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.
- 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 www.PracticePortuguese.com/AnswerKey