The most traditional way to say ‘I love you’ in Brazilian Portuguese is te amo. Like its English translation, it can be used among close friends and as the first definite declaration of the beginning of a serious relationship. A Brazilian may wait to say it or may even say it after a couple of dates – there are no rules. It is simply said when the moment feels right; hiding love-fuelled emotions doesn’t register. You can say eu também te amo to say ‘I love you too’.
If it’s still the early stages of a relationship, saying ‘I love you’ may feel too strong. A Brazilian tends not to throw around these three special words and says them when they mean them – no matter how fleeting that love turns out to be. In the case of feeling something more than simply friendship towards someone yet it’s not quite love, you can say eu gosto muito de você, to mean ‘I really like you’. Alternatively, you can say eu gosto tanto de você, which is another way of saying ‘I like you so much’.
To say ‘I adore you’ in Portuguese, you would say te adoro. To say te adoro is not as strong or meaningful as to say te amo so it’s a good expression to use in the early stages of a relationship.
If you want to ask your lover out and turn your love official, you might want to say vai namorar comigo? which means, ‘will you go out with me?’. Namorar is to ‘go out with’, so you are officially a boyfriend or a girlfriend. If you haven’t quite reached the stage of being a couple, yet you are definitely more than just friends, then you are ficando. Ficar is to ‘see someone’ or to ‘date someone casually’. There are several layers to this – you can either ficar com or sem compromiso – the former where you are seeing one person exclusively and the latter is when you are seeing someone without any commitment.
When it’s the stage of a relationship where love becomes all-consuming and the butterflies in the tummy become a daily part of life, Brazilians say, estou apaixonado por você to say ‘I’m falling in love with you’ or ‘I’m in love with you’. If your feelings are even stronger and you’re feeling truly crazy in love, then you can say estou perdidamente (or completamente) apaixonado por você, which translates to ‘I’m falling (or I am) head over heels in love with you’.
Brazilians are often incredibly romantic and have a selection of wonderful phrases that can make you feel like the centre of the world. After some time in a truly committed relationship, you may start to see your partner as your significant half, someone that makes you feel whole. For these moments, the Brazilian Portuguese language has a beautiful expression that sums it up perfectly – você me completa to say ‘you make me feel complete’.
Another romantic expression for a more serious relationship is você é o mundo para mim, which means ‘you are my world’. It is usually saved for a serious relationship and serves to show just how important the significant other is to the person who declares this heartfelt statement.
When two lovers are apart and are working through a distance-relationship, the Brazilian Portuguese language has the perfect expression that captures that pain and anxiety of being far away from loved ones. Rather than simply saying ‘I miss you’, Brazilians say tenho saudades de você or simply, saudades de você. The weight of the words is hard to translate into English but it means ‘I miss you’ yet with feelings of longing like you really feel a heavy heart knowing that your loved one is far away.
When you feel that someone is the most important person or aspect of your life, in Brazilian Portuguese you can say você é tudo pra mim which translates to ‘you are everything to me’. It’s the perfect expression to use on Valentine’s Day – or Dias dos Namorados (Boyfriend and Girlfriend Day) in Brazil – or for Brazilians, any moment when the feelings of passion, love and desire become overpowering.
When you’re truly in love, you’ve found the one and there is no-one else that you would want to be with, then you can call this person o amor da minha vida, or ‘the love of my life’. Although not often used in the early stages of getting to know someone, it’s certainly acceptable when the relationship gets serious. In long-term relationships, it is regularly used as a pet name for a loved one in Brazilian Portuguese.
Querido, docinho and amorzinho are affectionate pet names for a loved one in Portuguese. Querido(a) roughly translates to sweetheart or dear. Docinho translates to ‘little sweet’ which would have the meaning of ‘cutie’. Amorzinho translates to ‘little love’ but the ‘little’ part is a sign of affection rather than intensity of the love.
That feeling of love can be utterly consuming and makes us think of little else except the person we are falling for. If you want to tell your Brazilian lover just how much they are on your mind, tell them não consigo parar de pensar em você, which translates to ‘I can’t stop thinking about you’.