Greetings are shouted from windows and across streets in every city in Brazil. In smaller towns it’s common to see conversations at stoplights, each friend gesturing wildly through their respective car window.
In any social situation, be it in a bar or at the beach, you will inevitably be asked one of two questions before entering a conversation:
Tudo bem? = Todo bien?
Tudo bom? = Todo bueno?
As a non-native Portuguese speaker your response will determine how the Brazilians interact with you. Your response is more than just a reflection of your level of Portuguese fluency, it’s a show of much you understand the Brazilian greeting culture.
The following most commonly used Spanish speaker translations are not only incorrect, they’re a sure give away that you’re unfamiliar with this playful culture that precedes friendships in Brazil.
Sim = si
Sim, tudo bem = Si, todo bien
Bem, e você? = Bien, y tu/usted?
The correct response is easy but makes all the difference when speaking with Brazilians.
You respond with the question’s opposite.
For example, if asked, “Tudo bem?” you reply “Tudo bom.” If asked, “Tudo bom?” reply “Tudo bem.”
There you have it. It really is that simple to sound Brazilian.
CONVERSATION: What other common greetings do native Brazilians use?