Fourth Preliminary Lesson

Lesson Objectives- Objetivas da Lição

  • This lesson presents the intricacies of how to express “you” in Portuguese. Like many other European languages, in Portuguese there exist both formal and informal ways to express “you” according to the degree of formality or familiarity between the speaker and the person being addressed. Usage is complicated and varies regionally.
  • After completing this lesson, the student will be able to recognize and produce forms of “you” in different contexts.

To express “you” in Brazilian Portuguese:

1. In Brazil the word você  is the one most widely used among friends, among family members, by older persons when speaking to younger ones, by those in higher positions speaking to their subordinates. The word você , (a corruption of Vossa Mercê , or “your grace”) and the plural vocês, is a third person pronoun.

2. The more formal manner of saying “you” is o senhor (masculine) and a senhora (feminine) and their respective plural forms (os senhores/as senhoras). This expression is used when addressing a person older than the speaker, one whose position or profession may be ranked higher than the speaker’s, or when speaking to someone recently introduced to the speaker, unless it is a case of two teenagers meeting. It is a sign of courtesy, and the student should be sure to learn and to practice using this mode of address. When introduced to a Brazilian who appears to be older than the speaker, the speaker would be safe in using o senhor or a senhora until told to use você.

3. The word “you” (singular) in Portuguese which denotes greatest familiarity is tu. However, in Brazil its use is limited and often ungrammatical (used with the wrong verb conjugation). Due to this restricted use, this text will not include it or its corresponding plural form (vós) in the various verb conjugations. Such forms will be found in the verb appendix in the back of the book. The student should learn to recognize them. The plural form vós is seldom used except in sermons or flowery orations.

4. In informal conversation, it is common to use dona preceding a married woman’s or older single woman’s first name, and seu preceding an older man’s first name.

The following dialogues illustrate the different usages of “you” in Brazilian Portuguese:

Bom dia, Teresa. [Good morning, Teresa.]
– Bom dia, Paulo. [-Good morning, Paulo.]
Como vai? [How are you?]
– Vou bem, obrigada. E você? [-Fine, thank you. And you?]
Vou bem, obrigado. [Fine, thank you. ]
Boa tarde, dona Cristina. [Good afternoon, dona Cristina.]
– Boa tarde, seu Antônio. [-Good afternoon, seu António.]
Como a senhora tem passado? [How have you been?]
– Muito bem, obrigada, e o senhor [-Fine, thank you, and you?]
Mais ou menos. [So-so.]
Oi, Beto. Tudo bem? [Hi Beto. How are you doing?]
– Tudo certo, Cláudia. Como é que vão as coisas? [-Fine, Cláudia. How is it going?]
Iii, menino, hoje não estou muito bem. [Gosh, things aren’t so good today.]
– Que pena! Sinto muito. [-That’s too bad! I’m sorry.]
Para onde você vai agora? [Where are you going now?]
– Vou para casa. Até amanhã. [-I’m going home. See you tomorrow.]
Até logo! [See you later!]
– Tchau! [-Bye!]



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