Portuguese Language Blog

Offering, accepting and refusing in Portuguese Posted by on Sep 23, 2017 in Brazilian Profile, Culture, Customs, Grammar, Learning, Vocabulary

[Oferecer, aceitar e recusar em Português]

Communicating something at a basic level in a idioma estrangeiro (foreign language) is a great achievement, but the ability to do that in a colloquial manner or not, according to each occasion, is a setp further towards fluency. In case you are, or intend to go, to a Portuguese speaking country, it is very likely that you will find yourself in a situation in which it will be necessary to know how to oferecer (offer), aceitar (accept) or recusar (refuse) something in a educada (polite) or more casual way. Be it at a café, a restaurant, a diner, a friend’s house or a business meeting, these are all different contexts which require various levels of formality. There are infinite ways of doing that in a language, and it is important to know how to tell them apart to use the right language. Therefore, today’s lesson will show you some examples.

“Vou fazer uma oferta que ele não vai recusar”

OFERECER –  offer

ACEITAR – acept

RECUSAR – refuse

Oferecer | to offer

  • Formal: O senhor/a senhora gostaria de _____?  | Would you like _____?
  • Formal: O senhor/a senhora aceita _____? | May I offer you _____?
  • Formal: Você teria interesse em _____? | Would you be interested in _____?
  • Informal: Você quer _____? | Do you want _____?
  • Informal: Que tal _____? | How about  _____?
  • Informal: Você está a fim de _____? | Are you up to _____?
  • Informal: Vamos _____? | Let’s _____?

(um pouco de café, um pouco de chá, mais, algo mais, mais vinho, etctéra) |(some coffee, some tea, some more, anything else, more wine, etc.)

*note: in a formal register, we replace the pronoun você (you) by o senhor/a senhora (masculine and feminine, respectively), a more polite way of address

Aceitar | to accept

  • Formal: Seria ótimo | That would be nice
  • Formal: Sim, eu aceito | Yes, I’d love some
  • Neutro: Sim, por favor | Yes, please
  • Neutro: Claro, obrigada | Sure, thank you
  • Neutro: É uma boa ideia | That’s a good idea
  • Neutro: Parece ótimo | Sounds good!
  • Informal: Sim, vamos | Yes, let’s do it
  • Informal: Pode ser ____ | I’ll have the ____
  • Muito informal: Bora! | Let’s go!

*note: in Portuguese, thank you varies according to gender. Say obrigado if you are a man and obrigada if you are a woman

Recusar | to refuse

  • Formal: Não, obrigado(a) | No, thank you
  • Formal: Não, obrigado(a). Não quero incomodar | No thank you, I don’t want to disturb
  • Formal: Que gentileza. Infelizmente eu ____ | That’s very kind. Unfortunately, I ____
  • Formal: Eu gostaria, porém ____ | I’d like to, but ____
  • Neutro: Estou bem, obrigado(a) | I’m okay/ fine, thank you
  • Neutro: Desculpe, mas não posso | I’m sorry, but I can’t
  • Neutro: Não, mas obrigada por perguntar | No, but thank you for asking
  • Neutro: Obrigada, mas não precisa se preocupar | Thank you, but you don’t need to worry
  • Informal: Obrigada, mas ____ | Thanks, but ____
  • Informal: Não, valeu | No, thanks
  • Informal: Tá tudo bem | That’s alright

Now veja (take a look) at some diálogos and pay attention to the ways of offering, accepting and refusing in each of them:

Em uma festa de aniversário: | At a birthday party

  • Manuela: Você aceita mais um pedaço de bolo? (Would you like another slice of cake?)
  • Gustavo: Ah, não. Tudo bem, obrigada (Oh, no. I’m fine, thanks)
  • Manuela: Vamos lá, pode pegar, ainda tem bastante (Come on, go ahead, there’s a lot left)
  • Gustavo: Eu sei, mas já comi muito (I know, but I’ve already had to much)
  • Manuela: Hm, então que tal mais refrigerante? (Well, maybe some more soda, then?)
  • Gustavo: Então tá. Aceito um pouco sim (Okay then, I’d like some)

Na faculdade | At the university

  • Jane: Ei, gente. Vou dar uma festa lá em casa no sábado. Querem ir? (Hey guys. I’m having a party on Saturday at my place. Do you want to come?)
  • Gabriel: Obrigado pelo convite, Jane, mas estou ocupado no sábado (Thanks for the invitation, Jane, but I’m busy on Saturday)
  • Pedro: Parece legal, estarei lá! (Sounds cool, I’ll be there!)
  • Jane: E você, Jéssica, está livre? (How about you, Jéssica, are you free?)
  • Jéssica: Sure, I can make it! (Claro, posso ir)
  • Jane: Ótimo! Tenho que ir porque estou atrasada para aula, encontro vocês lá! (Great! I have to go because I’m late for class, see you there!)

Em um restaurante | At a restaurant

  • Garçom: Boa noite. Gostaria de ver o cardápio? (Good evening. Would you like to see the menu?)
  • Gregório: Sim, por favor (Yes, please)
  • Garçom: Um momento, senhor (In a minute, sir)
  • Garçom: Aqui está (Here it is)
  • Gregório: Obrigado. Queria o ravióli, por favor (Thank you. I would like the ravióli, please)
  • Garçom: Aceita algo para beber? (Can I get you anything to drink?)
  • Gregório: Pode ser vinho tinto, obrigado (Some red wine would be good, thank you)

É isso por hoje! That’s it for today! Até a próxima semana See you next week!

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  1. Andre:

    I’m just returning from Brazil and I was able to successfully shake hands and say “Negócio fechado.” and smile, after paying for my Airbnb stay in Arraial do Cabo. It means “the deal is done” and I picked it up from Portuguese subtitles to a film.

    I was also able to somehow say, “Esse é o melhor preço?” (Is that the best price?) And it worked! Use your judgment.

    “Valeu,” is a tricky one and hard for a foreigner like me to use, you could probably write a whole blog post on that. It’s really enough to know that, informally, people generally like it having said to them at the end of a conversation, like “Thanks!”