Many Spanish students are dumbfounded when they find out that Spanish doesn’t have a single word to mean “become” as it is in English. Check out these two examples:
1. I become frustrated when I don’t know how to do something.
2. I want to become a doctor.
In English, it’s nice and simple. But in Spanish it’s different!
1. Me frustro cuando no sei hacer algo. (I become frustrated when I don’t know how to do something). Note that the literal translation is “I frustrate myself …”
2. Quiero ser doctor. (I want to become a doctor). Note that the literal translation is “I want to be a doctor.”
The point is that there isn’t one single way to say “become” in Spanish. Here are three common ways:
Ponerse – Me pongo triste cuando te veo así. (I become sad when I see you like this.)
Hacerse – Te haces frustrado cada día. You become frustrated (you make yourself frustrated) every day.
Volverse (used more for something that takes a long time to accomplish) – Él se volvío un autor famoso. (He became a famous author.)
Many Spanish verbs when turned reflexive carry the meaning of “become.”
Me pongo frustrado cada día. I become frustrated every day.
Me frustro (the verb frustrar) cada día. I become frustrated every day.
Other verbs that follow this pattern:
enojar (to anger)
alegrar (to make happy)
There are other verbs that essentially mean to convert or transform into something:
Don’t be surprised if you come across other verbs or ways to say “become” in Spanish.