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Twelve uses of “quedar” in Spanish

The verb quedar in Spanish is a polysemic verb. This means that it can be used with different meanings. That is the reason why we can translate it into English as: be, meet, remain, be left or lose face, among others. These are the most frequent in Spanish, how many do you know?

First, we must bear in mind that the verb quedar can be used in many of its meanings as a pronominal verb. This means that they need to carry an unstressed pronoun (me, te, se) that has no meaning and always agrees with the subject. For example, quedar (1) can be a pronominal verb when it means “to be in a place, forced or voluntarily”: “Me quedé en casa porque estaba cansado”, but it is also correct, “Quedé en casa porque estaba cansado” (“I stayed home because I was tired”).

Quedar(2) also means “to be left”, for example “Quedan dos litros de leche en la nevera” (“There are two liters of milk in the fridge left”) or “Ya no queda champú” (“There is no more shampoo”). In this case it can not be used as pronominal.

Third, quedar(3) means “to gain a certain reputation as a result of their behavior or the circumstances”. It is not used as a pronominal verb and it is always followed by a complement introduced by por or como. Examples: “Juan quedó por cobarde” o “Juan quedó como un cobarde” (“Juan looked like a coward”). Quedar(4) is also used combined with the adverbs bien or mal to express that someone makes a good or bad impression to others: “Quedó mal con sus amigos por no ayudarles con la mudanza” (“He lost face with his friends because he didn’t help them with the move”)

Quedar(5) is used to express that a person or a thing remains in its state or changes to another less stable state. With this meaning, we can use it as a pronominal verb. Examples: “Mi cama ha quedado sin hacer” (“My bed has been left undone”) or “María se ha quedado sola en la oficina” (“Maria has been left alone in the office”).

Also, quedar(6) can mean “finish”. Example: “Todo quedó en un susto” (“Everything was just a shock”). Or you can use quedar(7) to “agree something”, in this case it is usually built with a complement introduced by the Spanish preposition en: “Quedamos en vernos a las diez en la cafetería” (“We agreed to meet at ten in the cafeteria”).

We use the verb quedar(8) when we want to express that something is located in a certain place: “El supermercado queda lejos de aquí” (“The supermarket is far from here”). When we say that we have something, we can use the verb quedar(9) as a pronominal verb and it is followed by an object (what we have), which introduced by the preposition con. Example: “Yo me quedo con el coche” (“I keep the car.”)

When we refer to the way clothes fit us, we also use the verb  quedar(10): “Este traje no me queda bien” (“This suit does not fit well”), “El vestido negro le quedaba muy largo” (“The black dress was too long for her”)

Colloquially, the verb quedar(11) is used to say that we take somebody for a ride. In this case, the verb is always pronominal and it is followed by an object introduced by the preposition con, which indicates who we are cheating: “Me quedé con María” (“I am taking Maria for a ride”). Also, in a colloquial sense and pronominal form, quedar(12) is used in some children’s games and it means to be the one who has to look for or catch others: “Te la quedas” (“You keep it!”).

It’s correct to say:
¿Quién queda dentro de casa? – (Who is at home?)
No queda gente en la calle – (There is nobody left in the street)
María quedo por inteligente – (María looked intelligent)
Quedó bien con nosotros – (He got good with us)
El gato se quedó dormido al lado de la ventana – (The cat fell asleep next to the window)
Las cosas quedaron como estaban – (Things stayed the same)
¿En qué quedamos? – (What do we agree?)
María se quedó con toda mi ropa – (María kept all my clothes)
La falda me queda perfecta – (The skirt fits me perfectly)
Me estoy quedando contigo, es broma. – (I am taking you for a ride, it’s a joke)
Quien llegue el último se la queda. – (Whoever is the last one keeps it)

It’s NOT correct to say:
*El paraguas se quedó en casa – (I forgot the umbrella at home)
*No se queda nada en la nevera – (There is nothing in the fridge)
*Pepe se ha quedado en cobarde – (Pepe looked like a coward)
*Se quedan mal por no venir con nosotros – (They lost face with us because they didn’t come)
*Sara quedó sola en el hospital – (Sara stayed alone in the hospital)
*Todo se quedó con un susto – (Everything was just  a shock)
*¿No os quedasteis a las doce para comer? – (*Didn’t you meet at twelve to have lunch?)
*Juan quedaba con mis llaves durante las vacaciones – (Juan used to keep my keys during my holidays)
*La camisa se me queda bien – (The shirt fit me)
*Ana bromeaba con Miguel, siempre quedaba con él. – (Ana cheated on Miguel, she was always taking him for a ride)
*Siempre la quedo cuando juego al escondite – (I always keep it when I play hide and seek)


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