Archive for the ‘Expressions’ Category

How to Talk About Changes

April 1st, 2010 in Expressions

The words become, get, go, come, grow and turn are all used to talk about changes. There are, nevertheless, a few differences between them.

Become is used with adjectives and noun phrases to talk about changes.

What do you want to become when you grow up?
It is becoming very dark.

Note that we do not use become to talk about changes we deliberately make.

It takes me only around five minutes to get ready. (NOT It takes me only around five minutes to become ready.)

Get is used with adjectives without nouns. It is also used before past participles like lost and broken. Note that it is less formal than become.

It is getting very dark. (Less formal than ‘It is becoming very dark’.)
You are getting younger and younger.

Get is not usually used before nouns with this meaning.

I want to become a doctor. (NOT I want to get a doctor.)

Go can be used before adjectives to talk about changes of color and quality.

She went green with envy.
Leaves go brown in autumn.

Common expressions are: go green with envy / go blue with cold / go white with anger / go red with embarrassment

Note that turn can also be used in these cases.

Leaves turn brown in autumn.

Go can be used with adjectives in some common expressions such as go mad / go crazy / go blind / go deaf / go grey / go bald / go lame / go rusty / go bad / go stale / go wrong etc.

The horse went lame.
The meat has gone bad.
He went grey in his twenties.

Grow is used before adjectives to talk about slow and gradual changes. Note that grow is more formal than get or go.

Before he knew it he grew old.
When you grow rich you shall not forget your old friends.