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From "English Grammar Today":

"Get" and "go" are both used to mean ‘become’, but they combine with different adjectives. We often use "get" with words like "dark, light and late"; we use "go" with colours...

So, it's correct to say:

The trees are going green.

But what about:

The trees are getting green.

Isn't it correct/awkward?

  • I think that, in the context of your example, you could use either and their meaning is the same. – Max Williams Jun 28 '16 at 12:24
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    The trees are "turning green". (As is that guy at the end of the bar.) The XYZ Oil Exploitation Corporation is "going green" (which is to say it's going to "greenwash" the pollution it puts out). – Hot Licks Jun 28 '16 at 12:32
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    In modern parlance, "going green" tends (at least in the UK) to mean "becoming environmentally friendly". Just a thought, is "going" used where the action is 'active' (e.g. making an effort to become environmentally friendly), and "getting" where the action is 'passive' (e.g. 'getting dark')? That would be consistent with "get" for "dark, light and late", whereas one would say "I'm getting cold/hot/tired/etc." which directly affects the person. – TrevorD Jun 28 '16 at 12:43
  • I think 'The trees are going green' sounds more awkward in this context. – Ashwin Nair Jun 28 '16 at 13:00
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    I agree that with the specific color green the verb "go" has a specific meaning (and I'm a Spartan, so to me "Go Green!" means something else again). However, if you alter your example to "The grass is [going/getting] brown" (due to lack of water, perhaps) then I think either is appropriate. Also "my hair is getting/going gray." In both cases, to my (AmE) ear, getting carries a slight implication of "and we should do something about that"--water or dye, respectively--whereas going is more just a general observation. (And if I did dye my hair, then I would be going blonde/red etc.) – nedibes Jun 28 '16 at 14:34
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It depends on what you're trying to communicate. If you speaking specifically about trees, you really would not say either since trees, leaves in particular, don't change to green. They start off green.

Leaves though don't "go" or "get", they turn or change.

The leaves turn brown in the fall. or

Maine is pretty in the fall when the leaves change.

"The tree is going/turning green" may imply there's is something wrong.

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