Sergio Ramírez, Cervantes PrizeSergio Ramírez, Sandinista revolutionary, politician, journalist, novelist and Nicaraguan. This is the new Cervantes Prize winner’s profile, the most important Spanish literature award. The first Nicaraguan awarded ever, has opted for social commitment, questioning our reality and searching the historical models of literature and art in his works.

“Cuando uno no es Quijote, se convierte en Sancho” (when you are not Quixote, you become Sancho”). With these words, Ramírez tries to show his adventurous style of life, prefering taking risks rather than become a conformist.

Changes are not easy, not only in our daily life, but also when we need to express them in a language. The Nicaraguan writer chose convertirse en to talk about that evolution, but we have many of these verbs. We know that our students on often struggle with selecting the correct one. Because of that, we’ll learn some examples today.


 It means an unexpected change, usually permanent or long-lasting and negative. It’s often followed by adjectives and refers to different states. For example:

  • No mires directamente al sol; puedes quedarte ciego (don’t look directly at the sun. You can go blind).
  • Al ver al intruso, se quedó paralizado (after seeing the intruder, he became paralyzed).


 It refers to the result of an involuntary change, but deep and long-lasted. It may have a negative touch. It’s usually followed by adjectives of the personality. For example:

  • A Juan le han ascendido. Desde entonces se ha vuelto muy engreído (Juan was promoted. Since then, he’s become very self-centered).
  • ¡No toques eso! Puedes quemarte. ¿Te has vuelto loco? (Don’t touch that! You might get burnt. Are you crazy?).


 The change is involuntary but momentary. We use it for speaking about appearance, health or even mood. For example:

  • Esa chica te está mirando y te has puesto colorado (That girl is watching you and you blushed).
  • Mamá se puso muy contenta cuando te vio ayer (Mum cheered up when she saw you yesterday).


 In this case, it means a voluntary change, frequently because of a process. It covers many topics: religion and ideologies, professions, age… For example:

  • Después de su viaje a Marruecos, Laura se ha hecho musulmana (After her trip to Morocco, Laura has become a Muslim).
  • ¿Sabías que mi hermano se va a hacer taxista? No encuentra trabajo en su sector. (Did you know that my brother is going to become a taxi driver? He can’t find a job in his sector).

 Despite the fact that there are more of these verbs, we think this is a good starting to be introduced to this topic. Human beings need to evolve and change. Why don’t you start that evolution learning Spanish? If you please, reserve a free trial lesson via Skype here. From home, at any time and with tailor-made and one to one courses. No seas Sancho, hazte Quijote (don’t be a Sancho; become a Quixote).


Image: Ramirez, Sergio MBFI 2011, by Rodrigo Fernández, @Wikipedia