Master the verb “to become” in Spanish

In Spanish there is not one single verb to say “to become”, there are several depending on the nature of the change involved, whether it is sudden or involuntary. The best way to learn when to use which verb is to remember specific examples. I have put together some key examples to help you master the verb “to become” in Spanish.

1. Hacerse
2. Ponerse
3. Volverse
4. Convertirse en
5. Other ways to express “to become”

1. Become = Hacerse
Hacerse + noun or adjective is used to express deliberate or voluntary changes. This may involve attaining a profession, social status or identity.

e.g.  Se hizo médico.  He became a doctor.
e.g.  Felipe se hizo una persona respetada.  Philip became a well-respected person.

Other examples of hacerse:

• Hacerse adulto – to become an adult.
e.g. Cuando te haces adulto tienes más responsabilidades.  When you become an adult, you have more responsibilities.

• Hacerse amigos – to become friends.
e.g. Nos hicimos amigos cuando nos conocimos en la Universidad.  We became friends when we met at University.

• Hacerse rico – to become rich.
e.g. Los ricos se hacen más ricos.  The rich become richer.

• Hacerse miembro/socio – to become a member.
e.g. Para hacerse miembro, hay que rellenar la ficha.  To become a member, you have to fill in the form.

• Hacerse famoso – to become famous.
e.g.  Se ha hecho famoso en Internet.  He/She has become famous on the Internet.

• Hacerse obvio – to become obvious.
e.g.  Se ha hecho obvio que se ha adelgazado.  It has become obvious that he/she has lost weight.

2. Become = Ponerse
Ponerse + adjective expresses an involuntary physical or emotional change which is sudden or temporary. It can refer to objects or people.

e.g.  Se puso triste.  He/She became sad.
e.g.  Me puse enferma en Madrid.  I became ill in Madrid.
e.g.  Se pone roja cuando dice mentiras.  He/She turns red when he tells lies.

• Ponerse caro – To become expensive.
e.g.  La vida se ha hecho muy cara en España.  Life has become very expensive in Spain.

• Ponerse de moda – To become fashionable.
e.g.  Se ha puesto de moda llevar pestañas postizas.  It has become fashionable to wear false eyelashes.

3. Become = Volverse
Volverse + adjective expresses an involuntary sudden change and normally refers to people rather than objects.

• Volverse loco – To go mad.
e.g.  Se volvió loco al ver a Tom Cruise.  She went mad on seeing Tom Cruise.

• Volverse distante – to become distant.
e.g. Se volvió distante cuando empezó su nuevo trabajo.  He/She became distant when she started her new job.

4. Become = Convertirse en
Convertirse en, is used for major changes involving things turning into something else.

e.g.  La tienda se ha convertido en un bar.  The shop has turned into a bar.
e.g.  La oruga se convirtió en una mariposa preciosa.  The caterpillar turned into a beautiful butterfly.

• Convertirse en hábito – to become a habit.
e.g.  La comida rápida se ha convertido en un hábito cada vez más extendido.  Fast food has become a more widespread habit.

• Convertirse en una persona mejor – to become a better person.
e.g.  Se ha convertido en una persona mejor después de dejar de fumar.  He/She has become a better person after giving up smoking.

• Convertirse en príncipe – to become a prince.
e.g.  La rana se convirtió en príncipe.  The frog turned into a prince.

5. Other ways to say “become”:

• Ser de: ¿Qué va a ser de mí?  What is going to become of me?

• Acostumbrarse a – to become accustomed to
e.g.  Me acostumbro a levantarme temprano.  I become used to getting up early.

• Aburrirse – to become bored
e.g.  Los niños se aburren en la clase.  The children get bored in class.

• Empeorar – to become worse
e.g.  La situación está empeorandoThe situation is becoming worse.

• Empezar a preocuparse – to become worried
e.g.  Empezó a preocuparse cuando no llegó el taxi.  He/She became worried when the taxi didn’t arrive.

• Enfadarse – to become angry
e.g.  El profesor se enfadó porque los alumnos no escuchaban.  The teacher became angry because the pupils weren’t listening.

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