What's the difference between "tu" and "voce"?

December 14, 2013


In Portugal, "você" is a formal way of referring to someone. Naturally, you use it in formal settings, for people you don't know very well or are speaking to for the first time and with people much older than you. "Tu" is informal, you use it with friends, in informal settings and with people younger than you. Seeing as you have a tiny German flag next to your username, I'll point out that it's kind of like "Sie" and "Du" in German. (If I remember the classes I took a long time ago correctly)

In most parts of Brazil this distinction isn't made and mainly "você" is used in all situations.

December 15, 2013

Regarding the use of "você" in Portugal.

Yes, that is correct, but bear in mind you don't actually say "você". In fact, I've even heard some people (maybe some uptight people, but nevertheless...) say it's kind of impolite to use it. At any rate, you rarely hear "você", which is implicit, but rather "O senhor/a senhora", "O Doutor", etc. or you simply omit the subject altogether, which is the by far the most common usage, I'd say. See examples below:

  • Desculpe, pode abrir-me a porta, por favor? instead of
  • Desculpe, O SENHOR pode abrir-me a aporta, por favor? – and by the way, you would never say something like:
  • Desculpe, VOCÊ pode abrir-me a aporta, por favor?
December 20, 2013

Oh, yes, someone mentioned that to me. He said he'd always avoid saying você and just go straight for the conjugation, as you said. I noticed that while I was there too. Something else that was interesting was that the people I met would always say "para si..." instead of "para você..." which is what I always heard in Brazil.

December 21, 2013

You just saved me from tripping over in my trip to Brazil

November 24, 2018

Here in Brazil "tu" is considered second person, so, when you use "tu", you have to change the verb. "Voce" has the same meaning of "tu", but is third person, and you don´t have to change the verb. Generally the use of tu and voce change by region: Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul use more "tu" and MInas Gerais, for exempl, uses more "voce"


Você gosta de filmes? Tu gostas de filmes? (Pay atetion on "s" in the end of the verb)

December 16, 2013

I suggest you put this question in the Portugese section, rather than in the general discussion, as it will soon be lost here. Look for "Portugese" on the right of this page.

December 14, 2013 An old, similar discussion. Might be helpful.

December 20, 2013

Tu can be used in Portugal for formality. Voce is the only word used in Brazil. Ex: You go to school Trans: Tu vais à escola manhã (Portugal) Você vai à escola manhã.

March 27, 2016

"Tu" é informal em Portugal e no Brasil, O senhor está equivocado, na vdd bastante, vá ao Norte (Amazonas e Pará ) e veja se o senhor não encontrará um belo dum "tu", usamos "tu" com os amigos e família e bem conjugado em algumas vezes e em alguns casos até fazemos a diferença do "você" só que usamos para uma namorada, nossos avós...

December 14, 2016

So I understand tu, voce and a senhora/ o senhor but where does ti fit in?

February 12, 2017

Is it anything like the French, vous vs tu...because using vous in French is more polite and used with certain people, and also varies by region.... but tu is more colloquial, and has friendly connotations.... Is it similar with Portuguese, or should I just stick to ‘você’ to be safe? :/

November 19, 2017

If you are not 100% sure I would suggest to stick to "Voce", to be on safe side. "Tu" is INFORMAL 2nd person Singular and is used as such in Portugal where "Voce" is more FORMAL, however rarely used. In Brazil both are used for INFORMAL 2nd person Singular but "Voce" is predominant. In Brazil "Tu" (along with "Voce") is used in southern states of the country: Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parana. Pay attention to verb conjugations though. *) While writing this comment I'm fully aware of the accents. However my computer doesn't allow me to use them. I apologize. :(

November 22, 2017

Thank you very much for telling me, that helps so much :), and yeah my computer's like that as well... I had to copy and paste the ê from somewhere else xD, but anyway, thanks again for the help, I really appreciate it!... have a good day:)

November 29, 2017

They both mean “You” but have different verb conjugation? How does that work? I’ve never heard “Tu” being used in Brasil and I’ve been there 14 times but I have a difficult time understanding people. I can’t converse yet because I can’t understand people when they speak. When I do I have to translate everything in my head which is a very slow process. When I read I have to translate everything also. I need to find a way to learn that works. I’ve been studying Portuguese for 4 years and 5 months so it is frustrating. Any ideas? Thanks

January 7, 2019

portuguese in a chat is very different of a text. i can't help u to learn the conversation because the majority speak so fast. but u can try to learn like you're Portuguese and you want to learn English

February 5, 2019

I’m trying some new things including reading books in Portuguêse without translating so I can actually learn without translating. Translating hasn’t worked for me. 4.5 years of studying and 14 trips to Brasil and I can’t converse so it’s time for something new. Thanks!!!

February 5, 2019
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