We can say:

  • He grew up in Colorado.
  • He was brought up in Colorado.
  • He was raised in Colorado.

With almost the same meaning.

But I wonder if instead of the following sentence:

1 - When I grow up I want to be a teacher.

we can say:

2 - When I am brought up I want to be a teacher.
3 - When I am raised I want to be a teacher.

I don't think that we are able to substitute the sentences #2&3 with #1, because to me the sentences #2 and #3 sound incorrect.

The problem is that why in my first example: "I grew up in Colorodo", the other two verbs can work instead of "grow up", while in my second case "When I grow up..." they don't?!

I cannot understand why?!


This answer was originally responding to an earlier version of the question. The question has been edited to use different forms, where the issues first discussed do not exist. I have left that discussion in place, in hopes that it will be helpful for some readers, ad added discussion of the revised forms now in the question. -DES

One can use the phrasal verbs "grow up" and "brought up" (and the verb "raise") in such a past context but one must use the proper verb form in each case.

When I grew up I want to be a teacher.

This uses an incorrect form. It should be:

When I grew up I wanted to be a teacher.

This is discussing the speaker's past wishes, which may not be the same as the speaker's current or later desires.

The revised version:

When I grow up I want to be a teacher.

is speaking about the future, not looking back at the past. It is correct as it stands, and is indeed a very natural and common expression.

When I am brought up I want to be a teacher.

This uses several incorrect forms. One could write:

  • When I was being brought up I wanted to be a teacher.
  • When I was being raised I wanted to be a teacher.

These forms are used because the "wanting" happened in the past, during the process of raising or bringing up. Other forms are possible, but not the form in the question.

The revised version:

When I am brought up I want to be a teacher.

is not strictly incorrect, but it is awkward and not a usual way of expressing this concept. The problem is that unlike "grow up" the phrasal verb "bring up" emphasizes what someone else (a parent most often) does, while "grow up" mostly emphasizes the mere passage of time. One could say "When I am done being brought up", but that is also an unusual way to express this thought at best. The problem in my view is that the implied emphasis that "bring up" carries is in conflict with the actual meaning of the sentence, so this does not work well.

Using the verb "raise" in this sentence has exactly the same issue. Like "bring up", the verb "raise" emphasizes not the passage of time, but the process of maturation and particularly of education. To put it another way, "growing up" is something that a person more or less does on his or her own, while "raising" or "bringing up" is something that someone else does to a person, presumably with benevolent intent and effect, but still to the person doing the growing. That means that using "when I am raised" as a way of saying "When I become an adult" feels like a mismatch. Beyond that, "when I grow up" is a very common phrase, used for exactly this meaning, and forms using "bring up" or raise are so much less common for this purpose that they 'don't feel right".

One could say something like

He is being raised to be a teacher.

but that is about what someone else wants or expects him to do, not about what he wants, so the meaning is rather different.

  • Sorry David, as it was not difficult to guess, I meant "When I grow up...". That was a typo and you changed the whole way to answer it upside down just fir one mistake. I would appreciate it if you coul ipdate your answer. – A-friend Jul 23 at 14:44
  • @A-F Answer significantly revised. Please check it out. – David Siegel Jul 23 at 15:59

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