Spanish verbs of change – “ponerse, volverse…”

Welcome to our grammar lesson about Spanish verbs of change and transformation.

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

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to use the most common verbs of change in sentences.

Let’s do it!

List of verbs of change

The most common Spanish verbs of change and transformation are:

convertirse en
transformarse en

All those verbs can be translated as “to become”, “to turn into”… or other similar English expressions.

Note: All 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 in the sentence.

Click here to review the placement of reflexive pronouns.

In the rest of the lesson, we will learn the slight differences between these verbs, providing example sentences.


Characteristics of ponerse:

  • it expresses a rather quick change


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.
We have got sick.


Characteristics of volverse:

  • it expresses a slower, gradual change


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.

Con los años me he vuelto optimista.
Over the years I have become optimistic.


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


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.


Characteristics of quedarse:

  • it can mean “to end up”, “to be left…” or something similar
  • it expresses the result of some process or experience


Yo me quedo solo.
I end 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


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.

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