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Is there a simple rule when to choose 'become' or 'get'?

For me it seems kind of random, but basic grammar books associate 'become' with 'turning into' and 'get' with 'acquire'.

Examples:
get hungry / become hungry ... 'get' appears to be used more often in contrast to the above rule
become pregnant / get pregnant ... is about equally used (google)
get drunk / become drunk ... 'get' again in contrast to the so-called rule

what about 'get/become excited/nervous/angry',

Cheers!
Kajjo
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KajjoIs there a simple rule when to choose 'become' or 'get'?

For me it seems kind of random, but basic grammar books associate 'become' with 'turning into' and 'get' with 'acquire'.This is generally true, as a basic distinction. However, Americans often use 'get' in place of 'become'.

Examples:
get hungry / become hungry ... 'get' appears to be used more often in contrast to the above rule
become pregnant / get pregnant ... is about equally used (google)
get drunk / become drunk ... 'get' again in contrast to the so-called rule

what about 'get/become excited/nervous/angry',

Cheers!
Kajjo

"Get" is also common in BrE for both "acquire" and "become" ("get excited", "get angry", "get drunk", etc.).

Although "get" is one of the commonest verbs in spoken English, there's a widespread prejudice against its use in written English – or rather, against its use in formal written English. Schoolteachers often used to warn against it, for instance. Maybe they still do.

(I've no idea why there should be such a prejudice.)

MrP
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Hello MrP,

You are absolutely right about 'Get'. My instructor's strict advice about using 'Got:

Use of “Got”: For those keeping track, this is a nit-picky thing. However, I strongly recommend that you find a different word than “got” or any of its derivatives. There is always another replacement word. It just sounds better when you choose a different word.
Krish,
Not in ordinary, everyday conversation, however. In that case, "get" is better.
"I'm becoming hungry" just won't do among friends.
Only people whose everyday dress is tuxedos and ball gowns (and diamond tiaras) would utter such monstrosities!
CJ
I agree, CalifJim. Emotion: smile The advice is just for academic writing.
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The following message was posted (twice) by Anonymous.

I've copied it into this message and deleted the originals, as the formatting was hopeless.

Anon, if you're listening: please don't cut and paste directly from other sources, as the formatting never carries over. Instead, copy your text into Notepad (or some other text editor) first; then recopy it from there.
AnonSorry, I'll post those figures again in a more readable format.

Become pregnant:

REGISTER + figure per. 1 million words.

SPOKEN 3
FICTION 9
NEWS 7
ACADEMIC 20
NONFIC MISC 18
OTHER MISC 31

Get pregnant:

REGISTER + figure per. 1 million words.
SPOKEN 11
FICTION 10
NEWS 7
ACADEMIC 1
NONFIC MISC 38
OTHER MISC 14

'got' is more possesive ie: I got a TV, I got hungry.

'became' should be used for more formal or non personal things eg: The technique became generalized.

gotten is considered bad because it is a mush of older English words such as begotten and misbegotten (later associated with cursing and personal slurs), which are also mush of older words again.
Anonymousgotten is considered bad
Only on one side of the Atlantic!

In the US gotten is the normal past participle of the verb get.

Jack has gotten heavy in his old age.

CJ
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