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More on Greetings

In Vocabulary Builder 2 you saw the sentence: Você fala inglês (You speak English). You can make this sentence formal and masculine: O senhor fala inglês, or formal and feminine: A senhora fala inglês.

Placing the masculine senhor or the feminine senhora before a person’s last name has the same function as the English Mr. or Mrs./Ms., although it is perceived the highest level of formality in Brazil. In writing, use the abbreviated form, Sr. (Mr.); or Sra. (Mrs./Ms.).

In Brazil, it is common practice to also use a person’s first name with senhor or senhora in formal situations. Senhor can be abbreviated to Seu as in Seu Agenor while Senhora can also be realized as Dona such as Dona Maria.

Você fala português, Paulo?
Do you speak Portuguese, Paul?

O senhor fala português, Sr. Paulo?
Do you speak Portuguese, Mr. Paul?

Very formal:
O senhor fala português, Sr. Smith?
Do you speak Portuguese, Mr. Smith?

Here are some more formal and informal greetings and essential expressions.

How’s everything? Tudo certo?
See you later. Até mais tarde.
Come in, please. Entre, por favor.
Thank you very much. (fml./m.) Muito obrigado.
Thank you very much. (fml/f.) Muito obrigada.
Don’t mention it. Não há de que.
Please (infml) Faça o favor.
Do me a favor. Faça-me um favor.
Can you help me? Você pode me ajudar?
Could you help me? (fml./m.) O senhor poderia me ajudar?
Could you help me? (fml./f.) A senhora poderia me ajudar?
Help! Socorro!

Note the difference between Você pode me ajudar? (Can you help me?), which is used to ask for a favor, and Socorro! (Help!), which is used in an emergency.

Also notice the difference between faça-me um favor (do me a favor) when asking for favors, and faça o favor which is an informal expression used to soften requests or commands.

Abra a janela, faça o favor.
Open the window, will you?