The most common uses of the verb Ficar in European Portuguese.

In Portuguese class, you’ve learned that ficar means to stay. And that’s somewhat true. However, just like dar, ficar has many different meanings.

Here are the most common uses of the verb ficar in European Portuguese with example sentences.

To stay or to be?

Very often, ficar is followed by the preposition em. In this case, it has two meanings, depending on what the subject is.

Ficar em – to stay

Ficar means to stay when the subject is a person, animal, or small object, aka anything that can move or be moveable.

Os alunos ficam na sala de aula enquanto a professora vai buscar algo.
The students stay in the classroom while the teacher goes to get something.

Teacher tip:

In this sentence, na is the contraction of the preposition em and the article o and roughly translates to in the.

Hoje vou ficar em casa.
Today, I’m going to stay at home.

Ficar em – To be located in

When talking about a place, monument, or generally something whose geography cannot change, ficar em can replace ser and mean to be, to be located in.

Paris fica em França. = Paris é em França.
Paris is in France.

O restaurante fica ao lado do banco.
The restaurant is next to the bank.

You might like:

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Ficar com – To keep

Ficar com algo means to keep something.

Fique com o troco.
Keep the change.

Como vou mudar de casa, não quero ficar com muita coisa.
Since I’m moving houses, I don’t want to keep a lot of things.

Ficar a + V – To keep on, to always/constantly do something

Ficar a when followed by a verb expresses the idea of something that is continuously happening, that keeps on happening.

Teacher tip: After a preposition, the verb is in its infinitive form, which means it is not conjugated.

Ela não faz nada. Fica sempre a ver televisão.
She doesn’t do anything. She’s always watching TV.

Hoje, queria tanto ficar a dormir.
Today, I so wish I could keep sleeping.

Ficar (bem/mal) a + person – To suit, to fit

This one might be a bit tricky to make sense of if English is your first language. Ficar can mean to suit or fit if it’s followed by an adverb and the preposition a. Most of the time it is used when trying on clothes.

Aquelas calças ficam bem à Joana.
Those trousers suit Joana.

Esses óculos não te ficam bem.
Those glasses don’t suit you well.

Isto fica-me largo.
This is too large for me.

Ficar + adjective – To get, to become.

You probably know the sentence: estou com fome, I’m hungry. But how about fico com fome? They’re actually not the same.

Depois de fazer desporto, fico com muita fome!
After doing sports, I get very hungry!

Desculpa, ontem não respondi, fiquei cansada depois do trabalho.
Sorry, yesterday, I didn’t respond, I got tired after work.

Ficar para – to be scheduled for, to delay, to reschedule

Ficar para is used when wanting to schedule, reschedule, or delay something.

Desculpa, hoje não posso.
Não faz mal, fica para a próxima.
Sorry, I can’t make it today.
It’s okay, next time.

A aula pode ficar para terça-feira?
Can the class be on Tuesday instead?

Ficar – to stay still, to not move

Fique aqui, vou buscar os documentos.
Please stay here, I’m going to get the documents.

Ficar com – to keep company

Vou ficar com a minha avó durante alguns dias.
I’m going to stay with my grandma for a few days.

Ficar – to remain, to be left.

Ficaram tantos restos depois do jantar.
There were so many leftovers left after dinner.

Todos já foram embora. Só ficaram eles.
Everyone has left already. Only they stayed.

Honourable mention: Ficar com + person – To date casually, to hook up.

Okay, okay, this one we stole from the Brazilians, but they are the masters of slang.

Não acredito que ficaste com ele!
I can’t believe you had something with him/ you hooked up with him.

Careful who you use this last one with, but you know I want to teach you the fun stuff as well!


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