On the one hand,

During the course of the summer, Esther got engaged.

sounds weak and informal. On the other hand,

During the course of the summer, Esther became engaged.

sounds weird, like saying Esther "became robbed."

Which is correct and could both of them be used?

  • 1
    Both forms are common in British English. The only difference would be that "became" is more formal. Compare: "She got ill" & "She became ill"; and many other similar expressions. – TrevorD May 13 '16 at 14:23
  • The first is perhaps the lesser of two evils. I suspect that you're a Brit as you react so badly to the get-passive, but this is not too rational an opinion. Few people would bat an eyelid at 'got married'. – Edwin Ashworth May 13 '16 at 14:25
  • I guess my initial reaction, particularly since this a legal document, to "became engaged" was that it felt as awkward as saying "became married" or "became fired." With the "fired" example, at least it's editable to "was fired," and you even have the option of "was wed" in place of "became married." I'm frustrated by the lack of flexibility here. Maybe the problem is with the setup, "[d]uring the course of the summer"? – finel May 13 '16 at 14:52
  • "...was engaged." fits, peachy, too. – The Nate May 13 '16 at 18:25
  • 1
    Became has a different aspect than got (or was). It tends to denote an advancement or progression, not merely a changed state. And It has an ongoing aspect. "He got his Eagle Scout (badge)." "He became an Eagle Scout". This may be related to the idea that become can be used for gradual changes. Got engaged seems to draw attention to the transition itself, while became engaged maintains focus on the person. – Phil Sweet May 13 '16 at 19:33

This is the Get-Passive, a variant of the Be-Passive. The difference is explained in the link.
Get is the inchoative form of be, so it already means come to be, or become; there's no difference.

Both are grammatical rules of English, and neither one is more correct than the other.
Like almost everything in English grammar, there are a lot of correct ways to say things.

  • Thanks for the link. I am really curious and I would be reluctant to use "he became engaged" because to engage is an action. Will you disagree? – user140086 May 13 '16 at 17:59
  • 3
    It has nothing to do with the subcategorization of engage. Engaged is a stative predicate like scared or worried, and has a beginning that can be referred to with get or become. – John Lawler May 13 '16 at 18:04
  • 1
    Couldn't ping you there because you didn't comment, but thanks for the edit on my sloppy post- was being (physically) dragged off the computer to do social programme duties at my college and could barely put in the last full stop. Much appreciated. Thanks very much. – Araucaria - Not here any more. May 17 '16 at 18:07
  • As an addendum, I was kind of thinking of you when I wrote that question, and was wondering what your take might be. – Araucaria - Not here any more. May 17 '16 at 18:14

You say that someone is engaged to the person they are going to marry. ...

You "get" engaged. You dont "become" engaged. You "get" yourself into being engaged in the relationship. You dont "become" engaged, as nothing to do with your personality changes. Since the context your using the word engaged here is a verb and not an adjective. Its best for you to use "Got engaged" http://www.dictionary.com/browse/engage

  • You might wanna reconsider your source, as it does not refer once to "get engaged" but only to "be engaged". – MorganFR May 13 '16 at 14:40
  • @MorganFR Would you rather say "I became engaged last summer?" It somehow sounds a bit off. – Najeeba Fathima May 13 '16 at 14:50
  • no i agree with the answer, but the source does not mention a big part of your point of view. – MorganFR May 13 '16 at 14:50
  • @MorganFR Yeah thats right. My bad. I should have done a better job of finding a more justifiable source that supports my answer! – Najeeba Fathima May 13 '16 at 15:00

I would use "became engaged" in this context.

Got engaged seems like someone got engaged for a moment and then got disengaged, but in the given context ("During the course of summer"), became engaged sounds like the engagement went on for a little while (During the entire course of summer) .

  • But without authoritative support, this is merely an opinion and should be given as a 'comment' rather than an 'answer'. FWIW, I wouldn't use 'became engaged' as I agree with OP that it sounds vaguely ridiculous. – Edwin Ashworth May 13 '16 at 14:28
  • Please explain why. – TrevorD May 13 '16 at 14:29
  • @EdwinAshworth I agree - but doesn't one need a certain minimum reputation before comments can be made? I saw an answer yesterday where someone specifically said that added an 'Anser' instead of a comment because that didn't have the necessary rep.. – TrevorD May 13 '16 at 14:32
  • @TevorD Minimum qualifications are required for a reason. One needs to have a certain standard of proficiency to be accepted on a university course. One doesn't just force one's way in, however attractive a certain course might appear. ELU has requirements in order to maintain standards. We've all had to adhere to these, and have managed to amass sufficient reputation. – Edwin Ashworth May 13 '16 at 14:36
  • Got engaged seems like someone got engaged for a moment and then got disengaged, but in the given context, ("During the course of summer"), became sounds like the engagement went on for a little while(During the entire course of summer) – Shweta Singh May 13 '16 at 14:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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