pois não

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Portuguese[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From pois (so, then) + não (not). Probably originally intended as: "so ... not ...?", implying either "so, how could I not serve you?" or "so, how could I not do what you asked?", depending on the context.

Compare Spanish ¿cómo no? (how not?) and Hungarian hogyne (sure, of course, literally how not).

Phrase[edit]

pois não?

  1. (Brazil, formal) Can I help you? (used when attending customers)

pois não

  1. (Brazil, formal) yes; of course (used to confirm a request)
    “Eu gostaria de uma salada.” — “Pois não, senhor.”
    “I would like a salad.” — “Yes, sir.”

Usage notes[edit]

Don't confuse with pois sim (used as a sarcastic agreement of something that is obviously to be disagreed: yeah, right!, yeah, sure!).