To Become

Spanish Verbs

There are several different Spanish equivalents for the English verb "to become," depending on several factors. (Note that in English, various verbs like "to get" and "to turn" are sometimes more idiomatic than the literal meaning "to become.")

Ponerse is followed by an adjective and indicates an involuntary physical or emotional change.

Me puse enfermo en Madrid.   I got sick in Madrid.
Ana se pone roja cuando habla.   Ana turns red when she talks.

Volverse is followed by an adjective and indicates a sudden, profound change.

¡Se volvió loco!   He went crazy!
Julio se ha vuelto imposible.   Julio has become impossible.

Hacerse and llegar a ser are followed by a noun or adjective and indicate a change brought about by effort.

Me hice médico.   I became a doctor.
¿Es posible hacerse rico en los EEUU?   Is it possible to get rich in the US?
¿Llegarás a ser abogado?   Are you going to be a lawyer?
Llegó a ser muy popular.   He became very popular.

Convertirse en and transformarse en are followed by a noun and usually indicate a change to a thing rather than a person.

La condición se convirtió en una emergencia médica.   The condition turned into a medical emergency.
La leche puede tranformarse en queso.   Milk can be turned into cheese.

There are also a number of Spanish verbs which express a specific change and tend to be somewhat more formal. When (se) is in parentheses, the verb may be used both intransitively and reflexively.

adelgazar(se)   to get thin
cansarse   to get tired
emocionarse   to get excited
enfadarse   to get angry
enfermar   to get sick
enflaquecer(se)   to get thin
enfurecerse   to become furious
engordar   to get fat
enloquecer(se)   to go mad
enmudecerse   to go mute
enojarse   to get angry
enorgullecerse   to become haughty
enriquecerse   to get rich
enrojecer(se)   to turn red
ensordecer   to go deaf
envejecer(se)   to get old
palidecer   to turn pale

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