These two languages can look similar but there are actually a lot of subtle differences. What are the common pitfalls that someone who already speaks Spanish should be aware of when learning Portuguese?

  • 2
    Hi, and welcome to Portuguese Language SE! We're sorry, but your question is very very broad, and it's recommended to narrow it down to just one specific question about what you want to know. Then you could ask a question for each matter related to this. Because what you asked would result in a very long list of all kind of notes, advices, etc.
    – Yuuza
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 6:22
  • Sure. Is the new version OK?
    – xji
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 6:43
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    Well, it's still a little broad, but is much more narrowed than the original. I think your question will have to be under proper analysis by the community in order to decide whether to keep it or not.
    – Yuuza
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 6:52
  • I suggest you be more specific. Try searching for a word or expression that you know and want to compare. Maybe some specific situation or something like that. I consider that the question is still too broad
    – James
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 19:17
  • @BrunoLopes Well haven't there been a lot of "big-list" questions on SE? Are those questions now considered inappropriate in recent years?
    – xji
    Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 3:51

2 Answers 2


Those are called "false friends". There are a lot of them. To mention just a few:

  • "ventana" (Spanish for "window") translates as "janela" in Portuguese but looks like "ventania" ("brisk winds")

  • "borrar" (Spanish for "erase") translates as "apagar" in Portuguese but looks like "borrar" ("to dirty")

  • "tienda" (Spanish for "shop") translates as "loja" in Portuguese, but looks like tenda ("tent")

  • "pipa" (Spanish for "pipe" translates as "cachimbo" in Portuguese, but looks like "pipa" ("kite")


I don't know much Spanish, but I do recall when taking classes that a lot of the words are the same or extremely similar but have very different meanings.

My spellings may be incorrect, but at least for speaking purposes:

Take for example the word "Embarassada", embarassed in english, pregnant in Spanish "embarazada".

"Sobrenome" in Portuguese means last name. In Spanish, that word is "Apellido", which in Portuguese means "Nickname", spelled slightly different, "apelido".

I'm sure there is a lot more to it, this is only what I remember.

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