Despite being the most common form of “you” in Brazil, você itself isn’t as common in Portugal, as many people consider it a bit too harsh or direct. Instead, there are many ways to say você, without actually saying você.

Very formal:

- Replace it with o senhor (male) / a senhora (female)

- e.g. A senhora quer café? - Do you want coffee (ma'am)?

Friendly, but not too casual:

- Use the person’s first name, if you know it.

- e.g. O João quer café? - Do you (João) want coffee?


- When in doubt, just omit the pronoun entirely

- e.g. Quer café? - Do you want coffee?

- This is polite, without being overly formal or direct.

Speaking to multiple people:

- In the past: vós was used in informal settings and vocês in formal settings.

- Nowadays: vocês is generally used for both (vós is still used in some areas in the North)

- Or, you can say os senhores e as senhoras (ladies and gentlemen), if you want to be very formal.

Learn more about these social nuances and get a handy tu vs. você flowchart at