How to Use the Verb ‘Quedar’ in Spanish
Spanish is spoken by 437 million people in 37 countries, making it the second most spoken language around the world, so it’s not surprising that some verbs, like quedar in Spanish, are entirely flexible depending on where, when, and who is using it.
Imagine this: You’ve decided to stay in a comfy hotel in Panajachel, Guatemala. You take a stroll around town where you enjoy the amazing weather, the great view of Lake Atitlan, and take the opportunity to practice your Spanish.
You know that quedar means “to stay.” So, when someone ask you:
¿Y en qué hotel estás hospedado?
In which hotel are you staying?
Me estoy quedando en Porta Hotel.
I am staying in Porta Hotel.
But while you are relaxing by the pool you hear someone say:
Habíamos quedado en que nos íbamos a quedar toda la noche y salir mañana en la mañana para pasar a Tecpán. Entonces quedé sorprendido porque me habían cambiado los planes y ahora ya no me queda dinero.
Wow—who knew the verb quedar in Spanish had so many different meanings!
In this blog post, you’ll learn up to 13 different meanings of the verb quedar and how to use it in these new ways to improve your Spanish conversations.
The Meaning of Quedar in Spanish
According to the Spanish Royal Academy, the verb quedar in Spanish comes from the Llatin “quietare” which translates to sosegar o descansar (to appease or to rest) and it means “to stay, to stop necessarily or voluntarily in some place.”
But it also has plenty of other definitions and uses.
Are you ready to master the ones you need for your Spanish conversations?
By learning new ways to use the verb quedar in Spanish, you’ll dramatically boost your Spanish fluency and take one step closer to talking like a native Spanish speaker!
13 Uses of the Spanish Verb Quedar
The first thing that you need to know is that quedar is a polysemic word, meaning that it has several different uses. With that in mind, quedar translates to:
- Be left
- Lose face
- And a lot more!
Learn another polysemic word: The Ultimate Guide to Using ‘Así’ in Spanish
The verb quedar in Spanish exists in two forms:
- Non-reflexive: quedar
- Pronominal: quedarse
¿Quedan asientos para nosotros?
Are there any seats left for us?
Hoy va a quedarse con su mamá.
Today he’s going to stay with his mom.
If you’re familiar with pronominal verbs, you know that the reflexive pronoun (se) can either attach to the end of the infinitive, or precede it as a separate word, without changing the meaning. For example:
Hoy se va a quedar con su mamá.
Today he’s going to stay with his mom.
With this distinction in mind, the following list of the 13 uses of the verb quedar in Spanish is divided in two sections: non-reflexive uses of the verb and pronominal uses.
Let’s get to it!
Non-reflexive Verb: Quedar
1. To be left, to remain
Quedar in this context indicates something that exists or remains as part of something. Use this verb to indicate that you don’t have something that you had before, like food or money—or, to indicate something that is still there but remains only in pieces.
Solo queda un poco de leche.
There is only a little bit of milk left.
Ya no me queda nada de dinero.
I don’t have any money left.
De la civilización maya solo quedan las pirámides.
Of the Mayan civilization just the pyramids remain.
2. To gain a certain reputation as a result of a behavior or circumstance
This use of the verb quedar in Spanish helps to express the reputation of a person as a result of their behavior or the circumstances at hand. There is no direct translation to English, but an approximation is “looks like” or “is made.”
It’s always followed by como or por and a complement that describes the subject.
El joven quedó como todo un héroe por salvar a la niña.
The young man was made a hero for saving the girl.
(This sentence shows how the young man is perceived like a hero for his behavior.)
José quedó como todo un payaso luego de caerse en clase.
Jose looked like a clown after falling in the class.
3. To finish
Quedar indicates finality or to explain how some event ended.
Luego de la explosión, todo quedó en un susto, pues no habían heridos.
After the explosion, everything was just a scare, because nobody was injured.
La película quedó en un momento de suspenso muy emocionante.
The movie ended in a really exciting cliffhanger.
4. To indicate a location
The verb quedar in Spanish is so flexible that it can be used to indicate some place location.
Ese restaurante queda en la quinta avenida.
That restaurant is on fifth avenue.
Mi casa queda al lado de un McDonald ‘s.
My house is next to a McDonald’s.
5. To indicate how clothes or shoes fit
It’s amazing how flexible the verb quedar in Spanish is. You’d never suspect it could describe the fit of your favorite clothes or new shoes!
Me probé este suéter y me quedó muy bien.
I tried this sweater and it fits really well.
Estos zapatos me quedan muy cómodos.
These shoes are really comfy.
6. To indicate a good or bad impression, combined with Spanish adverbs bien and mal
When you use the verb quedar in Spanish followed by the adverbs bien (good) or mal (bad) you indicate if someone made a good or a bad impression.
Quedaste mal por olvidar el cumpleaños de tu abuela.
You looked bad for forgetting your grandma’s birthday.
Quedé bien con mi suegra por enseñarle a manejar.
I made a good impression with my mother-in-law for teaching her how to drive.
7. Quedar + en: to agree to something
You can use the verb quedar when you agree to something with someone. Here are some examples of this interesting use:
Quedamos en ir a comer comida china.
We agree on going to eat Chinese food.
Quedaron en que iban a juntarse en el parque.
They agreed that they would get together at the park.
Pronominal Verb: Quedarse
The verb quedarse is pronominal in that it requires a reflexive pronoun that changes depending on the subject pronoun. For a thorough review of pronominal verbs and reflexive pronouns, check out:
8. To express there is no change of the position of an object or a subject
You can use the verb quedar in Spanish to show there is no change for an object or a situation. Normally you will use
Paró a media calle y ahí se quedó, porque no pude moverlo.
It stopped in the middle of the street and it’s still there, because I couldn’t move it.
Te quedaste inconsciente y no pudimos despertarte.
You were unconscious and we couldn’t wake you up.
9. To keep something
When you want to tell others you or someone else is keeping something you already have, you use the pronominal verb quedarse in Spanish to show your intentions.
Me quedo con este libro.
I am keeping this book.
Como pago, se queda con el auto.
As payment, he keeps the car.
Common Idioms Using ‘Quedarse’ and ‘Quedar’ in Spanish
Using quedar in Spanish-speaking countries requires knowing special cultural uses or expressions known as idioms so that you can better understand others. Here’s a quick look at some of the most common idioms using quedar in Spanish.
10. Quedarse – to fail
When you use the verb quedarse in relation to a test or a competition, this idiom means “to fail.”
Persona 1: ¿Ganaste tu competencia?
Persona 2: No, me quedé. Necesito practicar más.
Person 1: Did you win your competition?
Person 2: No, I failed. I need to practice more.
Persona 1: ¿Cómo le fue a Josué en su examen?
Persona 2: Muy mal, se quedó.
Person 1: How did Josue do on his exam?
Person 2: Real bad, he failed.
11. Quedarse corto – to fall short
When you combine the verb quedarse with the adjective corto or corta it means “to fall short” This is useful to explain you didn’t meet your goals. For example:
Me quedé corto. No podré entrar a la universidad.
I fell short. I won’t be able to enter the university.
Persona 1: ¿Tienes el dinero del alquiler?
Persona 2: No, me quedé corta. ¿Puedes prestarme un poco de dinero?
Person 1: You have the rent money?
Person 2: No, I am falling short. Can you lend me some money?
12. “You’re It!” for the Game Tag
Did you ever play tag as a kid? The game is famous worldwide! It has different names, depending on the country. In certain areas of Spain, children use the verb quedar while playing.
¡Te la quedas!
You are it!
13. Quedar (dormido) – to fall asleep
Quedar expresses the action of falling asleep.
Estaba tan cansada que quedé dormida.
I was so tired that I fell asleep.
Ahí quedó. Se despertó hasta la mañana siguiente.
He fell asleep. He woke up until the morning.
14. As a meme!
Memes are an amazing way of communication and a lot of languages use them to joke around. With a meme, you can even express what words or usual expressions can’t!
The popular meme below expresses a reaction. Imagine you’re talking to your best friend about the latest gossip going around the internet. You want to express your surprise so you say Quedé sorprendido (I was surprised). But instead of saying sorprendido you use the meme!
¡No te quedés atrás! Practice makes perfect, and with this list of the verb quedar in Spanish you have a resource you can bookmark to come back to time and time again. Empower yourself to become fluent in Spanish and talk like a native! Sign up for a free class to learn Spanish 1-on-1 with certified, native Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala and see for yourself how easy, fun, and efficient it is to learn with Homeschool Spanish Academy.
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