Talking about changes using turn and fall

We use turn to talk about visible changes of state. It is common before color words. Note that turn is more formal than go.

  • Leaves turn brown in autumn.
  • When I broke the news she turned red.
  • She turned white with anger.
  • Suddenly everything turned black and I became unconscious.
  • He turned nasty after he had had a couple of drinks.

Note that in British English go is more common than turn.

To talk about a dramatic or sudden change in the nature of somebody or something, we use turn into. Note that turn into is used before nouns.

  • Jealousy can turn even the nicest guy into a monster.
  • When the princess kissed the frog it turned into a prince.
  • Everything that Midas touched turned into gold.

Turn is also used to talk about people changing their religion or occupation.

  • Towards the end of her life, she turned Catholic.

Fall means ‘become’ in a number of fixed expressions. Examples are: fall ill, fall asleep and fall in love.

  • She fell in love with an old guy.
  • The child has fallen asleep.
  • he falls ill more often than other kids her age.