Which is the correct sentence or what is difference among the following sentences?

My friend is putting on weight.

My friend is gaining weight.

My friend is getting fat.

4 Answers 4


Let me re-arrange the order of your sentences:

My friend is gaining weight.

The most positive-to-neutral phrase. It simply states that the weight of the person you are talking about is increasing. This expression would be chosen in a medical context and is arguably the only one you could precede with "Finally" or "Thank god,...".

My friend is putting on weight.

The colloquial version of the sentence above. Basically the same principles apply, but there is also room for the occasional "poking-a-flabby-pounch" irony or criticism: It depends on context whether it would be considered positive or negative.

My friend is getting fat.

Not much room for interpretation here: Fat means overweight and - at least in western culture - that's considered negative. Of course you might be simply registering your concern about your friends health, but the expression is rather blunt.


You are fat if you have too much weight because of too much flesh on your body.

If your friend is putting on weight or gaining weight, it means that his weight is on the increase. The only difference between these phrases is that the former is more colloquial and common than the latter that is a bit formal.

However, if he is gaining or putting on weight, it doesn't necessarily mean that he is getting fat. I agree to the comments of David Wallace "I am very skinny; I can gain weight without getting fat".


Don't bother much!

putting on weight is gaining weight

Also, you use 'getting fat' to mean that someone is gaining weight.

BUT socially, I think 'You are getting fat' would be a bit offensive over other two options. That's my opinion though!

Note: I will not take you into the nuance of whether gaining weight is for good health (as in some conditions such as recovering from tuberculosis or typhoid). If I do so, I'll digress here.

  • 3
    You might be really putting your foot in your mouth if you use "getting fat" and "gaining weight" synonymously!
    – Stephie
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 9:01
  • 3
    -1. If I'm very skinny, I can gain weight without getting fat. Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 9:52
  • 2
    I read it thanks. It doesn't make your answer right. Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 10:14
  • 4
    I know that gaining weight does not happen without getting fats in your body. 2 thoughts: 1. At least in the United States, we use "gaining weight" for addition of fat OR for increase in muscle mass. A professional basketball player might well gain weight while decreasing body fat. 2. Regardless of the previous getting fat is not the same as getting fats in the body. Getting fat means that your body fat percentage has moved past average, and is heading towards obese - visible rolls, etc. Going from scrawny to slim would be gaining fat, not getting fat.
    – Adam
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 17:15
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    @Adam Your athlete example is a good one. Professional boxers often gain weight to move up to a different weight division, and much of that weight is muscle not fat.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 21:07
  1. My friend is putting on weight.
  2. My friend is gaining weight.
  3. My friend is getting fat.

The main words we need to look at in this form is that "putting", "gaining" and "getting" are all verbs (doing words). Since all three are doing words, they have no difference.

However, the first two statements end with "weight", while the last is "fat". These two can have different meanings, depending on the context you use them in. For example, the word "weight" can be used for human or non-human characteristics. The word "fat" is specific to things which can take the form of physical fat.

Now basing this on your three statements. You have started the sentence off with "My friend" therefore, the weight for your friend could be any type thing which can have weight, like muscle, fat, and bone. In your last sentence, you have said "fat". Therefore your friend is getting fat ONLY.

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    No. In the phrase getting fat, the word fat is an adjective describing body shape. It's different from fat the noun, denoting the oily substance that some of us have too much of in our bodies. It is misleading to conflate these two definitions. You could have loads of body fat, and still not be a fat shape. Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 17:31

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