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Did you notice that the word obrigado/a (thank you) has two different endings? In Portuguese, nouns and adjectives have gender—meaning they can be masculine or feminine and can agree with what they are referring to. Just keep this in mind for now; you’ll learn more about this in Lesson Two.

When asking How are you?, Portuguese uses the pronoun você (you) when speaking to both males and females. It’s also used to address people informally, like family and friends. If you want to make speech more formal, replace the pronoun você (you) with the term o senhor (sir) or a senhora (ma’am) based on the gender of the person you are addressing.

Take a look at these examples:

How are you? Como vai você? (infml.)
Como vai o senhor? (fml./m.)
Como vai a senhora? (fml./f.)
I’m fine, and you? Tudo bem, e você? (infml.)
Estou bem, e o senhor? (fml./m.)
Estou bem, e a senhora? (fml./f.)