To Become: How to use it?

Hello everyone! Queria destacar para vocês, sendo que são aprendizes bem ligados aos detalhes da nossa lingua inglesa, um verbo bem útil: to become.

This verb has many meanings in English which cover the use of several Portuguese verbs: chegar a ser, tornar-se, virar, ficar, and fazer-se. Let’s take a look.

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When you are describing someone gaining a new position, or otherwise accomplishing an intellectual feat, ‘to become’ is used where you would use ‘chegar a ser.’ Example: After years of hard work, he finally became head of the company.

When a Portuguese speaker would describe a change of character using the verb ‘virar,’ it is acceptable to use ‘to become’ in English, though I believe ‘virar’ translates much better as ‘turn into.’ Example: My buddy doesn’t want to go out tonight… I think he’s turned into a fun-sponge. [note: ‘fun-sponge’ é uma giria nossa ótima, significa alguem que não gosta de curtir ou se divertir.]

For changes of state where Portuguese speakers would say ‘ficar…’ it’s usually okay to say ‘to become.’ Examples: He became really embarrassed.

How about substituting ‘tornar-se em’ in the sense of ‘becoming’ something, like a writer or musician? Again, ‘to become’ works perfectly. Example: I kept practicing and eventually became a great singer.

The last way you can use ‘become’ in English is a way of translating ‘fazer-se.’ Example: You can become rich by working hard and keeping a good attitude.

Thanks to Alessandro for setting me up to contribute to English Experts.


Christopher O'Donnell

Christopher is an American who loves Brazil and the Brazilian people. I write a Portuguese Blog, contribute to English Experts and run a social network for Brazilians learning English.

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