If you are struggling to find the rights words to describe a change, this blog on Spanish verbs of transformation will be very useful! Our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem tells you about the Spanish verbs and the circumstances under which you are supposed to use each of them.

In Spanish there are several verbs to speak about transformation. That is, several Spanish verbs that we use to describe the change in quality, situation and state of a person or thing.

So, how can we pick the right verb? Firstly we have to consider the kind of change we are speaking about.

We will make the right choice by taking into account the following aspects of the transformation: duration, intention, the nature of change, result and process.

To simplifying things, let’s start with splitting these Spanish verbs into two groups. That is: verbs that indicate a change in quality and the ones that express a change of state.

1. Change in quality

To begin with, HACERSE, VOLVERSE, CONVERTIRSE and LLEGAR A SER are all verbs of becoming that indicate a change in quality. Therefore, their meaning is closer to “to be” (ser) as they express a transformation of characteristics of the subject.

Although all those Spanish verbs indicate change in quality, each of them describe other aspects of the process of change or the result. So, let’ see each of them in detail!

HACERSE

The use of hacerse implies the active participation of the subject in his own transformation. That means that the change is intentional or that the subject has taken part in it.

Specifically, we use hacerse to describe changes of religion, profession, nationality and ideology. Therefore the verb can be followed by either an adjective or a noun.

Lucas se ha hecho rico con su nueva invención = Lucas became rich because of his last invention

Pilar se ha hecho medica como su hermana = Pilar has become a doctor like her sister

Después de su viaje en Asia, Sonia se hizo budista = After her trip to India, Sonia became a Buddhist

VOLVERSE

In Spanish we use volverse to indicate that the change has occurred involuntary, without the active involvement of the subject. That can means that the change happened because of causes that are beyond his/her control.

Volverse can be followed by an adjective, like in the examples here below:

Desde que dejó a su pareja Miriam se ha vuelto más sociable = After breaking up with her boyfriend, Miriam has become more sociable

La resolución de conflictos se ha vuelto un tema muy importante en todos los sectores = Conflict resolution has become an important issue in all sectors

COVERTIRSE EN + noun

It refers to changes that occur quickly and unexpectedly. Also, we use convertirse en to express drastic changes and to refer to the transformation of natural elements in sciences.

Dicen que los alquimistas podían convertir los metales en oro = It is said that alchemists were able to turn any metals into gold

Su última obre se convirtió en el libro más vendido del año = Her last work became the best-selling book of the year

Todos los sueños de su infancia se han convertido en realidad = All her childhood dreams have become a reality

LLEGAR A SER

This verbal paraphrasis (here) refers to changes that have been occurring gradually, through a long process. Llegar a ser expresses positive transformations of the subject’s characteristics and condition.

Pablo quiere llegar a ser un escritor de éxito = Pablo wants to become a succesful writer

Después de tantos esfuerzos llegó a ser un científico de fama mundial = After so many efforts, he became a world-famous scientist

2. Change of state

PONERSE y QUEDAR are two verbs of becoming that indicate a change of state. Therefore, these Spanish verbs can be related to the verb estar (here), although their meaning focuses on the process rather than the results.

PONERSE

Ponerse refers to temporary physical or personality changes. This verb is used to refer to a changes that happen suddenly. The new state of the subject is also of a short duration.

Ana se puso muy pesada durante la reunión = Ana got very annoying at the meeting

Se puso contenta cuando vio su regalo de cumpleaños = She got very happy when she saw her birthday present

Besides the structure ponerse + adjective we can also use the structure

PONERSE + preposition + noun

Let’s see the following examples:

Luisa quiere ponerse en forma para el maratón de Junio = Luisa wants to get fit for June marathon

El patinete se ha vuelto un medio de transporte muy usado en las ciudades = The scooter has become a very commonly used means of transport in cities

QUEDARSE

The Spanish verbs quedarse emphasises the final result of the change of state that in most cases is permanent. In Spanish quedarse indicates that a situation, thing or person ended up in a different state than the initial one.

Después de tantas horas de clase se quedó afónica = She ended up hoarse from all the hours of lessons she delivered

Me quedé alucinada cuando vi tu obra de arte = I was amazed when I saw your artwork

Also, in Spanish quedarse is used to express permanent physical changes.

Después del accidente de coche se quedó coja = After the car accident, she ended up cripple.

Our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem hopes that this blog will help you to master Spanish verbs.

Finally, we remind you that we continue to teach Spanish online. If you want to know more, about our online Spanish classes, do not hesitate to contact us (contact).

Stay tuned!