When to use ficar instead of ser?

It’s hard enough for a native English speaker to learn the rules for “ser” and “estar” as options for “to be”. It’s unclear to me when “ficar” is preferred to “ser”. The lessons I’m doing now involve common expressions used when traveling, e.g.

Onde fica o metro?
Sabe onde fica este restaurante?
Fica muito longe?

These all use 'fica" while my first inclination would to use “é”, such as was done in these exercises:

É ali ao virar da esquina.
É perto daqui?

Are there specific rules and/or recommendations when to use ficar for “to be” instead of “ser” or are they interchangeable?


@pwsteele, ser and ficar are only used similarly when discussing locations, as is the case in all your examples. In these contexts, you can consider them generally interchangeable - so, every sentence would be just as correct with the verb ser :slight_smile:

The different uses of ficar are explained in this Learning Note: Ficar: A Portuguese Verb with Many Meanings | Practice Portuguese

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