Portuguese Question Words

portuguese question words: palavras interrogativas - o que, onde, qual, porque, quem, como, quanto custa, cadê

Hey! Today’s Portuguese lesson will be about Portuguese Question Words. Do you know what these words indicate? Yes! They are important because they indicate to the listener that the sentence is interrogative. So, let’s take a look at the question words in Portuguese! You can listen to their pronunciation, check out examples with them and read real-life dialogues. Also, you will see how these words behave when attached to prepositions, and finally, you will have some exercises to practice! Let’s have fun and learn Portuguese!

Learn the Question Words in Portuguese

O que?What?
Por que?Why?
Quanto / Quanta / Quantos / Quantas?How many?
Qual / Quais?Which?
Quanto custa?How much?
Cadê?Where? (informal)

If you want to better understand how you can use these words in useful sentences, you can check out our Dica about questions in Portuguese. This Dica will for sure help you with formulating questions!

Examples of Question Words in Portuguese

O que você disse? Não entendi, pode repetir?
What did you say? I didn’t understand, can you repeat? 

Onde você estuda Português no Brasil? 
Where do you study Portuguese in Brazil? 

Quando você vai pegar seu visto de estudante pro Brasil?
 are you getting your student visa for Brazil?

Quem é seu cantor favorito?
is your favorite singer?

Por que você não me esperou?
Why didn’t you wait for me?

Como você aprendeu Português em 30 dias?
How did you learn Portuguese in 30 days?

Quantas cidades do Brasil você conhece?
How many cities have you visited in Brasil?

Qual é a sua cidade favorita?
Which city is your favorite?

Quanto custa uma passagem para Salvador?
How much does a ticket to Salvador cost? 

Examples of Question Words in Dialogues

students having fun at feira de são cristóvão: onde será que eles estão? - example using portuguese question words

Now, take a look at these two dialogues using the question words in Portuguese we have just learned:

Dialogue 1

Carlos: Olá, João. Como vai?
João: Vou bem, Carlos. E você?
Carlos: Estou bem também. Obrigado.
João: O que você está fazendo?
Carlos: Estou apenas andando um pouco para passar o tempo.
João: Uau! Que tênis bacana você tem! Quanto custou, Carlos?
Carlos: Ah! Custou muito barato. Uns R$ 120,00.
João: R$ 120,00?!
Carlos: Sim. Isso mesmo.
João: Qual é o nome da loja que vende esses tênis?
Carlos: É a loja Pés Felizes. Fica no centro.
João: Vou lá agora mesmo. Obrigado, Carlos.
Carlos: De nada, João!

Translation of Dialogue 1

Carlos: Hello João, how are you?
João: I am fine, Carlos. And you?
Carlos: I am fine too. Thanks.
João: What are you doing?
Carlos: I am just taking a little walk to spend some time.
João: Wow! What nice sneakers you have! How much were they, Carlos?
Carlos: Ah! They were very cheap. About R$ 120,00.
João: R$ 120,00?!?!?!
Carlos: Yes. That’s right.
João: What’s the name of the store that sells these?
Carlos: It’s the ‘Pés felizes’ store. It’s downtown.
João: I am going there right now. Thank you, Carlos.
Carlos: You’re welcome, João!

Dialogue 2

AnaQuem é aquela mulher?
Paulo: Ela é Ivete Sangalo, uma grande cantora baiana.
Ana: Que legal! Por que ela está aqui?
Paulo: Ela vai fazer um show na cidade.
Ana: Sério? Quando?
Paulo: Acho que vai ser no sábado.
Paulo: Se não estou errado vai ser na casa de show
Ao vivo.
Ana: Uau! Que bom! Perto da minha casa. Eu vou.
Paulo: Legal. Eu também.
Ana: Então a gente se vê lá. Tchau!
Paulo: Tchau!

Translation of Dialogue 2

Ana: Who is that woman?
Paulo: She is Ivete Sangalo, a great singer from Bahia.
Ana: Nice! Why is she here?
Paulo: She is going to do a concert in the city.
Ana: Really? When?
Paulo: I think it is going to be next Saturday.
Ana: Where?
Paulo: If I am not mistaken, it’s going to be at the Ao vivo concert hall.
Ana: Wow! That’s perfect! Close to my house. I will be there.
Paulo: Good. Me too.
Ana: So, we’ll see each other there. Bye bye!
Paulo: Bye!

Question Words in Portuguese + Preposition

In Portuguese, sometimes we use the question words paired with prepositions. It’s important to notice that in Portuguese, the prepositions come first in this case, rather than after as in many languages such as English. We also need to keep in mind that these overlap with the question words themselves!

de que?, em que?, para que?about what, what about, what for
com quem?, de quem?, em quem?, para quem?with whom, whose, in whom, to whom
de onde?, para onde?from where, to where

Let’s take a look at some examples using this structure:

De quem você é filho?
Whose son are you?

Para que você está estudando?
What are you studying for?

Com quem você vai ao trabalho?
Who do you go to work with?

De onde ela vem?
Where is she  from?

If you want to study this a bit more, you can take a look at our other Dica about portuguese pronouns!

É que é Redundancy

The informal Portuguese has a redundant and completely unnecessary phrase that is highly used in the spoken language. Many Brazilians use this structure everyday, but don’t even notice it. At first, it might look kind of weird, but check it out:

Quem é que é seu filho?
Who is your son?

There is no correct way to translate this structure, since it’s highly colloquial. Check out other examples on how we use it:

Como é que é?

Quando é que é que a gente vai?
When are we going?

Exercise Using Portuguese Question Words

Match the questions below with their appropriate answers:

(1) O que você faz?(   ) Um carro custa em média 40 mil.
(2) Onde você mora?(   ) Eu leio 8 livros por ano.
(3) Quando é o seu aniversário?(   ) Eu sou escritora.
(4) Quem é sua cantora preferida?(   ) Eu moro na Travessa do Pepê, número 77.
(5) Por que você quer aprender Português?(   ) No dia 6 de Junho.
(6) Como você vai para a escola?(   ) Minha cantora preferida é a Anitta.
(7) Quantos livros você lê por ano?(   ) Eu vou de metrô.
(8) Qual é o seu endereço?(   ) Eu moro no Rio de Janeiro.
(9) Quanto custa um carro popular no Brasil?(   ) Está na mesa.
(10) Cadê meu estojo?(   ) Porque minha namorada é Brasileira.

Check out the answers at the end of this Dica. And that’s all! Today, we studied the use of question words in Portuguese and how to pronounce them correctly. Do you have any questions for us? Drop by at our school and ask them! 

See you! Hugs from Brazil!

Click in the links below to see more related Dicas
Questions in Portuguese
Porque in Portuguese
Tag Questions in Portuguese
Use of Por que não? in Portuguese


( 9 ) Um carro custa em média 40 mil.
( 7 ) Eu leio 8 livros por ano.
( 1 ) Eu sou escritora.
( 8 ) Eu moro na Travessa do Pepê, número 77.
( 3 ) No dia 6 de Junho.
( 4 ) Minha cantora preferida é a Anitta.
( 6 ) Eu vou de metrô.
( 2 ) Eu moro no Rio de Janeiro.
( 10 ) Está na mesa.
( 5 ) Porque minha namorada é Brasileira.

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

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