Well, let me give you one unpleasant example. In the 30s of the last century in Germany, there was also quite and stable population, and very cultivated population, the nation of Goethe and Schiller. In a few years, this very decent nation became fanatic Nazis.

Does a native speaker find the part in bold OK? It sounds to me very unnatural. "Nazis" is the noun and the adjectives are used with the verb "become" after all. Or not?

  • I don't understand your question. "Nation" singular, "Nazis" plural? I don't know what you mean by "the adjectives are used with the verb 'become'".
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 18:47
  • Yes, how can a singular nation bacame plural nazis. I would write "nation became fanatic nazi (one)."
    – bart-leby
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 18:57
  • Sometimes the term "nation" refers to the people rather than the state (Oxford defines "nation" as "A large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory"). However, even if it had said "this very decent country", I still think it would be legitimate usage (by metonymy).
    – rjpond
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


I think the bolded text sounds OK.

(I could offer possible stylistic improvements. I prefer "fanatical" as an adjective here, but "fanatic" is a valid adjective as well, and people refer to "fanatic Nazis", even if not as often as they refer to "fanatical Nazis"; I would also quite like to insert "just" before "a few", or else change "in" to "within", for reasons that I can't quite explain and which may well be wholly subjective. But I believe the sentence is correct as it is, and not especially unnatural.)

You can "become" + an adjective, but you can also "become" + a noun. You can become a Christian, become a Muslim, become a Communist, become a Republican, become a Nazi, and so on.

Among Cambridge's examples are:

Margaret Thatcher became the UK's first woman prime minister in 1979.

He has just become a father.

Of the four million people who have become vegetarians in Britain, nearly two-thirds are women.

When did you become a US citizen?

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