Become or Became? Difference Explained (With Examples)

Marcus Froland

It’s easy to mix up become and became. You’re not alone if you’ve ever paused mid-sentence, your fingers hovering over the keyboard, as you second-guess which one fits. These words are like two sides of the same coin, closely linked yet serving different roles in the dance of English grammar.

But here’s the thing: understanding their differences can transform your writing from good to great. It’s not about memorizing rules but feeling the rhythm of the language. And just when you think you’ve got it, we’ll throw in a twist that will make you eager to learn more.

The main difference between become and became is their tense. Become is the base form, used for the present tense or the future tense. For example, “I want to become a doctor.” On the other hand, became is the simple past tense form of become. It talks about a change that happened in the past. For instance, “He became a chef.” Remembering this key difference will help you use these words correctly in sentences.

Understanding the Basics: Present and Past Tense

Before diving into the differences between “become” and “became,” it is crucial to grasp the fundamental rules of the English language related to present and past tense. These two tenses play an essential role in expressing actions and events based on the time they occur. Present tense represents current actions and events, whereas past tense denotes actions and events that have already been completed. Having a strong understanding of the English tense rules and grammar basics will make it easier to discern between the two forms of the verb “to become.”

Become: Present tense form of the verb “to become,” used to describe ongoing transformations, actions or events.
Became: Past tense form of the verb “to become,” used to describe transformations, actions, or events that have already been completed.

To better comprehend the use of “become” and “became,” let’s explore an example scenario:

  1. Peter wants to become a doctor. In this sentence, the verb “become” is used in the present tense to express Peter’s current desire to change his profession.
  2. Peter became a doctor last year. In this case, the verb “became” is used in the past tense to indicate that Peter has already completed the transformation from being a student to a professional doctor.

Understanding the differences between present and past tense will help you use “become” and “became” accurately, avoiding grammar mistakes and conveying your intended message effectively.

Present Tense Past Tense
“I become” “I became”
“You become” “You became”
“He/She/It becomes” “He/She/It became”
“We become” “We became”
“They become” “They became”

Taking the time to understand the basics of present and past tense, as well as the English tense rules and grammar basics, is essential when differentiating between “become” and “became.” Armed with newfound knowledge, learners can enhance their communication by using these verb forms accurately and effectively.

Defining “Become” and “Became”

In order to use these two forms of the same verb correctly, it’s essential to understand the meaning and implications of each. Let’s dive deeper into the definition of “become” and how it differs from “became” in their respective contexts.

What Does It Mean to “Become” Something?

The verb “become” signifies a process of change or transformation that is taking place, ultimately leading to a new state or condition. In most cases, the verb “become” is followed by an adjective or noun, emphasizing the new state that the subject is in the process of achieving. By defining “become” in such a way, it becomes easier to grasp its context and use it effectively in sentences.

For example: “I want to become a better writer.”

In the example above, the use of “become” indicates a desire to undergo a transformation process, with the end goal of being a better writer.

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The Transformation Indicated by “Became”

On the other hand, “became” is used to describe situations where the transformation in question has already occurred, with a past tense implication that the change is complete. As opposed to “become,” which indicates an ongoing or desired shift, “became” reflects an action that has been completed in the past and often follows with a noun or adjective that expresses the final outcome of the change.

For example: “She became an award-winning actress.”

In this case, “became” conveys a completed change, specifically the subject’s successful past transformation from an ordinary individual to an award-winning actress.

Notice the difference between the two verbs:

  • “Become” suggests an ongoing or desired transformation process.
  • “Became” denotes completed changes that took place in the past.

With a solid understanding of the meaning and usage of these verbs, you’ll be better equipped to apply them accurately in various contexts and further refine your English grammar skills.

Practical Usage of “Become” in Sentences

Using “become” in sentences is an essential part of mastering the present tense in English grammar. As the present tense makes up a substantial portion of everyday communication, understanding the contextual application of “become” is vital for anyone aspiring to fluency in the language. Now, let’s examine real-world examples of “become” used with different subjects, indicating ongoing action or desire to change.

In this example, the verb “become” communicates the subject’s intention or desire to undergo a change, specifically involving volunteering. This usage denotes an ongoing transition in the present.

“Everything will become clear.”

Here, “become” demonstrates the action of clarity emerging in the future. This sentence is a promise or assurance that the change – becoming clear – will occur.

  1. “This dress will become my favorite.”
  2. “You can become more confident by practicing regularly.”
  3. “They want to become better athletes.”
  4. “We should become aware of the consequences of our actions.”

The following table illustrates more examples of “become” with various subjects, as well as its diverse use in questions and statements:

Subject Question Statement
I When will I become successful? I will become a doctor.
You How can you become more creative? You will become stronger.
He/She Will he/she become famous? She will become a fantastic artist.
We How can we become better listeners? We will become an unstoppable team.
They When will they become more responsible? They want to become engineers.

As you can see, “become” is a highly versatile verb that’s widely applicable in various contexts. Understanding and practicing its correct usage in the present tense allows integration into complex sentences, producing a more sophisticated expression of ideas and desires. By mastering the contextual application of “become,” you will enhance your language skills and communication abilities in both spoken and written forms.

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How “Became” Fits into Past Narratives

In a past tense narrative, the verb “became” plays a crucial role in describing past events that caused change or transformation. Using this verb correctly is essential to convey the completion of a change, setting it apart from the present tense equivalent “become.” When you tell stories about past experiences, you often need to indicate how something or someone changed over time, and that’s where “became” comes in handy.

Reflecting on Past Changes with “Became”

Recalling past events often involves narrating the changes we or others have gone through. In this context, “became” serves as a powerful tool for acknowledging these transformations. For example:

  1. After months of studying, she became fluent in French.
  2. He became more responsible after his daughter was born.
  3. The lively city soon became quiet at night.

In each of these examples, “became” communicates a distinct shift or transformation achieved in the past, now completed. These sentences wouldn’t have the same impact if “become” were used instead, as it would suggest the change is still in progress.

Consider the following sentence: “The world became more visible when they gave me the correct prescription glasses.” This statement perfectly demonstrates the transformative power of “became” in a past tense narrative. The correct use of “became” implies that a change has taken place and reached its conclusion. In this example, the person’s visibility improved thanks to receiving the right prescription glasses.

“The day I graduated, I realized I became a completely different person from the one I was when I first started college.”

This quote illustrates how “became” succinctly expresses personal growth and transformation over time. The past tense narrative emphasizes that the transformation is now complete, making it a powerful and effective way to describe past events.

Distinguishing “Become” from “Becomes” in Context

While “become” and “becomes” are similar in meaning, understanding their differences is essential for maintaining proper subject-verb agreement in your sentences. In this section, we will explore the distinctions between “become” and “becomes” by analyzing their use with various subjects and contexts.

Subject-verb agreement plays a crucial role in the English grammar structure. Basically, the verb must agree with its subject in number and person. In the case of the verb “to become,” it appears in two forms: “become” and “becomes” depending on the subject of the sentence.

To thrive in your understanding of English grammar, make sure to grasp verb tense variations and subject-verb agreement.

You use “becomes” when the subject is in the third person singular, such as “he,” “she,” or “it.” In contrast, “become” pairs with other subjects like “I,” “you,” “they,” and “we.” To illustrate this difference, let’s examine some examples:

Subject Become Example Becomes Example
I I become a better public speaker with practice.
You You become more confident as time goes by.
We We become stronger together.
They They become stressed when deadlines approach.
He (or She, It) He becomes nervous during exams.

To summarize, understanding the difference between “become” and “becomes” comes down to the subject of the sentence and proper subject-verb agreement. Ensure that you use “becomes” with third-person singular subjects and “become” for all other subjects. By mastering these verb tense variations, your writing will be polished and grammatically accurate.

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Exploring Present Perfect Tense: “Has Become” and “Have Become”

In this section, we will clarify the usage of present perfect tense verbs, specifically focusing on the correct use of “has become” and “have become.” These forms are applicable when discussing actions that began in the past but continue to have an impact or hold relevance in the present.

When to Use “Have Become” in Present Perfect Tense

The verb “have become” makes use of the auxiliary verb “have” in conjunction with the past participle “become.” Present perfect tense use of this form is appropriate when talking about past actions that still hold true in the present. For example:

I have become uninterested in these menial things since starting my own business.

We have become close friends after working together for years.

Remember that the choice of auxiliary verb depends on the subject. Use “have become” with plural subjects, like “we” or “they,” and with singular subjects “I” and “you.”

Why “Has Became” Is Grammatically Incorrect

When discussing grammar errors, it is important to note that the phrase “has became” is incorrect. In the present perfect tense, the correct auxiliary verb usage is “has” with the past participle “become”. “Became” implies a past tense that clashes with the auxiliary verb “has.” Here are some examples of the correct construction:

She has become a well-known artist since her first exhibition.

He has become more confident after taking public speaking classes.

In summary, remembering these present perfect tense rules and the proper application of auxiliary verbs can help you avoid grammar errors and communicate more effectively. Keep practicing and soon, the correct auxiliary verb use will become second nature.

The Subtleties of “Would Become” and Frequency

Understanding the subtle distinctions between various verb forms is crucial for improving your grasp of the English language. One such distinction lies in the usage of “would become,” which can help indicate habituality and past tense frequency in your writing. With this knowledge, you can enrich your past tense storytelling and effectively convey the essence of repeated, habitual actions.

The phrase “would become” is particularly useful for describing events that occurred regularly in the past without specifying exact times or frequencies. This flexibility allows for a more natural flow in your writing, drawing your readers into the story while still maintaining clarity. For example, instead of saying “I became sad every time I heard that song,” you could write, “I would become sad whenever I heard that song.” This subtle change in phrasing emphasizes the habitual nature of the action and its connection to a specific trigger.

When using “would become” in your writing, it is essential to be mindful of its context within the past tense. Remember that “would become” is used to convey habituality and should be contrasted with the more definite past action of “I became.” By appreciating these nuances, you can ensure that your writing effectively communicates your intended meaning and resonates with your audience. Thus, always take the time to contemplate your verb choices and their impact on your message.

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