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Can "grew warmer" be used as a replacement for "became warmer" anywhere? I've started to think of the phrase "grew warmer" and it seems kind of strange. Things can become warm, but it sounds strange to say that some things grow warm. Like for an inanimate object that doesn't grow, how is it ok to say that it grows warm? Can someone explain this?

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I noticed this on your other question. I also thought "grow" was a strange word to pair with "warmth." –  MrHen Mar 28 '11 at 20:53

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Both grew and became are perfectly acceptable.

Grew, as the past tense of grow, may be defined as:

To expand; gain; to increase by amount or degree.

While became, as the past tense of become, may be defined as:

To grow or come to be.

Grew may simply be considered the more figurative of the two.

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+1 And to be slightly more specific, NOAD also defines grow as "to become gradually or increasingly X," which avoids the "increase in size" connotation that can cause confusion. –  Callithumpian Mar 29 '11 at 2:10

"Grew" is perfectly fine here; it is simply metaphorical.

the kettle was boiling.

is perfectly fine. For the kettle to grow warm is also fine.

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