become / get / turn

Words like turn, become, get, and go can describe changes and transformations -but they’re each used in different expressions.

Use turn for colors:

  • Bananas turn black if you put them in the refrigerator.
  • The sky turned pink and orange during the sunset.
  • My uncle’s hair is turning white.

    Use turn into when talking about a complete transformation:

  • The caterpillar turned into a butterfly.
  • The couch in the living room can turn into a bed.
  • My dream turned into a nightmare.

    In informal English, use get with emotions:

  • I got angry when my colleague said things about me that weren’t true.
  • My son’s getting excited about his birthday party next week. He’ll be 5.
  • We always get really bored in history class.

    You can also use get with comparative adjectives:

  • It’s gotten more expensive to buy an apartment in this city.
  • I’m getting better at playing the piano – I’ve been practicing a lot.
  • It’s getting easier and easier for me to understand movies in English!

    Become can be used with emotions and comparative adjectives in more formal English:

  • My sister became depressed after she moved to a new city.
  • It’s becoming more difficult to balance work and life in the modern world.

    Always use become with professions (never “get” or “turn”):

  • My son is studying really hard. He wants to become a lawyer someday.
  • Shirley Temple became a famous actress when she was just four years old.

    Finally, use go with these specific words:

  • go crazy
  • go blind
  • go deaf
  • go bald
  • go bad (when food or drink becomes bad and you can’t eat it)