First Published: 17th of October, 2021 by Patrick Carpen.Last updated: October 18, 2021 at 12:19 pm
The Portuguese word for “thank you” is “obrigado” or “obridgada” depending on whether a male or female is saying it. Females will use the feminine form, “obrigada,” while males will use the masculine form “obrigado.” You do not change the gender of the word depending on who is being spoken to, only based on who is speaking. So if you are a man, whether you are talking to a man or a woman, you say, “obrigado.” Likewise, if you are a woman, whether you are talking to a man or a woman, you say, “obrigada.”
The Portuguese word for “thank you” is “obrigado/obrigada.” But there are times when you will hear Brazilians say, “Gracas a Deus!” which means “thanks to God!” For example, “the car turned over, but no one was injured. Thank God!” In Portuguese, this would be said as, “o carro capotou, mas ninguém ficou ferido. graças a Deus!”
Note the last part of the translation: Gracas a Deus. In this context, Gracas a Deus means “thanks to God!” But isn’t the translation of “thank you” obrigado/obrigada? Yes! Then why don’t they say instead “obrigado a Deus”?
In this sense, the word “gracas” also has the meaning of “thanks” or “many thanks” in the plural sense, but it originated from a holy or prayerful context. That is, you say “obrigado” for “thank you,” in normal situations, but “gracas” for situations of expressing thanks to God.
The word “gracas” evolved from Latin “gratus,” and has a prayerful connotation. It has a similar etymology to English “graces” and is more often used to express thanks to a divine being. Examples: Did you say your before-meal graces? Graces then, means a prayer of thanks or praise to God. And the Portuguese word “gracas” has the same root.
Let’s look at another illustration. Let’s say your brother saved your house from burning down. In English, you might say: the fire didn’t reach my house. Thanks to my brother!
In Brazilian Portuguese, this would be translated to: o fogo não atingiu minha casa. Graças ao meu irmão. Gracas means “thanks to” in the plural sense of the word “thanks.”
So, do people ever say, “obrigado a Deus”? Yes! It means, “thank you God!” Here are some examples:
Obrigado, Deus, por ter feito tudo perfeito, por ter me dado uma vida, ter me colocado em um lugar tão bonito cheio de verde e de arte, em um planeta rico em vida. Thank you, God, for having made everything perfect, for giving me life, for putting me in a place so beautiful full of greenery and art, in a planet rich with life.
Obrigado, Deus, por tudo de bom e de ruim que acontece na minha vida, pq a escolha é do Senhor. Thank you, God, for everything good and bad that happened in my life, because the choice is of the Lord.
Obrigado Deus pela graça de mais um dia, e pela oportunidade de um novo recomeço. Thank you God, for the grace of one more day, for the opportunity to start over again.
Here are some examples of where “gracas” would be used.
Graças aos meus pais, terminei a universidade. Thanks to my parents, I finished university.
Graças ao meu irmão, minha casa não foi queimada. Thanks to my brother, my house was not burned.
Nada de ruim aconteceu naquele dia. Graças a Deus. Nothing bad happened that day. Thanks to God.
So, we can conclude then that:
Obrigado = thank you.
Gracas = thanks to