If you are here, you probably want to say I love you in Portuguese to a Brazilian.
They might be your family member, your significant other, or even your friend.
Well, you can take it from me that expressing your love in Brazilian Portuguese is nothing like anything you’ve learned before.
I, for one, have an American friend who says “I love it” far too often. Although I understand this is a cultural thing, abusing this expression in Portuguese might make you seem insincere.
In this article, you’re going to see a few important and interesting facts about Brazilians and love that are sure to baffle you.
How to Say I Love You in Portuguese
Right off the bat, I love you in Portuguese is “eu te amo”.
And that’s what you would say to your significant other or your suitor.
Why do we know that? Because you use the pronoun “te”.
But that varies according to the place you are in. In Brazil, we use the pronouns for tu and você (as you can see in this article) and we don’t care about being coherent and using them.
But you can use either that variant or the stronger pronoun, você.
- Eu te amo. I love you.
- Eu amo você. I love you.
- Eu o amo. I love you/him.
- Eu a amo. I love you/her.
- Eu também te amo. I love you too.
- Eu amo ele. I love him. (alternative to 3)
- Eu amo ela. I love her. (alternative to 4)
You’ve seen in examples three and four that the correct object pronoun is being used (and here you can know more about these pronouns).
You might see that in writing — especially if it’s old literature — but we’d never say that.
It’s just too cumbersome to make that little vowel stand out when speaking fast.
And (7) might make your friends snicker. It sounds like “moela” (gizzard).
Go a Bit Farther — I Love You so Much in Portuguese
Although we have some verbs that express different degrees of feeling, we prefer using adverbs to show how much we love someone.
- Eu te amo tanto. I love you so much.
- Estou apaixonado por você. I’m in love with you.
And just see that we don’t say “I’m in love”. We say I’m passionate about you. And because this is a temporary state — it might last, it might fade — we use the verb “estar”.
In a moment, you’ll see that we also employ the verb ser in this case.
And How Do You Say Love in Portuguese?
- O amor. The love.
And if you have a notebook, write this word down.
Lots of nouns and adjectives derive from it. Sees the chance to improve your vocabulary with one single word.
- Amar.To love.
- Amado, amada.
- Querido, querida.
- Amatório. Amatory.
- Amante. Lover
And be careful when you use the word for lover (amante) in Portuguese.
If you tell Aunt Ida that someone is your amante, your aunt will think you’re having an extramarital affair.
“Not Loving but Liking.”
I think many people have lived through this: you declare your love for someone and they just answer “I like you… As a friend.”
And as you see, liking doesn’t imply any sexual or romantic interest.
It’s just old-fashioned friendship.
- Eu gosto de você. I like you.
- Eu gosto de ti. I like you. (More intimate).
- Eu gosto muito de você. I like you very much.
- Eu gosto de você muitão. I like you a great deal. (informal)
As I said when I was starting this article, I have a friend who says “I love it” so often I feel annoyed.
But it’s not my friend’s problem. It’s me.
In Brazil, we reserve the word “amor” for serious feelings we nurture about someone.
If one my friends said “eu amo esse smoothie” I would ask them what’s the problem with them.
But if they said “Adoro esse smoothie” I would understand they just like it.
- Eu adoro ele/ela. I love him. (The American English “love”).
- Eu o/a adoro. I love him. (The American English “love”).
You see in the examples 1 and 2 that pronouns have been used differently.
When talking to your friends, use 1.
When writing — and only if you want to show off your Portuguese prowess — use 2.
Other Ways to Express Liking, Intense Liking, and Enthusiasm
Remember when I said above that “I am passionate about you” would employ “estar”?
Now, if you’re telling Ricardo and Maria about your love for radical sports, you would say:
- Adoro hambúrguer com batata frita. I love hamburger with fries.
- Eu sou apaixonado por esportes radicais. I’m crazy about radical sports.
- Eu gosto de hambúrguer com batata frita. I like hamburger with fries.
- A Joana é entusiasta da comida chinesa. Joanna is a Chinese food enthusiast.
Expressions Related to Love in Portuguese and Some Needed Back Story
In Brazil, there is something called “the fifth-grade spirit”.
Imagine the situation.
Two friends bump against each other on the street and one of them says, “oh, it’s so good to see you. I’ve got a bone to pick with you”.
Smirking, your friend would say “I love bones.”
Both of you would giggle and you would say don’t be silly.
Your friend just incorporated “the fifth-grade spirit.”
And Brazilians are known for that spirit.
Expressions Related to Love
So, whenever using one expression related to love, bear in mind that it might have some sexual connotation you didn’t intend in the first place.
- Fazer amor com alguém. To make love with somebody.
- Tomar chá de calcinha. To drink panties tea.
This one deserves expansion.
In Brazil, when you want to win over someone’s heart and love, you resort to everything you can, even spells.
And those spells are known as “simpatias”.
Making tea out of one’s panties — or less commonly male underpants — and having the loved one drink it is known to bind him or her to the panties’ owner.
So, when someone is crazy about someone else in a way with find annoying, we usually ask, você tomou chá de calcinha? Fulano tomou chá de calcinha dela?
- Estar perdidinho(a) por alguém. To be lost in love about someone.
- Estar de quatro por alguém. To be on all fours about someone.
- Estar doido(a) por alguém. To be crazy about someone.
- Ela é meu dengo. She is my darling.
- Ai, que dor de cotovelo. Oh, how jealous I am.
In Brazil, when your elbow hurts, it means you’re jealous. And it’s usually jealousy for someone you can’t have or didn’t want to be with.
- Flertar, paquerar, xavecar. To flirt (respectively “modern”, “slangy”, “old-fashioned”)
- Ricardão. The big Richard — a male lover who calls on married women when their husbands are out working.
- Amor à primeira vista. Love at first sight.
- Tenha um pouco de amor-próprio. Have a bit of self-respect.
- Beijos. Little Kisses. Kisses.
And when writing messages to good friends — usually female friends among themselves and male and female friends — we tend to end our conversation by saying kisses.
Among males, saying kisses would be instantly understood as sexual interest in most cases.
And there’s this funny game people play to find out whether someone loves them or not.
You know, when you pluck the petals off a flower.
- Bem-me-quer, mal-me-quer.
Some Facts about Brazilians and Love
#1 Loucuras de Amor.
I think the best thing about Brazilians and love is that they are shameless.
And I mean it.
In olden times, the male suitor would invite his friends to go to his loved one house. One would bring the guitar, another would play the flute, and the suitor would sing what we call a “serenata”. It’s usually a mellifluous song to show he loves her.
If she showed up in front of the house she would be accepting “the gift”. And they would probably become lovers.
Another thing we have here in Brazil is “Loucura de Amor”.
I chose not to translate it because you have to see so you understand.
And if you still need some quick explanation, here it is:
A man is in love with a woman. He has told her about it, but maybe she isn’t sure and he wants to make it clear.
So, the proper thing to do in this situation is to hire a car with a sound system.
Romantic music is blaring from the car all the while the man is declaring his love for his beloved one.
And then, everyone passing by — people, dogs, cars — stop to watch the situation.
Aren’t we all passionate?
#2 Brazilian love songs are the best
Okay, I’m a bit biased in this regard. But just listen to the following songs and tell me whether you agree with me or not.
Eu Amo Você.
Amor Até o Fim.
Eu Sei que Vou Te Amar.
And any song from the Jovem Guarda.
And of course, if you look for canções de amor brasileiras on Google you’ll find many more.
Brazilian Portuguese Has More Terms of Endearment Than We Can Use
I include just a handful of terms of endearment in Portuguese. Because if you let me, I can come up with more than a hundred terms.
And you’ll see that some of them are very, very weird.
- Meu bem-querer. My loved one.
- Meu bem. My dear.
- Meu docinho (de coco). My sweetie (from coconut sweet)
- Amor > Mor. Love
- Amorzão. Love (but stronger)
- Mô. Love (lazy, I can’t say it all)
- Mozão. Big love (lazy again, sounds like fawning over)
- Vida. Life.
- Pipoquinha. Little popcorn.
- Dona da minha vida. Owner of my life.
- Chuchu. Chayote. (you must be at least 35 y.o. to use this one.)
- Meu anjo. My angel.
And funnily enough, you can also use these terms as an insult — of course, with a different tone of voice. Context is everything.
This article is by no means exhaustive.
In fact, if we chose to, we could talk about love in Portuguese for the rest of our lives.
But we have a life to take care of, right?
So, let’s do it little by little.
And tell me the comments below: what your favorite Portuguese love song, poem, movie, book, story…
Some of my favorite Portuguese love poems can be found here.