Two Ways to Say “Thank You” That Work in Any Situation
These are both general terms that are 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 Unique Ways to Say “You’re Welcome”
Though all these phrases can be used like “You’re welcome,” a more direct translation has been included for each.
De nada (Of nothing/it was nothing)
Por nada (For nothing)
Com prazer (With pleasure)
Não há de quê (There is no reason)
Às suas ordens (At your orders)
Other Useful Portuguese Vocabulary to Boost Your Manners
Learning to say thank you is probably the first step towards impeccable Portuguese manners, but it’s certainly not the last one. Here’s a list of other words and phrases you can use to show off your bons modos (good manners).
Por favor (Please)
Por favor, faz um brigadeiro para mim. (Please, make a brigadeiro for me.)
Com licença (Excuse me)
This one is used when trying to get someone’s attention, but without admitting any fault, such as when trying to get by someone on a busy subway car.
Com licença, eu quero passar. (Excuse me, I want to pass.)
Desculpe-me (Excuse me/sorry)
Like the previous phrase, this can be used to get someone’s attention, but it can also be used to admit fault or say sorry.
Desculpe-me pela bagunça. (Sorry for the mess.)
Sinto muito (Sorry/I feel very bad)
Finally, this phrase is used to lament someone’s situation, but again without admitting fault.
Sinto muito pela sua perda. (Sorry for your loss.)
Está daqui! (It’s from here!)
Idioms like this one can help you sound more like a native speaker! This particular idiom is great for showing how much you enjoy a certain food. It’s typically used in Portugal and basically states that something is good because it comes from a certain area.
Hopefully, you’ve learned all you need to feel confident when thanking someone or responding to thanks in every context. With these tips and phrases, you’ll be sure to never miss out on that delicious brigadeiro!
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