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It can mean one of these (and maybe more)
1 - Stay (movable things stay in places) - O homem fica em casa (the man stays at home)
2 - Is located (unmovable things are located somewhere) - A casa fica na próxima rua (the house is on the next street)
3 - Turn/become (there is an adjective/a quality involved) - O homem fica amarelo (the man turns yellow)
A more extensive guide on ficar: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/2233756
I found this explanation helpful: http://www.mybrazilianportuguese.com/2010/07/mais-3-significados-bem-uteis-do-verbo-ficar-3-more-useful-meanings-of-ficar/
Updated link per Jheaven Thanks! http://www.mybrazilianportuguese.com/?s=ficar&;x=0=0
I can't access that. Oh, I cut off the excess and went to mybrazilianportuguese.com and it is like a newsletter that is changed from time to time. So, I missed the article you wanted us to see, but there were new articles to read. Very interesting and probably helpful, but not with this particular lesson.
Here is a dictionary site with "ficar" searched: http://dictionary.reverso.net/portuguese-english/ficar
It means the man gets pale, white, yellow, as a result of a strong emotion, probably fear.
There are other colors a man can turn.
"Roxo de fome" (purple because of hunger)
"Azul de frio" (blue because of cold)
"Vermelho de vergonha" (red because of shame)
"Branco de medo" (White because of fear)
Verde - probably ate bad food.
Interesting! Some of these are used in English, some are not. The only time I have ever heard "he turned yellow" was to describe some medical problem, such as jaundice. We don't use it in US English to describe being pale, at least not in the Midwest. For that, we would use "white."
I actually once did see a man's face turn color. It was at a Chinese restaurant where I was working many years ago as a dishwasher. The boss and one of the cooks got into an argument but it was all in Chinese so I had no idea what was being said. I could only tell by the tone of voice that it was getting pretty ugly and dangerous. The boss was sitting in a chair at a table and the cook was holding a cleaver in his hand in front of the boss and saying something in Chinese, which sounded pretty dangerous, but, again, I had no idea what he was saying. The color went out of my boss' face. His face turned a shade of yellowish green. I was just standing there, looking at them. My boss must have realized I didn't understand Chinese because he said to me (while keeping his eyes on the cook), "Get out! Go in front!" As soon as he said that to me, the cook said something in Chinese to him, which sounded very dangerous, from the tone. I don't know what he was saying.
So, I, a waitress, and the other girl who worked in the kitchen, were standing by the door which leads to the kitchen, listening to them fighting. The waitress poked her head inside and said to the boss, "Do you want me to call the police?" but he just yelled, "Stay out!" After a few minutes, we heard a commotion and then the boss came out, calmly, with a big smile on his face, with his cup of tea to go put hot water in it. Needless to say, that cook never showed his face around there again.
thanks for the explanation! I was confused about the meaning as well...in Dutch you can turn pale if you are sick or scared, red of shame, or black if you are lying/quilty. A blue face also stands for cold. Yellow&green (combination) stands for jealousy, but it is not really used in a sentence like this one.
I agree Manuhalo, why is it necessary to guess meanings? Sure, I can go off to google or wiki or whatever but that's not the point. The translation given was "stays" so I accept "stays" otherwise I could try and guess a dozen different verbs. "The man appears yellow", "the man avoids yellow", "the man buys yellow"...all wrong but all making as much sense. Also when I look at the accepted answer again the options are "the man stays yellow" and "the man goes yellow" so "fica" means stays and goes!
The Portuguese verb "ficar" is very useful. It has several practical meanings, which are mentioned in the discussion here. Allow me to add some more: 1. Ficar calado--to be or to remain silent/quiet E.g.: Roberto fica calado durante todo o tempo. (Roberto is quiet all the time. ) 2. Ficar quieto--to be quiet E.g.: Fica quieto por favor, Roberto. (Be quiet please, Roberto. ) The verb "ficar" is also used with the adjective "doente" , in English sick/ill. For example, in Portuguese, one can say or write: Luis fica doente agora. (Luis is sick now. ) In the past tense: Luis ficou doente a semana passada. (Luis got sick last week.) In the future tense: ficará. For example, in Portuguese, the doctor might tell Luis: Vou receitar um remedinho e dentro de uma semana você ficará bom. (I'm going to prescribe some medication and you will be fine in a week.) So once again we have an example of the usefulness of this little verb.
The progressive tense in Portuguese is different from English. In Portuguese, present progressive means it is happening AT THIS VERY MOMENT. In English, we can use present progressive where simple present or future also work. In Portuguese, "Vou a casa" would translate as "I go home" or "I am going home." If I am actually going home at this very moment (I am moving toward home), THEN I could say "Vou indo a casa" (present progressive). In English, if we say, "I am going home" it could mean I am planning to go home, which would translate to "Vou a casa" (present tense) or "Ire' a casa" (future tense). Or it could mean I am actually moving toward home at this very moment, which would translate "Vou indo a casa" (present progressive)
In American English, when a person is called "yellow," it means that they are a coward.
It is also kind of an "old west" phrase: "That yellow-bellied coward didn't even show up to the duel."
In modern culture you would be more likely to hear someone called "a chicken." "Don't be a chicken, just do it!"
So it would seem that "O homem fica amarelo" would describe someone turning cowardly, like someone who had a tough appearance "chickening out" when things got too serious.
I was marked wrong for using the present progressive tense. (The man is turning yellow.) The correction was: "The man turns" yellow, which is correct; nevertheless, I should not be marked wrong for using the present perfect tense---the man is turning yellow. (The present tense in Portuguese can translate into the English present progressive tense satisfactorily. )
"To go yellow " as a translation is not as good as "to turn yellow. " The man turns red; the man turns yellow. A good translation for the Portuguese sentence here: O homem fica amarelo. (In English one can say: The leaves go from green to red. In connection with a person, however, the use of the verb go doesn't work so well, in my opinion.)
In Portuguese, one can also say: "Tornar amarelo". "Tornar" is translated by the word "turn" in English. In this case, we get: The man turns yellow.