Tornar-se vs Ficar

Hi all. I am a native English speaker, and I have been learning Portuguese for just over 1 year.

However, I am confused as regards the difference between the verbs 'Tornar-se' and 'Ficar', when saying "become". For example:

"Ele FICOU contente depois de ouvir as boas notícias" = He BECAME pleased after hearing the good news.


"Ele TORNOU-SE um médico de classe mundial" = He BECAME a world-class doctor.

When should I use 'tornar-se', and when should I use 'ficar'?

What is more, are the other forms of saying 'become' (such as 'pôr-se & 'fazer-se') used?

Thanks much for your help & insights in advance :)

September 23, 2015


OK, Keep in mind that "FICAR" is something that is a state (like "to get mad", you ll not be mad forever), a not long duration feeling, you dont "fica um médico" you actually "vira um médico" or "torna-se um médico", since you ll be a doctor forever (or you at least hope you ll). Every occupation we use this verb "tornar-se" but, some adjectives can be used with this verb and "ficar" in the same meaning, in other word, synonyms:

Ele ficou rico / Ele tornou-se rico

Just use "ficar" for a short-duration feeling, always, and "tornar-se" for occupations, always. You can use some sentences like "ele tornou-se mau" which sounds more "polished", and "ele ficou mau" that sounds more "colloquial" you can change the verbs here since it is not an emotional state (which is not long-duration feeling, but you can use "tornar-se" with feelings too show that that feeling was a long date status) or occupation.

Become can be used as "virar" too, that has the same meaning of "tornar-se", but you cant use "virar" to adjectives that can't be used as nouns too, like "virar feliz", but can be used with the ones that can be read as a noun too, like "gordo" "pobre" "rico".

I hope you can understand all this stuff, anything that does not sound clear, you can ask me and I ll try to explain again.

September 23, 2015

Hi, Wayne.

"tornar-se" indicates a permanent state, whereas "ficar" sounds more temporary.

I've learned that is similar to "become" and "get".

Another way to say "tornar-se" is "virou", very similar to "turn into" in English.

Ex.: Ele virou um jogador de futebol = Ele se tornou um jogador de futebol.

In this case, we cannot use "ficar". It's a proffesion, it's kind of permanent.

September 23, 2015
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