To Become or Not to Become? Posted by on Mar 10, 2008 in Spanish Vocabulary

Spanish is widely known for having various ways of expressing some ideas. The verb “to become” is one of them. It takes many forms depending on several factors. Here are some uses:

1. If you want to indicate physical or emotional change, often involuntary, use ponerse. (Yo me pongo, yo me puse, yo me he puesto, etc.), followed by an adjective.

Me pongo loco cuando mi esposa hace eso. (I go crazy when my wife does that.)
Se puso rojo de rabia cuando me vio. (He went red with anger when he saw me.)

2. If we´re talking about a sudden and often deep change, we use volverse. (Yo me vuelvo, yo me volví, yo me he vuelto, etc.), followed by an adjective.

Después de empezar a ganar mucho dinero, María se volvió muy arrogante. (After she started making a lot of money, María became very arrogant.)
Juan se volvió muy responsable cuando murió su padre. (Juan became very responsible when his dad died.)

3. Hacerse and llegar a ser indicate a change caused by an effort, and are followed either by a noun or an adjective.

Se hizo médico. (He became a doctor. [indicating he possibly had to put himself through Med school])
Se hizo rico de la noche a la mañana. (He became rich overnight.)
Con su último álbum, ese grupo ha llegado a ser muy popular. (After their latest album, that group became very popular.)
Era analfabeto, pero llegó a ser Presidente de su país. (He was illiterate, but he became the president of his country.)

4. Transformarse and convertirse talk about changes in things and are usually followed by a noun.

La fiesta se convirtió en un jaleo tan grande que tuvieron que llamar a la policía. (The party became such a mess that they had to call the police.)
La leche puede transformarse en queso. (Milk can be turned into cheese.)

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