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I am an Assistant English teacher and today my co-worker(main English teacher), asked me why this sentence is not ok;

I have become sick for 2 days.

I told him that you should use been instead of become, but I could not tell him why.

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3 Answers

Because "become" indicates a transition, not a state. To say that you "have become sick for two days" makes little sense, because it doesn't take you two days to make the shift from being healthy to being ill. (Or if it does, it's not a normal topic of conversation.) "I have been", on the other hand, indicates your state: "I have been sick for two days" means that you have existed in a state of sickness for two days now.

Thus you would also not say "*I became sick for two days", but "I became sick 2 days ago".

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Because you're talking about something that happened in the past, 2 days ago.

"I became sick for 2 days."

"I have been sick for 2 days."

Both of these would be ok, though the latter is much more common.

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When you say "I have become sick for two days" you ought to be talking about coming two days, not the bygone ones and I guess its sane enough to state this wrong because one cannot become sick. You might have been sick (in past) you might have become sick in past skiing, underclothed, but you cant become sick in future.

An if its the future you are actually bothered about, I guess you can settle with "I might become sick" (Please dont bother adding 'for two days' until and unless of course you are planning up a fake sickness...:)

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Um, people become sick all the time. I became sick a couple of days ago when I got the cold going around the office. –  Matt Эллен Feb 7 '13 at 9:19
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