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Proper Etiquette for Greetings and Signing Letters and E-mails in Portuguese Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Customs, Spelling, Vocabulary

Oftentimes my friends and I discuss what the proper usage is for greetings and signing off professional e-mails. I work with a lot of internal colleagues and clients alike from all sorts of different fields, and it’s been tough to come to a conclusion as to what’s proper or not, but I think this will serve as a pretty good guide, just in case you’re planning on doing business in Brazil!

For Formal Business/Government Letters: 

Greetings – 

Prezado Senhor/a (nome): 

Estimado Senhor/a (nome):

If you don’t know the person’s name, “Prezado Senhor/a,” or “Estimado/a,” both work.

Also, if it’s more than one person, adding simply “Srs” or “Senhores” to the end of the greeting can work as well.

Ex. “Prezados Senhores:” 

After greeting them, you might want to follow with what it is you are getting at with the letter.

A good introduction is:

Venho através desta para… – Literally, “I come through this for…” But what it means is “I am writing this letter to…”

Sign-offs – 

Atenciosamente, 

Grato, 

Cordialmente, 

A “thank you” before signing off is always nice too…

Ex. Agradeço-lhe a atenção. 

Formal e-mails usually follow the same lines, only things tend to be abbreviated.

Formal E-Mails

Greetings – 

Caro, 

Prezado Sr/a.,  

Sign-offs – 

Atenciosamente (or Att.), 

Grato/a, 

Informal E-mails/Letters

I’m personally a big fan of hugs and kisses and smiley faces all around, but I have to be careful as to not send hugs to a client on a first contact. I will usually use one of the greetings above, or simply the person’s name for an informal e-mail. Another greeting can be a simple “Oi (nome)!” (ok, I may have added the exclamation point as something only I do…)

Sign-offs

If it’s an informal e-mail to a client or coworker, Att works just fine.

If you’re more friendly with your client or coworker, or if it’s a good friend, Abraços, is a good sign-off. Especially in Brazil where hugs are welcomed 🙂

Since I’m even more Brazilian, I will often end e-mails with Beijos, the same way I would end an informal e-mail to a friend in the US with “Love,”. Just be careful if you’re sending this to a coworker of the opposite sex. They might not take it as friendly as you mean for it to be!

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Comments:

  1. Cecilie:

    Hello Polyana,

    I come from a very informal culture and find this part very tricky. If a man (Portuguese) writes to a woman and signs his e-mail it “Calorosas saudações” . What level of formality/informality would you say this implies?

    Love your blog!

    Cecilie

  2. polyana:

    Hi Cecilie!

    In Brazil that would be considered VERY formal – I’m not too sure about Portugal though? It probably is still pretty formal though! You might want to reply with “atensiosamente” as it’s sort of “in between” super formal and informal 🙂

  3. Cecilie:

    Thank you very much, Polyana! It seems not to be very common. I didn’t find many examples and no real explanation – that I could comprehend anyway. 🙂 Thank you so much for your suggestion as well.

  4. S.R.:

    Just a little correction with
    “Prezado Senhor/a (nome)”
    should be
    “Prezado/a Senhor/a (nome): “

  5. terry:

    I have received an email from a female in Portugal. She ended the email with ‘Jinhos’. I cannot find a translation on the Web could you tell me what this word means and what is its level of formality?

    Thank you

  6. G:

    You wrote “atenciosamente” wrong. Teaching bad portuguese.