expressions with 'to grow'

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epistolario

Senior Member
Tagalog
I just want to verify if the following expressions sound natural to you:

My friend grew thin after a drinking a particular tea.

My eldest brother grew five inches taller after taking some growth pills.

You will grow fat if you will work as a telephone operator.

I normally used the verb become until I saw a foreign language book use grow. Though, I'm still not sure when to use become and grow.
 
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  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    My eldest brother grew five inches taller after taking some growth pills. :tick:

    My friend grew thin after a drinking a particular tea.

    I would prefer "got thinner" here. "Grow thin" has an almost absolute quality about it.

    You will grow fat if you will work as a telephone operator.
    You will get fat if you will work as a telephone operator.

    This is an AE opinion.
     

    epistolario

    Senior Member
    Tagalog
    My eldest brother grew five inches taller after taking some growth pills. :tick:

    My friend grew thin after a drinking a particular tea.

    I would prefer "got thinner" here. "Grow thin" has an almost absolute quality about it.

    You will grow fat if you will work as a telephone operator.
    You will get fat if you will work as a telephone operator.

    This is an AE opinion.
    Thanks, cyberpedant. Sorry for my typo error in the second sentence when I said a drinking . . . :

    My friend grew thin got thinner after a drinking a particular tea.

    I believe that when you say got thinner, he was previously thin; when you say got thin, he was previously fat. Do you agree?
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    I believe that when you say got thinner, he was previously thin; when you say got thin, he was previously fat. Do you agree?

    I would agree with your first clause. I'm not sure your assumption in the second is absolutely unquestionable. "He" could have been of normal body mass, neither thin nor fat.
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    Hi ffrancis,
    If you want to know about the usage of "grow" in general, and how it relates to "become," here is an explanation that I hope will make it clear.

    "He grew," of course, means that he increased in size. Saying "He grew three inches [amount]" describes how much he grew, in the same way that you'd say "He walked three miles" to describe how far he walked.

    "He grew quickly [adverb]" describes the manner in which he grew.

    "He grew thin [adjective]" means something quite different. It means specifically "he became increasingly [adjective] over time, until he was very [adjective]."
    You can see that it's more specific than "became," and therefore is much less common, since most of the time you can use "became" or "got" instead.
    "He grew thin" means that he got thinner and thinner over time--probably because of a force that was out of his control, such as illness, stress, or starvation--until he was very thin at the end.
    "He grew thinner" means that something caused him to become thinner and thinner over time. We don't know exactly how thin he is at the end, but he's definitely thinner than he used to be.

    Often you will see "grow" in sentences like "He grew angry," or "He grew impatient." I think you are more likely to see "get" and "become" because they are more common words and their meanings will not be confused as easily as with "grow."
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I normally used the verb become until I saw a foreign language book use grow. Though, I'm still not sure when to use become and grow.
    Hi ffrancis

    I've just run a search on the 100-million word British National Corpus (here), and by far the most common collocation for grow {= become} is old or older. The next most common collocations are stronger, louder, larger, and tired.

    Become is much more common than grow as a copular verb.
     
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