The Many Meanings of Make
What began as an effort to find out if make can be a linking verb has led me to discover the multitudinous uses of this humble verb.
The verb make has been around so long that its etymology is obscure. It may go back to an Indo-European word meaning “to knead,” as in making dough.
Its usual use is as a transitive verb, but it can also be used as an intransitive verb and a linking verb. Its first sense is ‘to produce, construct, assemble, frame, fashion.” It has numerous figurative meanings and occurs in many English idioms.
Sometime when you have about an hour to spend, look up make in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Here are just a few uses:
make a fire: put together materials and set them alight
make a will (or other document): draw up, compose, draft
make a garden (park, road): prepare a site for a garden
make a scene: display unbridled emotion
make a wound (mark, hole, sound): cause or inflict
make a fool of one’s self: embarrass oneself
make fast: secure
make away with: steal or kill
made of: fashioned out of, as in This coat is made of leather.
made of: (of a person) possessed of certain qualities, as in Let’s see what you’re made of.
made in: manufactured, as in Made in Mexico
made of money: extremely wealthy
Some idioms differ according to context:
to make a difference:
1. make a distinction, discriminate, act or treat differently
2. change a situation
to make time:
1. to schedule one’s activities in order to enable something to be accomplished
2. to be successful in sexual advances
Make is a frequent word in proverbs:
Haste makes waste.
Light purse makes a heavy heart.
Might makes right.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Politics makes strange bedfellows.
Practice makes perfect.
So, did I ever find out if make can be a linking verb?
According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, it can. Here are some examples given of make functioning as a linking verb:
She would have made an excellent teacher.
This room would make a nice office.
A hundred cents make one euro.
That makes the third time he’s failed his driving test.
Browse all articles on the Expressions category or check the recommended content for you below:
Improve your English in 5 minutes a day! Subscribe to our Writing Tips and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!