The present and past tense make up a large portion of our understanding of the English language. Sometimes, the rules associated with them can be confusing. In this article, we’ll help you understand the differences between “become” and “became” and the tenses they use.
What Is The Difference Between “Become” And “Became”?
“Become” should be used when writing in the present tense. “Became” should be used when writing in the past tense. Both words are part of the same verb form, “to become,” which means “to turn into something” or “to begin to be.”
According to The Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of “become” is “to start to be.”
That means when we say that something is “becoming” something, that thing is turning into the other thing and is at the start of that transitional phase. It’s a fairly common verb to come across.
What Does “Become” And “Became” Mean?
Both of the words have the same meaning, which makes explaining them a lot easier. Since they both come from the same verb form, we only have to worry about the general definition rather than treating them as individuals.
“Become” and “became” are verbs that mean something has started to be something else. We usually include an adjective or noun after “become” to talk about what that thing is turning into.
“Become” is the present tense. That means we’re talking about something transitioning in the present, so the final product has not been completed.
- I’m going to become homeless soon.
- They’re becoming more compatible.
“Became” is the past tense. That means we’re talking about something transitioning in the past. The idea to start becoming something else and the final product of that transition has already been made apparent.
- He became depressed.
- It became visible over the years.
Examples Of How To Use “Become” In A Sentence
Let’s go over some examples to explain the two words better. We’ll start with the present tense form “become.”
“Become” means we’re talking about something that’s starting to be something else in the present. That means we’re not sure about the final outcome (or “becoming”) of the object because it’s happening as we speak.
- I’d like to become a police officer!
- How can I become a volunteer?
- We make sure to help out so that we can become employees.
- If you keep working, everything will become clear.
- He’s going to become homeless if he’s not careful.
From these examples, it’s clear that “become” talks about the state of turning into something else. We can use a noun (like “police officer” or “volunteer”) or an adjective (like “homeless”).
Whatever the case, we’re talking about something that somebody (or something) is turning into. Sometimes, it’s used to express a wish of turning into something without knowing straight away how to go about turning into it.
Examples Of How To Use “Became” In A Sentence
Now let’s see how “became” is used. It’s the past tense form, so you’ll have better luck with this when you’re writing about things that have already happened.
“Became” means we’re talking about something that started to become something in the past and has already finished doing that transition. There is nothing more that needs to be addressed in the present.
- He became a wise man as he grew older.
- She became beautiful, but I didn’t realize how beautiful!
- We became teachers together.
- It became obvious to me that people were trying to trick me, so I left.
- The world became more visible when they gave me the correct prescription glasses.
This time, “became” is used to talk about things that have happened in the past. We’re referring to previous events that have led someone (or something) to change into something new.
The idea behind using the past simple form is that “became” indicates that the transition is complete. There is nothing that can be done in the present to change the overall outcome that has already occurred.
When Should I Use “Become” Or “Becomes”?
With verbs, you’ll notice that there are very distinct differences in spelling based on the form. “Become” and “becomes” are both the same verb, but we use them in different situations.
“Become” should be used when using the pronouns “I,” “you,” “they,” and “we.” It’s also used when working with plurals. “Becomes” should be used when using the third-person singular pronouns “he,” “she,” and “it.”
Other than that, there are no major differences to highlight. In fact, the two words are yet again identical. Even their tenses are the same. They’re both the present tense.
- I become envious.
- You become annoyed.
- He becomes childish at the sight of her.
- She becomes angry all the time.
As you can see, we change the spelling from “become” to “becomes” based on the pronouns we use. Other than that, there are no other incidences where the two verb forms are used.
When Should I Use “Has Become” Or “Have Become”?
We can expand our understanding of the tenses even further. We’ve currently been talking about the past simple and present simple tenses. There’s also the present perfect tense to talk about.
“Has become” and “have become” should be used when writing in the present perfect tense. This tense is used to talk about something that started in the past but still can be impacted in the present.
Including the auxiliary verb (helping verb) “to have” before “become” is necessary here. That’s what we use to turn a verb into the present perfect tense. You’ll often find this tense form to be more suitable than the past simple tense.
- He had become inclined to help her over the last few weeks.
- I have become uninterested in these menial things.
We use “had” when working with the pronouns “he,” “she,” or “it.” It works similarly to using “becomes” from the previous section. We use “have” when using any other pronoun. “Become” stays the same no matter what pronoun is used.
Is It “Have Become” Or “Have Became”?
Whenever we’re writing in the present perfect tense, we must get our verb form correct.
“Have become” is the correct spelling. We use “to have” as the auxiliary verb in the phrase. We then need a present tense word to finish it, meaning “to become” is the verb we use.
“Have become” implies that something has happened in the past but can still be impacted in the future.
However, “have became” would mean that something happened and ended in the past, yet still somehow is changeable in the future. As you can see, this makes no sense, which is why we don’t use it.
What Is The Difference Between “Have Become” And “Became”?
“Have become” is the present perfect tense referring to a situation where something has changed in the past but is still changeable in the present. “Became” is the past simple tense referring to something changing and completing the change in the past.
The main difference is that “have become” can still be interacted with or changed, while “became” is not possible to change as it’s already happened.
When Should I Use “Had Become” Or “Became”?
“Had become” is another tense variation known as the past perfect tense. It’s less common to use than “became,” but it still works.
“Became” is the past simple tense, which means that something has happened in the past.
- I became aware of the situation.
“Had become” is the past perfect tense. It means something happened and ended in the past, though it is usually used to show the events’ sequence.
- I had become inclined to help out, but I changed my mind before I could.
Why Is “Has Became” Grammatically Wrong?
“Has became” is grammatically incorrect because it uses “became” as the past tense verb. When using the auxiliary “has” in the present perfect tense, we must follow it with the present tense of “become.”
Is It Ever Correct To Use “Was To Become”?
“Was to become” is a phrase we use when talking about an event in the past but referring to something in that event’s future. It will usually still refer to our past, but it refers to the future of the object we’re talking about.
- Elizabeth Windsor, born 21 April 1926, was to become the Queen of England in 1953.
Even though both of these events refer to things that happened in the past, “was to become” is used to talk about Elizabeth’s future after her birth. It’s mostly used as a phrase in historical texts.
Quiz: Have You Mastered The “Become” Or “Became” Grammar?
Finally, let’s test your knowledge and see what you’ve picked up from this article. We’ll include all of the tenses we’ve previously mentioned to really give you a good go at it! We’ll also include answers at the end for reference.
- He had (A. become / B. became) obliged to accept his inheritance before he could stop it.
- She (A. become / B. became) beautiful over the weekend.
- He (A. becomes / B. becames) a man tomorrow.
- I have (A. become / B. became) tired of listening to you ramble.
- They (A. become / B. became) best friends through the years.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.