Common Mistakes – ‘Become’

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’re all settling comfortably into 2022.

Today I’d like to focus on a word that is commonly misused by German native speakers: ‘become’. This word is often (and understandably) confused with the German word ‘bekommen’ (to get/receive), leading to awkward sentences like ‘My sister became a baby!’ or ‘Did you become the money?’.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word ‘become’ as:
a) to come into existence/come to be – e.g. ‘She became a teacher.
b) to undergo change or development – e.g. ‘The pain became more intense.’

The word that ‘become‘ translates to in German is ‘werden‘, not bekommen‘.

‘She became a teacher.’ = ‘Sie wurde Lehrerin.’
‘The pain became more intense.’ –‘Der Schmerz wurde stärker’.

Now let’s look at the incorrect sentences from above and translate them to German:

‘My sister became a baby!’ – ‘Meine Schwester ist ein Baby geworden!’
‘Did you become the money?’ –
Bist du das Geld geworden?

Entertaining for sure, but not correct!

So remember, become = werden and bekommen = get/receive

I hope this helped, leave a comment if you have any more questions, or feel free to practice writing some sentences with the word ‘become’!

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