If "Abraços" is a common way to end a letter, roughly the same level of formality as "Regards", what is the nuance of "Um abraço" or "Grande abraço"? Does it mean "hug" more literally than abraço? Or is abraço intended to be understood already as a friendly hug?
Actually 'Regards' is more close to "Saudações"(sds) than to "Abraços". I usually start an email with "Saudações"(greetings), the first time I saw "sds" in the end of and email I thought it was "Saudades" it was strange in that situation. Well, lets go back to "Abraços".
Being "Abraço" almost close to friendly neutral, "Grande Abraço" is just a little more strong than that. There is no real line between the uses, it depends on who you are writing(talking over the phone) to, the general tone of the subject, your own personality, the place (work email, personal mail), but I used to end the communication with:
Friends, Family - "Grande abraço" (but you could use "abraços" too)
Coworkers - Depends on the subject "Abraço" for casual, "Atenciosamente" for work content, "Estou à disposição" when settling a doubt, or offering help. Sometimes combine, "Abraço, estou à disposição"
Among some friends we develop some 'endings' within the context of our friendship , as "Abraço de Urso" and "Abraço apertado por trás".
There are "Beijo" and "Grande Beijo", but they are used among people with more intimacy, family, boyfriend/grilfriend, real close friends. As "Abraços" it not really mean that you gonna kiss, or hug the other person. Here in Brazil female friends almost always send "Beijos" and variations, but I never say it first in a message or phone call. "Abraços", and "Grande Abraço" are safer.
I think "Abraços" and "Grande Abraço" are closer to "Kind regards" and "Warm Regards", and don't forget "Aquele Abraço"
Actually, abraços is informal and it means literally hugs (plural). "Regards" can be more accuratelly translated to "Saudações".
- Abraços: hugs (plural) - Informal - general salutation)
- Um Abraço: A hug (singular) - Personal - usually used to address someone you have had a previous conversation or someone close to you.
- Grande Abraço: A big hug - Personal - used to someone you have the liberty to show a little more affection.