Spanish Grammar

Index

Spanish Grammar A1 ⮟
Ser and Estar in Spanish for Beginners
Está and Hay in Spanish to Express Location
The Present Indicative in Spanish
The verb querer in Spanish: how to use it
The Verb Gustar in Spanish
Demonstratives in Spanish and Adverbs of Place
Possessive Adjectives in Spanish
The Present Continuous in Spanish: Estar + Gerund
The Gerund in Spanish: Form and Basic Uses
Spanish Grammar A2 ⮟
Present Perfect Indicative in Spanish
The Past Simple in Spanish
The Preterite Imperfect Indicative in Spanish
Indicative past tenses in Spanish
How to Express Future in Spanish
How to use por and para in Spanish
Possessive Pronouns in Spanish
Spanish Grammar B1 ⮟
The Pluperfect Indicative in Spanish
The Future Simple in Spanish
The Conditional Simple in Spanish
The imperative mood in Spanish
The present subjunctive in Spanish
Verbal Periphrasis in Spanish
General Rules of Accentuation in Spanish
Spanish Grammar B2 ⮟
Advanced Uses of Conditional Simple
The Future Perfect in Spanish
The Conditional Perfect in Spanish
How do I use the past imperfect subjunctive?
The Pluperfect Subjunctive in Spanish
How to express probability in Spanish
Conditional Clauses in Spanish
Verbs of Change in Spanish
Reported Speech in Spanish
Spanish Grammar C1 ⮟
The passive Voice in Spanish
Adverbial Clauses of Manner in Spanish
Adverbial Clauses of Cause in Spanish
Clauses of Purpose in Spanish
Conditional Conjunctions in Spanish
Uses of the Pronoun SE with Syntactic Function
Uses of the Pronoun Se as a Verb Mark

Verbs of Change in Spanish

Verbs of change in Spanish express a transformation of the subject of the sentence. This change can be physical, about the personality, ideology, mood… Most of these verbs are used in their reflexive form (with the pronouns me, te, se, nos, os); this is because the subject is directly affected by the verbal action.

Among the most used verbs of change in Spanish we can find the following ones: ponerse, quedarse, hacerse, volverse, convertirse, transformarse, and llegar a ser. Each one has its particularities and the changes they express can be voluntary, involuntary, progressive, sudden, permanent and temporary.

Let’s start with verbs that express changes in the state or situation of the subject. In this way, they are related to the verb estar. But before we continue, we recommend that you review the basic differences between the verbs ser and estar in Spanish. You already know that you have at your disposal our free grammar resources section of Spanishviaskype.com.

Verbs of Change in Spanish: ponerse

The verb ponerse expresses a change of mood, physical or health. Also, the transformation occurs suddenly and involuntarily. It is usually followed by adjectives.

Cuando tenía que hablar en público siempre me ponía muy nervioso. Recuerdo una vez que, incluso, me puse enfermo unas horas antes.

However, it is also possible to use it with nouns and in periphrases. If you don’t remember what verbal periphrases are, read this article before continuing:

Lo mejor para ponerse en forma es ponerse a hacer deporte ahora mismo.

The Verb Quedarse to Express Change

The verb quedarse, on the other hand, refers to a change from one state to another, the latter one remaining permanent or lasting. Also, the transformation is usually physical and involuntary, often negative for the subject. It is also followed by adjectives or with preposition plus nouns.

Debido al accidente, mi amigo se ha quedado ciego. Cuando me lo dijeron, me quedé de piedra.

As we said before, verbs of change in Spanish ponerse and quedarse are related to the verb estar, since they express changes of state. Thus, we can make the following equivalences:

  • Me puse enfermo = estuve enfermo

  • Se ha quedado ciego = está ciego

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Next, we are going to see some verbs that are related to the verb ser, since they express a transformation in the characteristics or qualities of the subject.

Verbs of Change in Spanish: Volverse

Volverse expresses a change in the subject’s personality. This transformation is involuntary and often long-lasting. Like the verb quedarse, it usually has a negative nuance. It is usually followed by adjectives describing a person’s character.

Recuerdo que mi hermano no era así; se ha vuelto muy egoísta. Aunque, quizá sea mi percepción; después de la pandemia, todos nos hemos vuelto un poco paranoicos.

The Verb hacerse in Spanish

Another of the most commonly used verbs of change in Spanish is hacerse. Unlike the previous verbs, hacerse expresses a voluntary change of the subject. This transformation is usually the consequence of a process initiated by the subject. It usually refers to changes in profession, age, ideology, religion, state… It is usually followed by adjectives or nouns.

Mis padres se han hecho budistas. Dicen que es la mejor manera de estar conectados con su espíritu. Incluso se han hecho profesores de meditación. Tienen muchos alumnos. Si siguen así, a lo mejor se hacen ricos.

Changes with the Verbs Convertirse and Transformarse

The verbs convertirse and transformarse express radical change. They are widely used to express physical transformations in science. They can also express an implausible or marvelous change. They are used with the preposition en and a noun.

Este “youtuber” se ha convertido en un fenómeno de masas. Algunos seguidores seguro que piensan que puede convertir el agua en vino. La verdad es que las redes sociales se han transformado en una droga para muchos.

The Periphrasis Llegar a Ser to Express Change

Among the verbs of change in Spanish, there is a verbal periphrasis: llegar a ser. This construction expresses a transformation that is the consequence of a progressive and positive process for the subject. It can be formed with an adjective or a noun.

Después de mucho esfuerzo, he llegado a ser un músico reconocido. Si continúo así, puedo llegar a ser famoso y rico.

In the same way as we did above with the verb estar, let’s check whether these verbs of change can be equivalent to the verb ser.

  • Se ha vuelto egoísta = ahora es egoísta

  • Se ha hecho budista = ahora es budista

  • Se ha convertido en un fenómeno = es un fenómeno

  • He llegado a ser músico = soy músico

As we have seen, the verbs of change in Spanish have very similar meanings and their differences are limited to small nuances. Therefore, our recommendation is to use them in context. To do this, it is best to take classes with well-trained native teachers who can help you master these verbal forms. With practice and perseverance llegarás a ser un hablante competente.

Infographic about the verbs of change in Spanish