Something like:

It becomes like a spaceship.
He becomes like a mad person.
They become like intermediate objects.

Is "become like" valid english words?

If not, what's the better alternative for daily conversation?


It becomes like a spaceship.

It changes in such a way that while previously it was not comparable to a spaceship, it now is similar to a spaceship in some way, but is not actually a spaceship. If it was always similar to a spaceship that would be "it is like a spaceship" if it changed so it actually was capable of travel through space that would be "it becomes a spaceship".

He becomes like a mad person.

Likewise, he changes in such a way that while he was not comparable to a mad person, he now is similar to a mad person in some way, but is not actually a mad person.

They become like intermediate objects.

Again, they change in such a way that while they were not comparable to intermediate objects, they now are similar to intermediate objects in some way, but are not actually intermediate objects.

It's perfectly valid English. Whether it's the correct English for what you want to express is another matter, depending on whether you want to express what is described above.

  • As "become" is a verb, what is the "like" in this case? – null Nov 14 '16 at 10:45
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    It's an adjective. It's also notable that the phrase "like a spaceship" is an adjectival phrase, so the whole phrase acts like an adjective in relation to the subject and verb, just like the single adjective difficult does in the clause "it becomes difficult". – Jon Hanna Nov 14 '16 at 11:19
  • It might be worth mentioning that there is a reason it seems awkward for adult native English -- the word "becomes" is a placeholder for where a adult / native speaker would almost always use a more specific verb / verb phrase. "The bush becomes like an umbrella" -> "the bush grows into a shape like an umbrella." "The robot becomes like a car" -> "The robot transforms into a vehicle like a car." "The spotlight becomes like a bat" -> "The spotlight projects an outline on the clouds like a bat" etc. – JeremyDouglass Nov 27 '16 at 22:42

In this context, 'become like' are not valid English words. When we refer to things, we can use "become like' as in The sand castle crumbled and became like an old building in ruins. It can also be used to refer to a state a person is in. 'He has become like a vegetable due to his advancing years'. The better alternative for daily conversations would be 'He behaves like a mad person'.


I think "becomes like" should be more appropriate when referring to an inanimate object which can pass through some physical metamorphosis and change its form. For example, we can say:The mountain flaked away when hit by the rocket and the debris became like powder. A better alternative is perhaps to say:He acted like a mad person. Thank you.


He becomes like a mad person

"He is becoming mad." sounds much better to me.

If you really want to compare his behaviour to someone else's:

"He is behaving like a mad-man."

"He is acting like a mad-man."

  • How about "It becomes like a spaceship" ? Is it appropriate? If not, what's the alternative? – null Nov 14 '16 at 10:03
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    @suud Yes it is possible. Yet, I would put in the continuous tense. "It is becoming like a spaceship" - meaning that it is resembling a spaceship more and more. – SovereignSun Nov 14 '16 at 10:09

"become like" is a valid English word construction but not in the way you used it. The closest you are looking for is: "He's becoming a mad-like person"

"To become like" in most cases means 'to look like, to resemble, to show signs of' when referring to things/objects or 'to behave like, to resemble' with living creatures.


  • He's become like Jane. He's always crying and shouting.
  • The house is becoming like a dumpster. There's all sorts of trash everywhere.
  • The grown-ups in the sandbox become like little children when they play.
  • The son has become like his father. He is such a talented and an educated person.

"If we take that cabin and stick fins on, give it an air-lock and some rockets at the back, it becomes like a spaceship" is fine, isn't it?

"When he's had too much to drin, he becomes like a mad person" is fine, isn't it?

"They become like intermediate objects" sounds grammatically acceptable, even though I have no real understanding of what "intermediate" as opposed to any other object might be…

"They become like solid/visible/artistic/valuable objects"? Why not?

"He's becoming a mad-like person" or "It is becoming like a spaceship" might in some way be better but they surely alter the meaning and are in no way necessary.

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