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The Portuguese Verb Ficar – Conjugation and Usage

Ficar is a high-frequency and versatile Portuguese verb that every language learner should master as soon as possible. 

Depending on the context, Ficar may mean ‘stay’, ‘get’, or ‘become’. Additionally, Ficar is used to indicate location, among other things.

Here’s a text snippet where Ficar is being used in several different ways:

Ontem não fui trabalhar e em vez disso fiquei em casa. A minha mulher, a Sofia, fez o mesmo e ficou comigo. Como a nossa casa fica perto de um parque, e como o tempo estava bom, aproveitamos para lá ir dar um passeio a pé. Ficamos relaxados sempre que vamos até ao parque. A Sofia levava uma blusa vermelha. Que bem que lhe fica! Ela é tão bonita que qualquer trapinho lhe fica bem. Voltamos para casa em boa hora pois o tempo tinha virado. Ficou tempo de chuva. Ficamos em casa o resto do dia. Foi um dia bem passado.Yesterday I didn’t go to work but stayed home instead. My wife Sofia did the same and stayed home with me. Since our house is near the park, and the weather was nice, we decided to go there to take a stroll. We always get relaxed every time we go to the park. Sofia wore a red blouse. It looks so good on her! She’s so beautiful that anything looks good on her. We came back home in good time as the weather had suddenly changed. It became rainy outside. We stayed home for the rest of the day. It was a well-spent day. 

Let’s take a closer look at it. Read on.

Idiomatically Rich Verbs

Conjugation

Here’s how we conjugate ficar in the Present and Past tenses:

Pronouns
Subject
Present tensePast tenses
Perfeito
Imperfeito*
Pronouns
– Reflex.
– Object
Euficofiquei
ficava
-me
Tuficasficaste
ficavas
-te
Você
Ela
ficaficou
ficava
-se
-lhe
Nósficamosficamos
ficávamos
-nos
Vocêsficamficaram
ficavam
-vos
Elasficamficaram
ficavam
-se
-lhes
Past Participle ficado
Present Participle
(Gerund)
ficando

* Learn more about the differences between Perfeito and Imperfeito past tenses: Portuguese Perfect vs. Imperfect Tense: Know When to Use Either.

Usage

Stay

We use ficar much as in ‘stay’ :

Vais ficar em casa este noite?
Are you staying home this evening?

Quando estive em Lisboa fiquei num hotel na baixa.
When I was in Lisbon, I stayed at a hotel downtown.

Fica onde estás, não te mexas!
Stay where you are, don’t move!

Fica bem e até à próxima.
Stay well and see you again.

Become

We use ficar to express the notion of ‘becoming, whether referring to the past, present, or future time:

Ela ficou destroçada com as notícias.
She became crushed by the news.

Fiquei triste quando soube que não vinhas.
I got sad when I realized you were not coming. 

O Diogo ficou calado o resto do dia.
Diogo remained silent for the rest of the day.

Ficaste zangado comigo?
Fico fulo sempre que me mentes.
– Did you get pissed at me?
– I get mad every time you lie to me.


A Catarina vai ficar contente por te ver.
Catarina will be glad to see you.

Ficou frio de repente.
It got cold suddenly.

Notice that the examples above imply an evanescent, immediate kind of ‘becoming’. If, on the other hand, we mean a more gradual process of transformation, we would use a different verb, namely tornar-se:

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