One verb at a time

Costa Levante News - - BASIC SPANISH -

cia, se quedó atónito” (When he heard the news he was as­ton­ished). Here “quedarse” car­ries a fur­ther mean­ing which is “to re­main” or “to be left” – so we could trans­late the sen­tence “Cuando oyó la noti­cia, se quedó atónito” (When he heard the news he was left in an as­ton­ished state”). As you can see, we are al­ready mov­ing away from some­thing that is eas­ily trans­lat­able into English. A very com­mon col­lo­quial ex­pres­sion when we are shocked by some­thing is “quedarse helado/a” which would be some­thing like “frozen to the spot”. “Cuando me dijo eso, me quedé helada” (When he said that to me, I was left frozen to the spot). I’m try­ing to avoid the word “gob-smacked” but ac­tu­ally that is prob­a­bly the ex­pres­sion that best con­veys the idea.

I’m go­ing to move straight on now to the use of “quedar” in its non-re­flex­ive form. This is used all the time to talk about so­cial ar­range­ments. As you are fully aware, the Span­ish are gen­er­ally highly so­cia­ble peo­ple, but at the same time, they are rather averse to mak­ing fixed ar­range­ments. Whereas I carry a di­ary and make a note of so­cial meet­ing in two weeks, in­clud­ing time and place, the Span­ish will make loose ar­range­ments, to be con­firmed or changed much nearer the time. This is all sorted out us­ing the verb “quedar”. “¿A qué hora quedamos?” (What time did we ar­range to meet?) “¿Dónde quedamos?” (Where did we ar­range to meet?). “No puedo, he quedado con mi her­mano” (I can’t – make it – I’ve ar­ranged to meet my brother). “¿Quedamos para mañana?” (Shall we ar­range to meet to­mor­row?) “Luego te llamo y quedamos” (I’ll phone you in a while and we’ll ar­range some­thing). So you see, to be cool, use “quedar”.

Me quedé dormida

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