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I've heard several different words used for 'to become' in Spanish. Obviously sometimes there are specific verbs to use, like 'enfadarse' means to become angry, but often you need to use a verb that just means 'to become' along with a noun or adjective along with it.

Some of the more prevalent are hacerse, ponerse, convertirse en, etc. How can I learn to use these, and other words when necessary, to translate 'to become'? Are there some general rules to follow or will I need to memorize all of them on a case-by-case basis?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

As Randolf Rincón-Fadul says, it depends. e Learn Spanish Language contains a page where it shows some of the possible cases of translating 'to become'.

Also, I found a PDF file titled 23 Ways to Translate Become in Spanish, check it out.

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+1 for the PDF link – razpeitia Nov 16 '11 at 17:38

My 2 cents: Depends.

Two related examples:

to become an actor >> convertirse en actor

to become famous >> volverse famoso

It depends if its kind of a transformation (physical, educational and so on) you use "convertirse"; if it's something more light then you use "hacerse o volverse".

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I become sad => Me pongo triste. – dusan Nov 16 '11 at 1:32
@dusan Thanks! Didn't think about it :S – Randolf Rincón Fadul Nov 16 '11 at 1:34
@dusan normally you won't hear "become" sad, but rather something like "I get sad..." or "it makes me sad...", or even using the verb "it saddens me...". – neizan Mar 7 '14 at 12:46

I was surprised "llegar a ser" didn't make into the conversation already. While all the other forms mentioned are very common, I've heard this one plenty of times, and I think it's a useful one to know. This article mentions that "llegar a ser" "...typically suggests a long or difficult period of change to become something", which in my personal experience sounds reasonable. Furthermore, the comments in that same article concerning the formulation llegar a + infinitive are interesting.

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