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Published on: Grammar Bites

The tricky verb ‘quedar’

The verb ‘quedar’ can have different meanings depending on its context and grammatical structure which can make it hard for students to get a grasp on. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular uses of this tricky verb.

When “quedar” follows the same structure as “gustar” (that is, in 3rd person singular or plural, and with the indirect object pronouns), it has the following meanings:

1. To have something left or remaining:

  • Me quedan dos porciones de torta ¿quieres una? I have two slices of cake left, would you like one?
  • A la clase le quedan 25 min y luego podemos ir al parque. The class has 25 min remaining, and afterwards we can got to the park.

2. We use it to talk about the way a color, style or article of clothing fits or suits a person:

  • Estos pantalones me quedan bien. These pants fit me well.
  • Ese color no te queda bien. Deberías usar un color más oscuro. That color doesn’t suit you well. You should wear a darker color.


On the other hand, when we conjugate ‘quedar’ like a regular verb, we use to mean the following:

1. To make plans to meet up with someone:

  • Quedamos en el parque a las tres de la tarde. We made plans to meet up at the park at 3 pm.
  • Ellos quedaron en tomar un café el sábado pasado. They agreed to meet for a coffee last Saturday.

2. To talk about staying or remaining in one place; usually used in the reflexive ‘quedarse’:

  • Me quedé en casa el lunes porque estaba enferma. I stayed home on Monday because I was feeling sick.
  • Ellas se quedaron en la oficina trabajando hasta tarde. They stayed at the office working late.

3. To describe in general terms the distance or location of a place:

  • El museo queda muy lejos; será mejor ir en autobus. The museum is very far from here; it’s best if we take the bus.
  • ¿La biblioteca pública queda por aquí? Is the public library near by?

4. To discuss the good or bad impressions made by someone:

  • Juan llevó un vino muy bueno y quedó muy bien con sus futuros sue-alunamagros. Juan took them a really good wine and he made a very good impression on his future in-laws.
  • Ellos quedaron mal con el nuevo jefe al llegar tarde el primer día. They made a bad impression on the new boss by arriving late on their first day.
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