Is there any difference between these sentences:

He got older.
He grew older.

And in general, what is the difference between get, grow and become in this context?

  • 1
    There are only shades of difference. 'He got older' is rather abrupt, corresponding to '20 years later' in a film. 'He grew older' connotes a more gradual overview of the process; think of it as corresponding to a few sequenced scenes, showing 'him' after 3, 6, 10, 13, 16, 20 years. 'He became older' isn't very idiomatic. Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 14:58
  • "Got" is also less formal. If I found myself writing that in a formal paper, I'd change it to "became" or some more formal word.
    – ewormuth
    Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


While grow and become both allude to "time" and/or "process" involved, "got" is more like a final assessment. Ex:

"During his period of obsession with video games, Bob grew/became soft and lazy."

"Wow... Bob sure got fat." (US)


"Got" in this context is so informal, it borders on slang or dialect. "He grew older," might be the best option. Using "got" in this context makes the writer look careless or uninformed about proper--or at least elegant--word use.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.