Tip 34. Beware of largo, longo and longe!

Beware of these false friends. The Portuguese word largo corresponds to Spanish ancho (“wide, broad; loose”). Spanish largo is Portuguese longo (“long”), while Portuguese longe is Spanish lejos (“distant, far”). You can also say comprido in Portuguese for “long,” as in manga comprida (“long sleeves”).

Confused? The table below will help:

English Spanish Portuguese
wide, broad; loose ancho / -a largo / -a
long largo / -a longo / -a
distant, far lejos longe

Example 1:
English: Maracanã Avenue is wide.
Spanish: La avenida Maracanã es ancha.
Portuguese: A avenida Maracanã é larga.

Example 2:
English: The avenue is also long.
Spanish: La avenida también es larga.
Portuguese: A avenida também é longa/comprida.

Example 3:
English: But Maracanã Avenue is far from here.
Spanish: Pero la avenida Maracanã está lejos de aquí.
Portuguese: Mas a avenida Maracanã fica longe daqui.

Tip 31. Ah, Brazilians…

The Portuguese word for Brazilian (brasileiro/a) is similar to the one used in many Spanish-speaking countries in South America (brasilero/a). So, to sound Brazilian, simply remember not to use brasileño/a. If you already say brasilero/a, then you are set!

English: We are Brazilian.
Spanish: Nosotros somos brasileros (brasileños).
Portuguese: A gente é brasileiro.

Tip 19. A major problem: mayor vs. maior

Although the Portuguese word maior looks like the Spanish word mayor, the two words often do not mean the same thing. In Portuguese, maior refers to size and is equivalent to más grande in Spanish.

Example 1:
English: This stadium is bigger than that one.
Spanish: Este estadio es más grande que aquel.
Portuguese: Este estádio é maior do que aquele.

But if you are referring to someone who is older be sure to use mais velho in Portuguese.

Example 2:
English: The older gentlemen should sit down.
Spanish: Los señores mayores deben sentarse.
Portuguese: Os senhores mais velhos devem se sentar.

Tip 13. Only / Just = Só

The words “only” and “just,” which correspond to solo in Spanish, translate as in Portuguese. Note that the word often appears at the end of a sentence.

English: He scored only one goal.
Spanish: Hizo solo un gol.
Portuguese: Ele fez um gol. / Ele fez um gol .

Don’t be fooled! The word solo exists in Portuguese, but it means “soil” (suelo in Spanish).

Tip 12. Very / Much = Muito

The word muito in Portuguese is used for both Spanish muy and mucho.

Example 1:
English: My team played very well.
Spanish: Mi equipo jugó muy bien.
Portuguese: O meu time jogou muito bem.

Example 2:
English: They won’t rest much before the next game.
Spanish:  No van a descansar mucho antes del próximo partido.
Portuguese: Eles não vão descansar muito antes do próximo jogo.