Portuguese Basics: Lesson 2

The Portuguese word for mister (Mr.) is senhor.

That h after n makes a j sounds like y in yet. You, of course, know this word already. The Spanish use a word which sounds almost the same as well.

However, the Portuguese almost never say simply mister. They always say the mister.

The word for the in Portuguese is o.

So if you wanted to say Mister Silva you would say the Mister Silva. How would you say that in Portuguese?

?Mister Silva|O senhor Silva

Imagine that you want to give Mr. Alvares a positive review on eBay. How would you write:

?Mister Alvares is good.|O senhor Alvares é bom.

Well, it so happens that if the Portuguese want to refer to you, i.e. somebody they are speaking to, they don’t use the word you but they simply say the mister. So…

The Portuguese word for you is o senhor.

(As a side note: this is how it works formally. Less formally, the Portuguese do have another way to refer to you and we will learn it later.)

So, if you want to give a compliment and say you are good, you simply say the mister is good. Say that.

?You are good.|O senhor é bom.

What if you want to offer the person you are speaking some constructive critics and tell him:

?You are not very good.|O senhor não é muito bom.

What about women? You won’t refer them as Mr. will you? Of course not.

Luckily, a lot of times, when you want to make a word feminine (female), you simply make it end with a. So, try to guess how you would say Missus in Portuguese.


Just like the word senhor, the word senhora is not used without the in front of it. However, the word now has a in the end and so it is feminine. Here is the kicker:

The feminine word for the is a.

See, there are two words for the in Portuguese. One is masculine (male). The other one is feminine.

The masculine one is o because masculine words (such as tempo) like the ending o.

The feminine one is a because feminine words looooove the ending a.

So, how would you say: the missus?

?The Missus|A senhora

And, of course, just like o senhor works as a word for you when you are talking to men, a senhora is the word for you when you are talking to women.

Likewise, if you want to give a compliment and say “you are good” to a woman, you simply say Missus is good.

However, because senhora is a feminine word, it can’t use the word bom which is masculine. So, the word bom must also change to become feminine.

Remember, that feminine words love the ending a. Can you guess what the feminine version of the word bom would be (tip: the feminine word still has three letters just like the masculine one)?

?Good (feminine)|Boa

Of course, now you can give a compliment and say you are good to a woman:

?You are good.|A senhora é boa.

Keep talking to that same woman:

?You are very good.|A senhora é muito boa.

What a nice compliment. Done.

Next lesson >