grew up vs growing up

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ssh5346

Member
Korean
I've never paid attention to the posssible difference between "grew up" and "was(were) going up," but now I'm wondering about it.

To me, "when he grew up" seems to mean that when the man "reached adulthood" while "when he was growing up" appears to mean when he was "in his boyhood."

Is my understanding correct? Could there be any contexts where the two mean the same thing?
 
  • tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Yes, your understanding is correct. I cannot think of a time when the two would be interchangeable. However, a child might call an adult a grownup, and say that person is all grown up.
     

    Chleba2x

    Member
    Czech (Prague)
    Hello, don't want to create a new thread since this is here.

    So, if I say John grew up in London, it means that he spent all of his teenagehood in London until the time he became an adult. (?)
    What if it was not just London? Should I say John was growing up in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hello Chleba2x

    You don't need to change tenses.

    John grew up in London.:tick:
    John grew up in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. :tick:
    John was growing up in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.:thumbsdown:
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - US
    We use the simple past "grew up" to refer to this entire 18-year period in one phrase:

    I grew up in New Jersey.
    After I grew up, I moved to Boston.


    If we want to talk about some event during that 18-year period, we use the continuous "was growing up", which allows us to use words like "while, when":

    While I was growing up, I lived in a big house.
    Once, when I was growing up, I saw an elephant.
    My family moved several times while I was growing up.
     

    Chleba2x

    Member
    Czech (Prague)
    My family moved several times while I was growing up.
    So if I'm desperate about using was growing up in my sentence (which I'm not, I'm just too curious :D), could I say While John was growing up, he lived in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow?
     
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