How to Use the Verb ‘Quedar’ Like a Spanish Native
Quedar is one of the most interesting, diverse, and useful verbs in the Spanish language. It can mean many things in many contexts and expresses a wide variety of ideas.
What’s more, it has a close cousin that expands even more that versatility: the pronominal verb quedarse. Between these two verbs, you can express ideas about availability, looks, location, competition, and more that you’ll learn in this article.
Keep reading to learn all about quedar and quedarse, their meanings and diversity of uses. I’m also introducing you to the conjugation set of quedar and some idiomatic expressions used with these verbs.
The Meaning of Quedar
Quedar is one of the most popular non-reflexive verbs in Spanish. But, what does quedar mean?
When talking about quedar meaning you need to consider that it comes from the Latin verb “quietare,” which means sosegar (to appease) or descansar (to rest).
In Spanish, quedar means “to stay, to stop necessarily or voluntarily in some place.” Nevertheless, you’ll see that this verb has several meanings and it’s used in many ways.
8 Uses of Quedar
Quedar is a verb that you use in a variety of ways. When you master it, it becomes a super useful verb. Here are eight of the most common uses of quedar:
1. To Be Available
In this case, quedar indicates availability, that something exists, is still left, or remains as part of something else.
To Be Left
¿Queda café en la cafetera?
Is there still any coffee in the coffee machine?
Ya no quedan boletos para el concierto de Shakira.
There aren’t any tickets left for Shakira’s concert.
De la civilización maya solo quedan las pirámides.
Of the Maya civilization, just the pyramids remain.
Queda por verse.
It remains to be seen.
2. To Look
Ese color te queda muy bien.
That color really suits you.
El uniforme de la escuela ya no me queda.
The school’s uniform doesn’t fit me anymore.
3. To Be Located
The flexibility of quedar allows you to use it to indicate location, too.
¿Dónde queda tu casa?
Where is your house located?
La farmacia queda a dos cuadras de aquí.
The drugstore is just two blocks from here.
4. Use Quedar in Competitions
Use quedar to talk about how a sports event or competition ended.
El Real Madrid quedó segundo en La Liga.
Real Madrid finished second in La Liga.
To Come In
Espero quedar en los primeros diez lugares en el triatlón.
I hope to come in the first ten places in the triathlon.
5. To Appear
Use quedar to express the reputation of a person as a result of their behavior. In this context, it’s followed by the words como or por and a complement describing the subject.
El chico salvó a María de ahogarse y quedó como un héroe.
The boy saved Maria from drowning and was left as a hero.
6. To Arrange to Meet
Use quedar to arrange a meeting or agree to meet or see someone.
¿A qué hora quedamos de vernos?
What time did we agree to meet?
Quedé de ver a mi hermano en su casa.
I agreed to meet my brother at his house.
7. To Wait, To Stay
Use quedar to express the idea of waiting or staying at one place.
Quédate un poco más.
Stay a little bit longer.
Me quedé aquí esperándote.
I stayed here waiting for you.
8. To End Up
Quedar also expresses the idea of ending up in an emotional or physical state.
Me quedé contento cuando me dijeron que llamaste.
I was happy when they told me you called.
Quedamos cansados después del viaje.
We were tired after the trip.
The Meaning of Quedarse
Quedarse is a pronominal verb, which means it requires a reflexive pronoun to work. Pronominal means “related to a pronoun” and, in this case, that pronoun is reflexive. The reflexive verb’s position in a sentence may vary without changing its meaning.
Reflexive pronouns also exist in English. Here you have a list of them in both languages:
|(I) myself||(yo) me|
|(you) yourself||(tú) te|
|(he) himself / (she) herself / (it) itself||(él/ella) se|
|(we) ourselves||(nosotros) nos|
|(you all) yourselves||(ustedes) se|
|(they) themselves||(ellos/ellas) se|
In the quedar vs quedarse debate, quedarse is a pronominal verb with a reflexive pronoun. Reflexive pronouns indicate that the action is done by the subject to the same subject, which in this case means that the person (or thing) who is staying, remaining, or being left is the same subject in the sentence.
4 Uses of Quedarse
The meaning of quedarse is similar to that of quedar, but its uses are a bit different. Let’s learn four of the most common ones.
1. To Retain, To Keep
Use quedarse to express the idea of keeping or retaining something.
El gobierno se queda con la mitad de mi salario.
The government retains half of my salary.
¿Me puedo quedar con esta foto como recuerdo?
Can I keep this picture as a souvenir?
2. To Stay, To Remain in a Place
In this context, quedarse has a similar meaning to quedar. It only varies in the way you use it and in its conjugation.
Nos quedamos en casa de mis suegros.
We stayed at my parents-in-law’s house.
Carlos se quedó en la escuela para hacer un proyecto.
Carlos stayed at school to work on a project.
3. To Become
In this case, quedarse conveys the idea of becoming something.
José quedó paralítico después del accidente.
José was paralyzed after the accident.
El cantante se quedó sin voz en mitad del concierto.
The singer lost his voice in the middle of the concert.
4. To Remember, To Recall
Use quedarse to talk about a memory that stuck (or not) in someone’s mind.
Me quedó un muy buen recuerdo de Madrid.
I have a very good memory of Madrid.
No me quedó nada de esa conversación.
I can’t remember anything from that conversation.
Now, let’s take a look at the conjugation set of quedar in present tense, preterite, and imperfect.
Common Idiomatic Expressions with Quedar and Quedarse
Now, let’s study the use of these two verbs with prepositions that follow them. For example:
- quedar en – to meet at
- quedar con – to meet with
- quedar por – to meet because
- quedar para – to meet for
Quedarse en blanco.
To don’t know what to say, to be left blank.
Me quedé en blanco durante el examen.
My mind went blank during the test.
Quedarse con la boca abierta
To be shocked or surprised
Antonio se quedó con la boca abierta cuando vio a Martha.
Antonio’s jaw dropped when he saw Martha.
Quedarse tan ancho
To show no regret or shame
Nos gritó a todos y luego se quedó tan ancho, como si nada hubiera pasado.
He yelled at all of us and then he stayed like nothing had happened.
To fall short, to not be able to achieve something or meet your goals
No conseguí la beca, me quedé corto con mis notas.
I didn’t get the scholarship; I fell short on my grades.
To fall asleep
Laura se quedó dormida viendo la película.
Laura fell asleep watching the movie.
Practice Your Verbs and Speak Spanish Faster
Quedar and quedarse are two common verbs that are helpful in many different situations. Study these uses and practice them aloud (preferably with a native Spanish speaker), as the fastest way to learn a language is by speaking it.
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