Tip 2. To/For = Para

In Brazilian Portuguese, para (often reduced to pra) is used much more often than a.

Example 1:
English: I am going home.
Spanish: Voy a casa.
Portuguese: Eu vou para (pra) casa.

If para is followed by o, the two words may combine to form pro (pronounced “pru”) in spoken language.

Example 2:
English: I am going to Rio de Janeiro.
Spanish: Voy a Río de Janeiro.
Portuguese: Eu vou para o (pro) Rio de Janeiro.

Sound Brazilian! In Brazil, the equivalent of Spanish le is rarely used. Instead, use para você / Maria / João / eles, etc. after the action.

Example 3:
English: I gave the tickets to Maria.
Spanish: Le di los boletos a María.
Portuguese: Eu dei as entradas para (pra) Maria.

Tip 1. How do I say yo, tú, usted, etc. in Brazilian Portuguese?

Although some of these words in Portuguese sound similar to their Spanish equivalents, others are totally different. Memorize these and you’ll be ready to go.

Spanish Portuguese
yo eu
usted o senhor or a senhora
nosotros a gente and nós (less common)
vosotros vocês
ustedes vocês
él ele
ella ela
ellos eles
ellas elas

Sound Brazilian! Even though tu exists in Brazilian Portuguese, você is widely used. Stick with você and you’ll be fine.

Sound Brazilian! Most Brazilians use a gente to say nosotros. You should too.

Example 1:
English: We’re going to have dinner. Do you want to come with us?
Spanish: Vamos a cenar. ¿Quieres ir con nosotros?
Portuguese: A gente vai jantar. Você quer ir com a gente?

Example 2:
English: I’m a fan of the Spanish national team.
Spanish: Soy hincha de la selección de España. (common in Spain and Argentina)
Spanish: Yo le voy a la selección de España. (common in Mexico)
Portuguese: Eu torço pela seleção da Espanha.

Sound Brazilian

Portuguese is a fascinating language. Spoken by over 250 million people in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia, it is one of the ten most spoken languages on the planet. And Brazilian Portuguese, spoken by three out of every four Portuguese speakers, is growing both in popularity and influence as Brazil increases in economic and political importance. Brazilian Portuguese is the language of samba and Bossa Nova, futebol (soccer) and carnaval.

As someone who either grew up speaking Spanish or learned to speak Spanish later in life, you have probably noticed just how similar Portuguese and Spanish are. Most likely, you have even found yourself saying, “Yeah, I understand 50 to 75 percent of what they are saying when I hear Portuguese.”

Because you already speak Spanish, the Portuguese you do understand is a great foundation on which to build. But, let’s face it. It’s that other 25 to 50 percent that you don’t understand, or worse yet, that you think you understand but don’t, that forces you to speak that clumsy mishmash of Portuguese words mixed with Spanish known as “portuñol” (Brazilians call it “portunhol” and speak their own version of it when they try to speak Spanish with equally comical results).

That’s where this website comes in. Sound Brazilian provides you with more than 50 of the most tricky words and phrases in Brazilian Portuguese that have been carefully selected from the 500 most frequently used words in Portuguese, as found in the Corpus do Português, a database of authentic language maintained by Professor Mark Davies at Brigham Young University. Each tip explains the difference between Portuguese and Spanish and provides you with real-world examples that you can easily incorporate into your portuñol to make it sound more like Brazilian Portuguese. Master these 54 tips and you’ll be well on your way to sounding like a real Brazilian Portuguese speaker.