Greetings like “good morning” or “good afternoon” are incredibly important in Portuguese. As the Portuguese culture is more formal, going through the ritual of greeting another person is an important way of showing respect. The Portuguese shake hands while saying “bom dia” or “boa noite” depending on the time of the day.
You are expected to greet every person individually, even if they’re in a group. That means that if you’re walking along the road and pass a group of five people, you’ll have to say, “bom dia” and shake hands five times! Once you know them, you may kiss the women on the cheeks. It is usually one kiss on both cheeks.
Resources for further reading:
As you have learned before, there are two ways of addressing someone in Portuguese: it will depend on which region in Brazil that you are. In some areas, people use “Tu” and its conjugation forms (Portugal and other Portuguese speaking countries also use “tu”), or you can use “você”, which is very common all over Brazil. The same concept applies to greetings. Listen to the audio below to hear formal Portuguese greetings…
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Hello (on the telephone)
How are you?
How are you? / Everything well? (formal)
As you can see there is no distinction in Portuguese between 'good evening' and 'good night.' Portuguese speakers use the same “boa noite” for when they arrive at a place, or meet someone in the evening, and also “boa noite” when they are saying “good bye.” Nowadays it is quite common to use English greetings, like “hi” and “bye bye,” but these are considered to be casual. Listen to the audio below to hear some informal Portuguese greetings…
Bom dia !
Good evening! / Good night!
That’s it for today’s lesson. Using different greetings will make you sound more fluent, so try to remember as many as you can.
If you want more lessons on Portuguese salutations then I recommend that you check out the following:
Tereza Pereira: Rocket Portuguese