The verb ‘ficar’ in Portuguese Posted by on Dec 21, 2016 in Brazilian Profile, Grammar, Learning

O verbo ‘ficar’ em português

Olá, gente! Hey, you guys!

Have you ever come across the word “ficar”? If so, you may have noticed that is very common in Brazil and we use it constantly. But it doesn’t always mean the same thing!

Like in English, Portuguese has many versatile verbs that have multiple meanings that change depending on context. You don’t always get this on textbooks, because it can sometimes be colloquial, so keep that in mind.  

Mas não fiquei chateado! But don’t get upset!

This post will explain how this word can be used and the different ways to employ it so you can learn how to identify them.

Ficar can indicate change, a process of becoming. In the sense that something is getting different. Take a look at the examples below:

  • Meu irmão ficou doente depois que pegou chuva (My brother got sick after being caught in the rain)
  • Meu pai ficou muito preocupado quando perdeu o emprego (My father got really worried when he lost his job)
  • Eu fico bêbada só com uma cerveja (I get drunk with just a beer)
  • Minha mãe ficou cansada de tanto trabalhar (My mom got tired from so much work)
  • Meu cabelo ficou todo molhado com a chuva (My hair got all wet from the rain)

Note: these are different from: ela está chateada (he is upset), ele está preocupado (he is worried), eles estão felizes (they are happy), because they indicate a present state

But ficar can also signal at something that stays or remains, indicating permanence. As follows:

  • Você fica linda com esse vestido vermelho (You look great in that red dress)
  • Estou tentando estudar, fique em silêncio (I’m trying to study, stay quiet)
  • Minha filha às vezes fica horas no telefone com o namorado (Sometimes my daughter spends hours at the phone with her boyfriend)
  • Os alunos ficaram sentados durante a palestra (The students remained seated during the lecture)
  • Fiquei duas horas na fila do banco (I spent two hours in line at the bank)
  • Quando meus pais saem pra trabalhar, eu fico sozinho (When my parents leave for work, I stay alone)
  • Quando você vier para minha cidade, você pode ficar aqui em casa (When you come into town, you can stay in my house)
  • Até quando você vai ficar na Europa? (How long are you going to stay in Europe?)
  • Meus pais ficaram em um ótimo hotel em Paris (My parents stayed at a great hotel in Paris)
  • Ontem eu fiquei no escritório até tarde (I stayed late at the office last night)
  • Estou cansada, hoje eu vou ficar em casa (I’m tired, so I’m gonna stay home tonight)

Keeping something, in the sense of possession, is a possible meaning for ficar as well:

  • Depois do término, ele ficou com os livros dela (After the breakup, he kept her books)
  • Pode ficar com o troco! (You can keep the change!)
  • Acho que minha jaqueta ficou no seu carro (I think I left my jacket in your car)

Ficar can have the sense of location, of showing where something is:

  • Onde fica o banheiro? – Fica no fim do corredor (Where is the bathroom? It’s in the end of the hall)
  • Minha cidade fica a 100 km do Rio de Janeiro (My city is 100 km away from Rio de Janeiro)
  • A cidade de Salvador fica na Bahia  (The city of Salvador is in Bahia)

The word ficar may also mean a final result or something that turned out a certain way:

  • Não gostei do novo corte de cabelo daquela atriz, ficou feio (I didn’t like that actress’ new haircut, it’s ugly)
  • Você acha que essa saia ficou muito curta? (Do you think this skirt is too short?)
  • O nosso casamento vai ficar muito caro (Our wedding is coming out to be very expensive)
  • Eles pesquisaram bem os preços e a viagem acabou ficando barata (They did good research on the prices and their trip ended up being cheap)

Ficar is a slang to date or hook up with a person:

  • Não quis ficar com ele quando descobri que ele já tinha namorada (I didn’t want to hook up with him anymore after I found out he already had a girlfriend)
  • Justin Bieber estava ficando com Selena Gomez em 2015 (Justing Bieber was dating Selena Gomez in 2015)
  • A gente parou de ficar depois que ela se mudou de cidade (We stopped dating when she moved out of town)
  • Eu não saio da boate enquanto eu não fico com alguém (I don’t leave the club until I hook up with someone)

Can you think of any other meanings for ficar?

É isso por hoje. Foi difícil? Não fique nervoso, vai ficar tudo bem!

This is it for today. Was it hard? Don’t be nervous, everything will be alright!

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  1. Marcus:

    Such a magnificent post. The verb ficar is such a useful verb in Portuguese and one that continues to baffle me at times.
    This post is magnificent as I just stated, but I’m pretty sure you had a typo in bêbada in the first sentence and left out mãe in the second one.
    Eu fico bêbeda só com uma cerveja (I get drunk with just a beer)
    Minha ficou cansada de tanto trabalhar (My mom got tired from so much work)
    Also, you wrote yo instead of to in:
    Até quando você vai ficar na Europa? (How long are you going yo stay in Europe?)
    Just trying to help fix typos so this post can shine even brighter in perfection.

    • carol:

      @Marcus Hey, Marcus.
      I know, ficar is very multiple. We’ll probably run a second segment on the word next month.
      Whoops! Sorry about those typos. I fixed them now. I appreciate the heads up!
      Thanks for commenting and reading our blog.