There are several ways to translate the verb “to become” from English into Spanish. This is definitely one of the most difficult points for Spanish students because of the different “to becomes” that must be used in different situations. Many students find this word overwhelming or frustrating when they find out that Spanish has no single verb covering “to become.”
In this article, we will take a look at the verb “to become” and three verbs in Spanish - hacerse, convertirse en and ponerse - that are used in situations in which “to become” would be used in English. This will help you identify the situations in which each should be used, and the ways this particular verb is important as part of your Spanish vocabulary.
This word comes from verb “hacer,” which in English could be translated as “to make yourself”. Common examples are:
- Hacerse rico / to become rich.
This is a common expression usually used in Spanish to refer to people who are trying to become rich or are already rich in some way.
- Hacerse actor / to become an actor (or any other profession).
This is one of the most common ways of using the verb in Spanish - referring to people who have studied in a specific area to became a professional worker in that area.
- Hacerse miembro / to become a member.
It is common to hear this expression in groups where you need a membership in order to become part of them; whether it is an organization, a store or any other group, the same expression is always used.
- Hacerse obvio / to become obvious.
This is probably the most uncommon situation in which the verb “to become” is used in Spanish. It is used to express moments in which something looks very obvious and there is no question as to what is happening.
- Hacerse adulto / to become an adult.
In Spanish and probably in every language, people usually hear this expression when they are young and someone older than you tells you that, someday, you will also be an adult. It is a funny expression, but also used very often among Spanish speakers.
- Hacerse amigos / to become friends.
This will definitely be one of the most common phrases you will hear while speaking Spanish to a native speaker. Spanish speakers like to meet new people whenever they have the chance. Spanish speakers consider anyone who shares some information with them to be a friend.
2. Convertirse en
This is used when people want to say that something has changed after a specific moment, for example:
- Convertirse en una mejor persona / to become a better person.
It means to become someone different after you started doing something different in your life. A very good example of when people use this expression is:
El está leyendo muchos libros de auto ayuda para convertirse en una mejor persona.
He is reading a lot of self-help books in order to become a better person.
- Convertirse en habito / to become a habit
Spanish-speaking people use this expression to refer to an activity that has been done very often and now, as a result, is a habit.
Even though the literal translation of “ponerse” is “to put,” it can be used as “to become” in the following situations.
- Ponerse serio / to become serious.
A way to say that something has become more formal than it used to be. An example would be:
Entonces él se puso muy serio y nos contó la verdad.
Then he became very serious and told us the truth.
- Ponerse de moda / to become fashionable.
This expression is more commonly used among young people who are always paying attention to new things. An example is:
Es interesante ver como algunas modas del pasado se vuelven a poner de moda otra vez.
It is interesting to see how styles from the past become fashionable again.
Getting your head around how to say “become” is definitely difficult for new students of Spanish, but it is also very interesting because, in order to dominate its meanings, students have to practice creating sentences and also memorize the different situations in which each of the verbs can be used.