Now that Brazil has revised its orthography to conform to Portuguese orthography in 2009, what are the prime differences in orthography between the various regional variants of written Portuguese? The only difference I have noticed are

  1. the stressed open/closed O, as in fenômeno (BR) vs. fenómeno (PT), and

  2. the open/closed E, as in gênero (BR) vs. género (PT).

Are there other differences in Portuguese orthography?

  • 1
    Good question but too broad?
    – Maniero
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 19:43
  • 1
    @bigown Depends. Maybe there are no more differences...? (I'm not asking for a list of all such words, just for a list of rules.)
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 19:45
  • 1
    There's also fato/facto
    – bfavaretto
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:40
  • Asking for all other differences is overkill, IMO. European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese can have a broad partition of their own vocabulary, in fact.
    – E_net4
    Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 20:54
  • @E_net4 But I wouldn't count different vocabulary as a difference in orthography. I'm just asking about spelling differences of the same word (and not about all the differences of the written language).
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 18, 2015 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


There are still differences, because the revised orthography respects differences in pronunciation between the regional variants.

The orthographic agreement can be summed up in a few categories, of which the last two listed here allow double orthography, or even distinct orthographies.

  1. some types of words have now their first letter in lower case
    Primavera - primavera
    Norte - norte

  2. suppression of voiceless consonants
    acção - ação
    excepto - exceto

When the consonant isn't totally mute, or both versions of the word can be heard, there is double orthography, that is, the agreement doesn't prescribe one way over the other:

espectável + espetável
conceptual + concetual

When the word is pronounced differently, there are different ways of writing it:

adoção (Portugal) and adopção (Brasil)
intercetar (Portugal) and interceptar (Brasil)

Note: Ironically, words that previously were written the same way in both variants, are now written differently in order the respect the phonetic criteria. This change raised a few issues against its acceptance.

  1. suppression of certain accents
    eles lêem - eles leem
    heróico - heroico

Again, when there are differences in the pronunciation, both orthographies coexist, as was referred in the question:

sénior (Portugal) and sênior (Brasil)
sinfónico (Portugal) + sinfônico (Brasil)

But also the conjugation of the first person plural in the past perfect tense of verbs belonging to the first class (ending in -ar):

nós andámos, nós procurámos (Portugal)
(to distinguish from the present tense)

nós andamos, nós procuramos (Brasil)

  • I'm finding conflicting information on the internet for adoção and intercetar in Brazil. Are you sure you wrote that part correctly?
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 19:50
  • @DanGetz I used those examples from a reference published with a portuguese newspaper a few years ago. As the orthographic agreement didn't find a consensus across all the portuguese speaking countries, it's pretty tricky to answer this question. Any suggestions for improvement are welcome. Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 21:17

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