1

I watched a video about Chinese cities on YouTube and encountered this sentence:

Pups that were fawned over grew to be calm regardless of their natural mother's behaviour.

I am studying English now, but I don't understand why it is "to be calm", and not merely "calm". To my mind, this sentence should be as follows:

Pups that were fawned over grew calm regardless of their natural mother's behaviour.

Could you explain why I am wrong? Could you give some references to a rule?

0

3 Answers 3

4

You are not wrong; grew calm is perfectly good English.

We sometimes use grow to before a verb - grow to like it - or before [be + adjective] - grow to be happy - to emphasise that becoming that way was a gradual process. See this explanation.

We don't say to calm as you have written in your heading, though.

3
  • Do you, british people, use verb + to be + adjective in order to show gradual process with all adjectives or not? I am russian and didn't find any resources in russian on this topic, unfortunately. Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 9:23
  • 1
    I have edited my answer to make it clearer. English speakers can, in theory, use grow to be with any adjective that makes sense after grow. Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 9:57
  • 2
    Well, to calm does exist but it's a transitive verb. The puppies could calm a distressed person, for example. But that does radically change the meaning. Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 10:13
1

The title question does not ask about the resultative adjectival usage 'grow calm' but about the variant 'grow to be calm' and the verb usage 'calm'.

  • Pups that were fawned over grew [up] to be calm regardless of their natural mother's behaviour.

is idiomatic (especially with the 'up') with the intended meaning.

  • Pups that were fawned over grew calm regardless of their natural mother's behaviour.

does not work, as it implies a relatively fast process, not the temperament modelling @Kate mentions.

  • Pups that were fawned over were calm regardless of their natural mother's behaviour.

works, but with a different (depictive not resultative) meaning.

  • Pups that were fawned over calmed regardless of their natural mother's behaviour.

is probably unidiomatic, though adding padding (quickly calmed or calmed down [quickly]) forces the intransitive usage of the verb 'calm' / 'calm down':

calm [verb] [a intransitive verb]

:to become calm — usually used with down

  • The mayor asked the protesters to calm down so he could speak.

[Merriam-Webster]

(fuller ELU-directed answer)

1

Perhaps this makes more sense:

The concert hall was noisy. When the conductor came on stage the room grew quiet.

The parents were always noisy. For some reason, their children grew to be quiet regardless of their parent's behaviour.

3
  • Do brits often use this in oral speech or not? Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 10:17
  • 1
    It's not something you'd discuss often, so neither version is often used in oral speech. Rather than "grew quieter" in a colloquial context you'd probably say "got quieter", and if they "grew to be quieter" gradually you'd probably say "they got quieter after a while/when they grew up".
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 10:23
  • 1
    Could be US English - I have certainly heard and read this before. Got quieter is not the same as grew quiet
    – mplungjan
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 10:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .