What could I say for "What a year"? In the context of:

"Today marks the end of my first year running a restaurant. And what a year!"

"Today, I'm one year older. And what a year!"

"This is the end of my year in Venezuela. But what a year!"

*Background rambling:*
I love that you can use the "que X" construction in Portuguese in such a more versatile way than anything in English. For adjectives it's kind of "How X!" and nouns it's usually something like "What a X!" or "What X!" "Que transito!" "Que pena!" "Que chuva!"

However, my intuition tells me for something like "What a year!" as given in the examples above, "Que ano!" doesn't really work. (although like most of my intuitions about Portuguese recently, I don't know really know why that is.)

  • 2
    Your intuntion is off. The translation would really be "que ano" and that would be understood. Even thought we rarely use that. Usually we prefer to use adjectives such as belo, fabuloso or fantástico. Foi um ano fantástico. Also does today make sense in that sentence? Mar 7, 2017 at 18:59
  • "Que ano!" as a good or bad year?
    – sumitani
    Mar 7, 2017 at 19:33
  • @BrunoCosta I guess I was still kinda in portuguese in my head. I was thinking "Hoje eu complete mais um ano [em algum lugar]". When I translated it back it came out a little wrong in English, which doesn't even make sense because that's my first language
    – Some_Guy
    Mar 7, 2017 at 21:31
  • @sumitani "What a year! Really just means a very eventful and/or significant year". This could be good, or just neutral, the implication is that it's just been very intense year that has had a lot of impact I guess. Difficult to express the concept well.
    – Some_Guy
    Mar 7, 2017 at 21:36
  • @BrunoCosta I guess I was still kinda in Portuguese in my head. I was thinking "Hoje eu complete mais um ano [em algum lugar], e... what a year!". I've updated the question with some more idiomatic examples in English, I'd be very interested to know how you would be likely to express similar sentiments in an idiomatic way in Portuguese. Many thanks as always for your help!
    – Some_Guy
    Mar 7, 2017 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


my intuition tells me for something like "What a year!" as given in the examples above, "Que ano!" doesn't really work.

I'm sorry but your intuition is failing you. The best way to say "what a year!" in Portuguese is "que ano!". Anything else that I can think of wouldn't be idiomatic: "eta ano!", "ô ano!", "mas que ano, hein?" These three examples might occasionally fit in some specific contexts but that would be all.

  • thank you for the answer. My portuguese "feeling" is getting a lot better but still has a long way to go :)
    – Some_Guy
    Mar 7, 2017 at 23:24
  • Would you be likely to say "Que ano!"? Or does it sound a little stilted?
    – Some_Guy
    Mar 8, 2017 at 11:19
  • 3
    @Some_Guy Sure I'd say it, in any register. More often, I would say: "que semana!" or "que dia!", though. Just en passant, "que + noun" can be used for extremes. So if I say "que filme!" or "que festa", I may be saying it was either fantastic or very bad. Context and intonation will show which is which.
    – Centaurus
    Mar 8, 2017 at 12:37
  • 1
    @Some_Guy Yes, that's current Portuguese. I'd add "que mulher bonita!", "que casa velha!", "que comida ruim!", "que férias maravilhosas!", "que tempo horroroso!", "que sorvete divino!", "que indivíduo chato!". Whatever.
    – Centaurus
    Mar 8, 2017 at 13:40
  • 1
    Your answer is simple, clear, and to the point, Centaurus. It's an easy upvote, that's all. :)
    – ANeves
    Mar 8, 2017 at 19:56

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