Lesson – Get Vs. Become

If you make a mistake with this, it’s probably using GET when you should use BECOME

NOT FLUENT: “His jacket wasn’t warm enough, so he BECAME cold.”
FLUENT: “His jacket wasn’t thick enough, so he GOT cold.”

Why you should care about whether you make this mistake!

Why: because it’s a common mistake and and fluency killer.

By fluency killer I mean that if you make this mistake, it will be harder for native speakers to understand you as quickly or clearly. It will also lower their opinion of your general English ability, which will make them less interested in and less focused during your communication. Sorry, that’s how it is! That’s why for a language to really be useful to you, you have to get pretty good at it!

When to use GET and when to use BECOME

Let’s look at a few more sentences. All of these will be correct. In some, we’ll use BECOME, and in others, we’ll use GET. There will be a pattern which will be the rule. Try to find it.

“Dylan GOT rich. He BECAME a multi-millionaire, in fact.”

“Carol GOT hip and BECAME a hipster.”

“James GOT educated and BECAME a scholar.”

Do you see the pattern? Look at all of the words that come after GET and after BECOME.

After GET we have “rich”, “hip”, and “educated”, and after BECOME we have “multimillionaire”, “hipster”, and “scholar”. What kinds of words are these?

After GET, they’re all ADJECTIVES. And after BECOME they’re all NOUNS.

This is the rule: use GET + ADJECTIVE and BECOME + NOUN. So things/people GET cold, hungry, upset, bored, tired, excited, etc. and BECOME experts, jerks, connoisseurs, professionals, presidents, judges, etc.

This is a strict rule, meaning that it will always be true, without exception. If something/somebody is “becoming” an ADJECTIVE, use GET, and if they are “becoming” a NOUN, use BECOME.