In this post, we will see 6 ways of saying How are you? in Brazilian Portuguese, and we will have a look at some pronunciation tips to make you sound more natural and confident when greeting someone.
In my other post How to say ‘hello’ in Brazilian Portuguese, we saw that oi is the most common way of saying ‘hello’ and that most Brazilians will almost always ask the question Tudo bem? (‘All well?’) after oi, which is not strictly speaking a translation of how are you? in Brazilian Portuguese, but it serves the same purpose. But, there are other ways of saying ‘All right?’ – let’s see them below.
In my other post How to say ‘hello’ in Brazilian Portuguese, we saw that oi is the most common way of saying ‘hello’ and that most Brazilians will almost always ask the question Tudo bem? (‘All well?’) after oi, which is not strictly speaking a translation of how are you? in Brazilian Portuguese, but it serves the same purpose. But, there are other ways of saying ‘All right?’ – let’s seem them below.
Alternatives to Tudo bem?
Although Tudo bem? is probably the most common way of asking how are you? in Brazilian Portuguese, there are certainly some other popular alternatives.
1. Tudo bom?
Tudo bom literally means ‘All good?’ – It is perhaps slightly less common than Tudo bem? but still quite popular.
Both Tudo bem? and Tudo bom? are neutral, therefore you can use them to greet anyone, regardless of their age, social position or how well you know them. In more formal situations, or if you’re greeting an older person, you can say Bom dia (Good morning), Boa tarde (Good afternoon) or Boa Noite (Good evening – also Good night, when taking leave) instead of oi.
Let’s hear some combinations:
Oi. Tudo bem?
Bom dia. Tudo bom?
Boa tarde. Tudo bem?
Boa noite. Tudo bom?
- Sounds em (bem) and om (bom) – a vowel is nasal when followed by -m or -n within the same syllable, pronounced a bit like the ‘ng’ as in ‘sing‘. A common mistake is for learners to over-pronounce the -m at the end.
This is what you should aim for:
- the d is normally pronounced like a j as in ‘jeans’ when followed by -i: or -e
- the t, when followed by -e at the end of a word is pronounced like tch as in ‘child’
2. Tudo joia?
The word joia literally means ‘jewel’, but here it’s used as a slang for ‘good’, ‘great”.
3. Tudo legal?
The word legal literally means ‘legal, lawful’ (see my YouTube video: “Brazilian Portuguese Expressions are super legal!”), but here it’s used as slang for ‘cool’: “All cool?”.
4. Tudo beleza?
The word beleza literally means ‘beauty’, but here it’s used as a slang for ‘good’, ‘great’.
These three expressions above are more informal, and consequently should be best used amongst friends, and avoided in more formal situations.
Now let’s see the more literal way to ask How are you? in Brazilian Portuguese:
5. Como você está? (or Como está você?)
The verb used here is the verb estar (the verb to be used for temporary conditions). You might also hear the short form of você when preceding the verb: cê. And the verb estar shortened to just tá.
– Como cê tá?
Sometimes the expression é que after como is added:
– Como é que você tá?
Lit: How is it that you are? For those familiar with French this is the equivalent of ‘est-ce que’.
But it really makes no difference if you say – Como você tá? or – Como é que você tá?
6. Como você vai? (or Como vai você)?
Here we have the verb ir to go, conjugated in the third person, which would be more or less the equivalent of ‘How’s it going?’ And sometimes Brazilians also leave out você:
– Como vai?
In all these expressions you can substitute você with o senhor or a senhora, if you want to sound a bit more formal; if you’re talking to an older gentleman or an older lady, or if you want to show respect (in a business situation, for example).
– Como o senhor está?
– Como a senhora vai?
7. E aí?
We saw that all the expressions with Tudo…? (Tudo bem?, Tudo legal, etc.) and the more direct ways of actually asking How are you? in Brazilian Portuguese (Como você está?, Como você vai, and their variations) are normally said after oi (or olá, bom dia, boa tarde or boa noite), but similarly they might be said after another commonly used expression in Brazil: E aí?, which literally translates as And there? but it’s really the equivalent of saying Hi there! or What’s up? , which, again, is normally followed by one of the ways we’ve already seen of how to say How are you? in Brazilian Portuguese.
– E aí? Como vai? Hi there, how are you?
– E aí? Tudo bem? Hi there, all well?
So now you know the different ways of saying hello and how are you? in Brazilian Portuguese – from informal to more formal situations. If you have already started learning Brazilian Portuguese, which ones do you tend to use more often? And if you live in Brazil or have Brazilian friends outside Brazil, which ones do you tend to hear Brazilians say more often? Let me know in the comments.
The expressions I listed above are common in everyday conversation regardless of where you are in Brazil, but there are some local/regional variations as well other ways, depending on the region – do you know any others that I haven’t listed here? Let me know in the comments!