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Easy Portuguese Question Words: A 2022 Guide With Examples

Question Words in Portuguese

Are you traveling to Portugal and want to learn a few expressions that might come in handy during your trip? There’s no better way to start than learning the very essentials of the Portuguese language. That’s why I’ve put together this article where I will teach you how to use Portuguese question words and when to use them, along with many examples that you can actually memorize and use yourself!

I can not count with the fingers on my hands the number of times I’ve seen tourists in Portugal trying to ask something in English and having some trouble getting the message across. In Portugal, the English language is broadly spoken, but it is very common, especially in smaller places and outside the big cities, to be faced with someone that doesn’t speak English. I usually end up acting as a translator and helping them convey the message to the lovely lady at the bakery that they simply want 2 ham and cheese sandwiches for breakfast.

To avoid problems of miscommunication, wrong orderings, or simply not being able to ask somebody for something, your best bet is to learn some really basic and super easy questions in Portuguese that I can guarantee will be used by you and will make your experience in the beautiful country that I happily call home, much easier and smoother.

I’m going to teach you the basic words to be used in questions, along with several examples that will be very helpful to understand not only the meaning but how these words are used in everyday conversations.

women greeting at a Bakery

Portuguese Question Words You Must Know

First of all, how do you say the word question in Portuguese? That’s a good pergunta (question)! Ups! I told you way too soon, and you didn’t even have time to think about it! Anyway, whenever you want to ask someone a question, it is usually polite and respectful first to ask if you can ask someone a question or if you can bother them just for a couple of minutes. This is how you do it:

Olá, posso-lhe fazer uma pergunta? – Hi, can I ask you a question?

Or,

Bom dia, posso incomodá-la por apenas dois minutos? – Good morning, can I bother you for just two minutes?

Starting with this, you can then assess the other person’s response and whether they are open for you to continue with your questions.

So, what are the most important words you can learn to make questions in Portuguese? Let’s learn them!

Finally, in Portuguese, the w-words used to start a question are said using a ^ symbol if they are used alone in a sentence, while if they are used with other words, they lose this small symbol. For example, the word why, or porquê, has a symbol when used alone but is written porque if used with other words, such as “why are you here” which translates to porque estás aqui.

This also applies to the word How which is not a w-word but is used to form questions.

Who in Portuguese

Who?

A friend tells you that your other friend met a girl; what is your first response? Quem? (Who?). Here are some examples of questions using this word.

EnglishPortuguesePronunciation
Who?Quem?
Who did that?Quem fez isso?
Who are you?Quem és tu?
Who is there?Quem está aí?

Where?

This is one of the most common words we use, especially while traveling. If you want to ask for directions, you’ll probably end up asking Onde to someone on the street.

EnglishPortuguesePronunciation
Where?Onde?
Where are you going?Onde vais?
Where is that?Onde fica isso?
Where is the hospital?Onde é o hospital?
Where is the nearest cafe?Onde é o café mais próximo?
Where did you get that?Onde arranjaste isso?
why in portuguese

Why?

Why should you learn Portuguese? Because it is one of the most beautiful languages in the world, that’s porquê!

EnglishPortuguesePronunciation
Why?Porquê?
Why did you do that?Porque fizeste isso?
Why is it closed?Porque está fechado?
Why did you come at this time?Porque vieste a esta hora?
Why are you going that way?Porque vais nessa direção?
Why is it broken?Porque está partido?

When?

Want to know how to ask someone when the next train is coming? Well, then, the word Quando is the word you should memorize.

EnglishPortuguesePronunciation
When?Quando?
When did you arrive?Quando chegaste?
When are you leaving?Quando vais embora?
When will you arrive?Quando chegas?
When is the next train?Quando é o próximo comboio?
When do you close?Quando fecha?
When is it?Quando é isso?

What?

Another useful word to form questions in Portuguese is actually a conjunction of two different words. In Portuguese, the word “What” is translated to O quê.

EnglishPortuguesePronunciation
What?O quê?
What did you do?O que fizeste?
What is that?O que é isso?
What is it made of?De que é feito?
What do you want?O que queres?
What did you say?O que disseste?
What time is it?Que horas são?
What are you talking about?Do que estás a falar?
What day is today?Que dia é hoje?

How?

The last word is not a w-word but is also used to form questions in Portuguese. The word como (how) also means “I eat,” so be careful in how and in which context you use it.

EnglishPortuguesePronunciation
How?Como?
How are you?Como estás?
How do you do it?Como fez?
How much is it?Quanto custa?
How did you get here?Como chegaste aqui?
How old are you?Quantos anos você tem?
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Portuguese is such a musical and beautiful language, isn’t it? Not just because I’m Portuguese but because of some kind of musicality in how this language is formed. I bet you love it as much as I do, so why not learn a bit more about it? If you don’t like it, maybe you should give it another chance, I bet you’ll end up in love with it! 

Either way, I have a perfect tool if you want to learn more about how to speak Portuguese. It is called Ling app and is the perfect language learning app that will help you speak over 60 languages from all across the world, including Portuguese.

With this application, you can learn at your own pace through games and puzzles that make the process of learning a new language a fun and engaging journey! You can be studying Portuguese while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or peacefully at home!

Sounds good? That’s what I wanted to hear. Download the app, and let’s learn Portuguese together!

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