How to Answer Yes and No Questions in Brazilian Portuguese

Knowing how to answer Yes and No questions in Brazilian Portuguese will make you sound more natural in conversation.

You might be thinking – that’s easy: yes is sim and no is não. While that’s not wrong, it’s definitely not how Brazilians would normally answer yes and no questions in Brazilian Portuguese. 

Before we start, here’s a question that I’d like you to answer in Portuguese right now (either in your head or out-loud!): 

- Você gosta de café? (Do you like coffee?)

If you wanted to say ‘yes’ and used the word sim – that’s fine, it’s not wrong. If you answered with 

- Gosto. 

Congratulations! You already sound more natural and fluent! 

Brazilians will most of the time answer ‘yes’ by taking the main verb and conjugate it with ‘eu’ in the same tense used in the question.

So, here, the main verb is gostar (to like), conjugated in the present tense:

- Gosto.

Note that I left ‘eu’ out and went straight to the verb.

Here's another example: 

- Você é americano? (Are you American?)

If the answer is yes, than you can just say:

- Sou. (I am)

Brazilians sometimes do say the word sim, but they will add it after the verb:

- Voce gosta de café? (Do you like coffee?)

- Gosto sim. (I do indeed)

Here, it could be translated as "I do indeed".

- Voce é americano? (Are you American?)

- Sou sim. (I am indeed)

In the answer of yes and no questions in Brazilian Portuguese is "no", Brazilians do use the word não, but not normally on its own because it would sound a bit too abrupt. In English we wouldn’t normally answer a questions by just saying "No" – to soften it, it’s common for people to say “No, I don't”, or "No, I'm not", for example. In Brazilian Portuguese it’s the same principle:

The most natural way to answer the question about coffee in the negative, for example, would be:

- Você gosta de café? (Do you like coffee?)

- Não, não gosto. (No, I don't)

So, you start by saying não, and then you repeat it and follow it with the conjugated verb.

- Você é americano? (Are you American?)

- Não, não sou. (No, I'm not)

Let's see some other examples of how to answer yes and no questions in Brazilian Portuguese:

 verb ter (to have)

- Você tem dinheiro pra me emprestar? (Do you have some money to lend me?)

- Tenho. (I do.) / - Tenho sim. (I do indeed.)

- Não, não tenho. (No, I don't)

verb assistir (to watch)

- Você assistiu esse filme? (Did you watch this film?)

- Assisti. (I did.) / - Assisti sim. (I did indeed.)

- Não, não assisti. (No, I didn't)

Here we have the verb assistir conjugated in the preterite with você (assisti) in the question, and with eu (assisti) in the answer.

verb ir (to go)

- Você foi visitar a Paula ontem? (Did you go visit Paula yesterday?)

- Fui. (I did) / - Fui sim. (I did indeed.)

- Não, não fui. (No, I didn't)

Note that in the example above we have two verbs in the question: 

the auxiliary verb ir (to go)


the verb visitar (to visit)

-> In cases like this, when the auxiliary verb occurs in the question, it is the auxiliary that is repeated in the answer.

verb poder (can)

-Você pode me fazer um favor? (Can you do me a favour?)

- Posso. (I can) / - Posso sim. (I can indeed)

- Não, não posso. (No, I can't)

Again, here we have the auxiliary verb poder, so we need to use it in the answer.

One more example:

- Você já provou comida brasileira? (Have you ever tried Brazilian food?)

- Já. ( I have) /  Já sim. (I have indeed)

- Não, nunca. (No, never)

If the question has the word  (already, yet, ever) you need to use  to give an affirmative answer. If the answer is negative, you would use the word nunca (never)

So, now you know how to answer yes and no questions in Brazilian Portuguese, in a way that will make you sound more fluent and natural in colloquial conversation.

Categories: Grammar