What is the difference between become and be become?

For example,

I become deaf.
I am become deaf.


"I become deaf" is the present tense.

"I am become deaf" is an archaic form of the present perfect tense. Today, we would say, "I have become deaf." This phrasing is only familiar in J. Robert Oppenheimer's quoting of the Bhagavad-Gita in reference to the creation of the atomic bomb: "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds".

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  • 25
    I can't help but wonder if Plutonium's question came from mishearing that quote. – Stephen Dec 20 '19 at 16:50
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    And the popular Christmas song "Joy to the world, the lord is come" – gabe Dec 20 '19 at 17:55
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    @jamesqf I suspect "am" was chosen deliberately for poetic reasons. – Spencer Dec 20 '19 at 19:32
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    It might be more correct to say that the phrase has entered contemporary English primarily via the famous Oppenheimer quote. Google results I am become deaf might even be an intentional pun on the Oppenheimer quote. – StackOverthrow Dec 20 '19 at 19:56
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    I'm pretty sure this question was inspired by the Epic Rap Battle between Thanos and Oppenheimer youtu.be/v1vXC-vKgKg?t=75, where Oppenheimer indeed raps 'I am become deaf' in a pun on the 'I am become death' quote mentioned in this answer. – moewe Dec 20 '19 at 20:19

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