Spanish Verbs of Becoming – “Ponerse, Volverse, Hacerse…”

Spanish Verbs of Becoming

There are several verbs in Spanish that serve to express the idea of a change or transformation: of becoming something. We can call them verbs of becoming.

The most frequent Spanish verbs of becoming are:

ponerse
volverse
hacerse
quedarse
convertirse en
transformarse en

Although the all refer to a change or transformation, they have slightly different meanings and uses. In this grammar lesson, we will learn the peculiarities of each verb, providing example sentences.

Grammar Note: These Verbs are Reflexive

The verbs of becoming that we will study in this lesson are all reflexive. That means every time we use them, we need to place the proper reflexive pronoun in the right spot. Click here to review Spanish Reflexive Verbs and Pronouns.

Ponerse

Characteristics of “ponerse”:

  • It can mean “to become, to get, to turn…”
  • Points to a sudden change.
  • It introduces and adjective (or a phrase that is equivalent to an adjective).

Example sentences:

El semáforo se pone verde.
The traffic light turns green.

Nos hemos puesto enfermos a la vez.
We have got sick at the same time.

Me puse colorado.
I blushed. (I became red)

Me puse como un tomate.
I blushed bright red (I became like a tomato)

Volverse

Characteristics of “volverse”:

  • It can mean “to become, to get, to turn…”
  • Points to a slower, gradual change.
  • It introduces and adjective, or a noun phrase.

Example sentences:

Londres se ha vuelto muy cara.
London has become very expensive.

Antes era optimista, pero con el tiempo me he vuelto pesimista.
I used to be optimistic, but with time I have become pessimistic.

Max se volvió un gato muy juguetón.
Max became a very playful cat.

Hacerse

Characteristics of “hacerse”:

  • It can mean “to become, to get, to turn…”
  • Points to a personal change that tends to be about money, profession, religion or ideology.
  • Almost always introduces an adjective or the name of a profession

Example sentences:

Nos hemos hecho ricos.
We have got rich.

Felipe se ha hecho policía.
Felipe has become a policeman.

Mi amigo se hizo budista.
My friend became buddhist.

Ellos se hicieron anarquistas.
They became anarchists.

Quedarse

Characteristics of “quedarse”:

  • It can mean “to end up”, “to be left…” or something similar.
  • Points to the result of some process or event, with potentially lasting consequences.
  • It introduces and adjective (or a phrase that is equivalent to an adjective).

Example sentences:

Me quedé solo.
I ended.

Te quedaste calvo.
You went bald.

María se ha quedado embarazada.
María has got pregnant.

Pablo se quedó con cara de tonto.
Pablo was left looking stupid.

Convertirse en – Transformarse en

Characteristics of these two verbs:

  • It can mean “to become”, “to turn into”, “to transform into”.
  • Points to a change or transformation that tends to be radical, and sometimes entails a change in form or even in nature.
  • It introduces a noun, or a noun with adjectives.

Example sentences:

El agua se convierte en hielo.
The water turns into ice.

La leyenda dice que él se convirtió en piedra.
The legend says that he turned into stone.

La madera se transformó en oro.
The wood transformed into gold.