The Mystery of Você in Portuguese
Lisbon or Rio? Maputo or São Paulo? It’s surprising how where you are makes all the difference when speaking Portuguese. The word “you”! Something that should be so simple, somehow turns out to be complicated. Why is this language like this, again? What the hell is the difference between tu and você in Portuguese? It’s tricky because the direct translation of both tu and você from Portuguese to English is the same: “you.” But it’s okay! Relax! Today we’re going to talk about você in Portuguese. We’ll also tell you where you’ll hear it more often, as well as where and how you’ll hear tu in Portuguese. So get a hold of your world and Brazil map, and let’s go!
Difference Between Tu and Você in Portuguese
Much like most other European languages, such as Spanish or French, Portuguese has two different second person singular pronouns: você (formal) and tu (informal). As it spread around the globe, however, the language began to change in each region it entered. In Brazil, for example, tu fell into disuse in most of the country, and você became the standard.
But wait a second, does that mean that Brazilians are always formal with each other? No, of course not! If a carioca cannot even wear proper shoes instead of havaianas to go to the supermarket, do you really think we would bother being formal? Você‘s meaning in Portuguese simply lost its formal tones, and it began to be used to address everybody, regardless of social hierarchy.
Examples of Você in Portuguese
Como você se chama?
What is your name?
Você sabe onde estão os meus óculos?
Do you know where my glasses are?
Você sempre dorme muito cedo!
You always sleep very early!
Você comeu um PF e ainda tá com fome? Que isso!
You ate a pile of food and you’re still hungry? What even!
Do We Only Use Você in Portuguese?
Here comes the confusing part! We do actually use tu in Portuguese! However, it is used differently according to the region. Outside of Brazil, in the rest of the Portuguese-speaking world, for example, the difference between tu and você still holds, and both are still used with their original connotation. That is, você is formal and tu is informal. Other countries even have an extra pronoun: vós. That actually means they need to use two extra verb conjugations: one for tu and one for vós!
Are you curious about this new conjugation you’ve never heard of? Well, here it is — this is the correct conjugation of some verbs for tu and você in Portuguese:
Tu vs Você in Brazil
Still, Brazilians are not exempt from using tu. In Rio Grande do Sul people like to refer to others with the pronoun tu. There you will probably hear people conjugating verbs in two forms: the correct grammatical form, and an incorrect form using the third singular person (the same conjugation as você in Portuguese). It depends from person to person. In fact, when conjugated incorrectly, even cariocas are fine using tu informally. Check out some examples in this video made by some Portuguese teachers and students from Rio & Learn:
Examples of Tu in Portuguese
Tu tá maluco? Quase me matou do coração!
Are you crazy? You almost gave me a heart attack!
Tu tá quieto, cara. Tá tudo bem?
You‘re quiet, man. Are you alright?
Tu viu a treta no BBB ontem?
Did you see the fight on Big Brother Brazil yesterday?
Tu nunca sequer comeu paçoca, e quer falar que é ruim?
You‘ve never even eaten paçoca, and you want to say it’s bad?
Now it’s your turn!
Rewrite the sentences to say them as most Brazilians would (with você or the “incorrect” conjugation of tu)!
- Tu bebes muita caipirinha no fim de semana.
- Tu és moçambicano e tu moras em Maputo.
- Tu tens vontade de aprender português no Brasil?
- Tu estás cansado depois de trabalhar tanto.
- Tu sabes onde fica o banheiro?
- Tu gostas de praticar esportes.
- Tu vais na RioLIVE de amanhã?
- Tu fazes amigos muito facilmente.
- Tu dormes cedo demais.
- Tu falas espanhol, inglês, francês e tu ainda aprendes português online!
- Você/tu bebe muita caipirinha no fim de semana.
- Você/tu é moçambicano e você/tu mora em Maputo.
- Você/tu tem vontade de aprender português no Brasil?
- Você/tu está cansado depois de trabalhar tanto.
- Você/tu sabe onde fica o banheiro?
- Você/tu gosta de praticar esportes.
- Você/tu vai na RioLIVE de amanhã?
- Você/tu faz amigos muito facilmente.
- Você/tu dorme cedo demais.
- Você/tu fala espanhol, inglês, francês e você/tu ainda aprende português online!