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Ponerse vs. Volverse + adjective meaning "to become"

 

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Old May 31, 2010, 05:43 AM
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Question Ponerse vs. Volverse + adjective meaning "to become"

I am having a somewhat difficult time distinguishing between when to use "ponerse + adjective" vs. "volverse + adjective" for "to become".

The question has been asked here at Tomisimo previously, but always in Spanish, and I can't really follow the question or answers. I have also been trying to figure this out with RAE, etc., and am still not finding it. Would it be possible to explain to me in English....?

My workbook says that "ponerse + adjective" expresses a change of an emotional or physical nature, and that "volverse + adjective" expresses an involuntary or sudden change.

But in the following sentences, I don't understand why it's the one and not the other:
- Marla se vuelve muda cuando le hablo de su novio. (Is that not a change of an emotional nature? I thought it would be "se pone"...)
- Cuando pierdo mis llaves me vuelvo loco. (This was actually a true/false question, so it makes me wonder if "loco" is not used in the same two senses we use it in English, literally crazy vs. figuratively crazy... Either way, it wouldn't be a sudden change, right? Losing one's keys would make one figuratively become crazy ... to find them.)
- La gente se vuelve loca cuando hay fiesta. (Same as the previous one.)
- Me pongo muy nerviosa cuando gritas. (I thought because this is something that happens suddenly it would be volverse...)

What, exactly, is the difference between the use of ponerse and volverse when they mean "to become"? This is quite confusing....
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  #2  
Old May 31, 2010, 08:34 AM
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I know, it is like the para/por pair.

You'll have to become more acquainted with it....in other words, practice.
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Old May 31, 2010, 08:48 AM
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Have a look at these two answers and see if they help you any. Answer1 Answer2
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Old May 31, 2010, 09:37 AM
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Thanks, you two. Hernan - it will do me no good to practice it wrong. It will only give me more to unlearn. Rusty - I'll take a good look at those two websites!

Okay, having read those two pages, Rusty, I still have the same questions. I was already thinking that ponerse equates with estar (temporary conditions, less intense) and that volverse equates with ser (permanency, more intense). That makes sense to me (from the second page you mentioned). But these examples don't seem to line up with those impressions.

Quote:
- Marla se vuelve muda cuando le hablo de su novio. (Is that not a change of an emotional nature? I thought it would be "se pone"...) <-- But Marla isn't going to be permanently mute, right? She's just annoyed because I'm talking to her boyfriend. When I go away, I'm sure she'll have lots to say. I still don't understand why it's "volverse" and not "ponerse".
- Cuando pierdo mis llaves me vuelvo loco. (This was actually a true/false question, so it makes me wonder if "loco" is not used in the same two senses we use it in English, literally crazy vs. figuratively crazy... Either way, it wouldn't be a sudden change, right? Losing one's keys would make one figuratively become crazy ... to find them.) <--Again, I hope that something simple like losing my keys won't literally put me in a mental hospital...
- La gente se vuelve loca cuando hay fiesta. (Same as the previous one.) <--And again, I hope that something simple like attending a party won't literally put someone in a mental hospital...
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Last edited by AngelicaDeAlquezar; May 31, 2010 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Merged back-to-back posts
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Old May 31, 2010, 11:09 AM
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Another person on Rusty's link said that you need to use volverse for stronger intense emotions:

Quote:
The difference that I learned about those words was that "ponerse" expressed feelings and emotions like "me pongo nervioso" (I'm nervous/I become nervous), "volverse" expressed the stronger emotions like anger, sadness, craziness, etc "me volví loco" (I became angry), and "hacerse" expressed a state of change like work, puberty, etc "me hacía grande" (I grew tall)

I hope that answered your question. : )

Last edited by Brandon; May 31, 2010 at 11:13 AM.
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Old May 31, 2010, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
Another person on Rusty's link said that you need to use volverse for stronger intense emotions:

Check out this link too: at Spanish Dict
I saw that, but seriously, are "muda" and getting upset about ones keys or having fun at a party SO incredibly intense that you would use a different word? I don't see how those three examples are any stronger than saying "se pone roja..." for someone who's embarrassed. Or is it so subjective that for me it would be "ponerse" but for someone more emotional than I am, many more things would be "volverse"? Even in your link, one of the answers says that "volverse furioso" sounds odd. I would expect that "furioso" to be MUCH more intense than any emotion one would feel about losing one's keys or having fun at a party ... or even getting quiet if someone else is talking to your boyfriend....
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Old May 31, 2010, 11:45 AM
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I had deleted the link because I realized I had read a question, and not the answers.
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Old May 31, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Ah hah! I was too fast for you. LOL!!
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Old May 31, 2010, 01:13 PM
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There is a topic on the use of these verbs, you can take a look at it: http://forums.tomisimo.org/showthread.php?t=5370
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Old May 31, 2010, 03:46 PM
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I don't know formal grammar about this, but a quick look reveals for me that it depends on the adjetive. To become "mudo" is something generally permanent, so it will be "te volviste mudo"(even if it's for one minute). To be red is something commonly not permanent, so the most common way to say it will be "te pusiste roja". Crazy has both, a permanent and a contingent popular designation, so in those examples you can use both, "ponerse/volverse loco". (obviously, you are not talking of "real crazy people" in this case). This diffuse "rule" is something I bealive can help to make this topic clear, but it has to be take with pincers. (is this expression common in English? to take with pincers?)

In summary, you can try to follow a rule with a certain porcentage of succes, but the practice will learn them to you... unless you start memorizing case by case
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