Spanish verbs of change – “ponerse, volverse…”

Verbs of Change in Spanish

Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish verbs of change, transformation or becoming.

In this lesson, we will learn the most important verbs of change and how to use them.

Two sentences with Spanish verbs of change
Two sentences with verbs of change

You’ll find example sentences with each verb.

Let’s do it!

Verbs of change and transformation – List

The most common Spanish verbs of change are:

ponerse
volverse
hacerse
quedarse
convertirse en
transformarse en

All those verbs can be translated as “to become”, “to turn into”… or other English expressions that express a change or transformation.

Note: These verbs are reflexive

All verbs in the list above are reflexive.

That means every time we use them, we need to place a reflexive pronoun somewhere.

Click here to review the placement of reflexive pronouns.


In the rest of the lesson, we will study the precise meaning and use of each verb, providing example sentences.

ponerse

Characteristics of ponerse:

  • it expresses a rather quick change

Examples:

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

Me pongo colorado.
I blush. (I “become red”)

Te pones como un tomate.
You blush bright red. (You “become like a tomato”)

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

volverse

Characteristics of volverse:

  • it expresses a slower, gradual change

Examples:

Con el tiempo, estos perros se vuelven muy cariñosos.
With time, these dogs become very affectionate.

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

Antes era optimista, pero con los años me he vuelto pesimista.
I used to be optimistic, but over the years I have become pessimistic.

hacerse

Characteristics of hacerse:

  • it expresses a personal change that is usually about money, profession, religion or ideology
  • it tends to introduce an adjective or the name of a profession

Examples:

Nos hacemos ricos.
We get rich.

Felipe se ha hecho policía.
Felipe has become a police officer.

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
  • it expresses the result of some process or experience

Examples:

Yo me quedé solo.
I ended up alone.

Tu te quedas calvo.
You go bald.

María se ha quedado embarazada.
María has got pregnant.

Pablo se queda con cara de tonto.
Pablo is left looking stupid.

convertirse en – transformarse en

Characteristics of these two verbs:

  • they express a drastic change or transformation
  • they tend to introduce a noun

Examples:

El agua se convierte en hielo.
Water turns into ice.

Él se convierte en lobo todas las noches.
He turns into a wolf every night.

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