Greetings are an essential and basic part of learning any language, and are often used as a starting point for language teaching. Knowing the basic word for hello in Portuguese is an good start, but just like in English, there are various different greetings. Knowing how to use these properly will help you make a better first impression. This is an area where practicing with a tutor can definitely pay off. Below are a few different ways of saying hello in Portuguese to get you started.
Olá: The basic, “standard” way of saying hello in Portuguese. Appropriate in any situation.
Oi: A more informal greeting used for friends and family, the equivalent of “hi.”
Bom dia: Good morning (literally “good day”).
Boa tarde: Good afternoon. Normally used between midday and 6 p.m.
Boa noite: Good evening or goodnight. There is no word for “evening” in Portuguese, so in a situation where, if you were speaking English, you’d say “good evening,” use this.
Tudo bem: Idiomatically translates as “how’s it going?” Usually prefaced with oi or olá, as in oi, tudo bem? (Hi, how’s it going?)
E aí: Similar to the above–this is used as a more casual variant of tudo bem, as in e aí, mano? (What’s up, dude?)
These greetings will get you through most situations. However, knowing how to say hello in Portuguese is not particularly useful if you don’t know what to say next! By learning with a tutor, you can become fluent in Portuguese, and saying hello will only be the start of your journey.