Do you know the difference between 'My mom made a cake' and 'You have to make that decision.'? Well, we are gonna learn all about it in this lesson.

How to Use "Make" in English?

'Make' is a commonly used verb among native speakers. In this lesson, we will discuss how to learn and use it.

Functions of 'Make'

'Make' as the Main Verb

One of the main uses of 'make' is to function as the main verb in the sentence. Below, we are going to analyze it more:


When we use 'make' as the main verb, it can have several meanings. Below, we are going to analyze all:

  • When we want to indicate that something is produced, we use 'make':

Make some lunch for me, would you?

For my birthday, granny made a delicious cake for all.

  • When we want to produce a movie, or perform in it, we use 'make':

Joey has made a lot of great movies.

Tarantino has always made thought provoking movies.

  • When we want to indicate that something is caused, we use 'make':

The pill made it easy for her to sleep.

The comedian made me laugh my head off.

  • When we want to show someone/something is caused to appear as a particular thing, we use 'make':

What makes Korean pop music so popular is the beautiful and doll-like appearance of their singers.

A : What would you like for dessert, ma'am?

B : I have a chocolate cake - no, make that a creme brulee.

  • When we want to produce the total of two or more numbers, we use 'make':

6 and 6 make 12.

5 and 75 make 80.

Position in a Sentence

Since 'make' is the main verb here, we mainly put it after the subject. However, if we have an imperative sentence, please note that we must put the main verb at the beginning of the sentence. Look at the examples below for more clarification:

The old lady made a tasty Lasagna for me.

As you can see, 'make' has come after the subject.

I am gonna make you a dessert tonight.

'Make' as a Dummy Verb


As mentioned above, 'make' can also be a dummy verb. Dummy verbs (also called delexical verbs) are those that come with a noun and does not have the meaning as when it was used as the main verb. Below is a list of some common nouns used with 'make' as a dummy verb:

  • Make a decision
  • Make a bed
  • Make a guess, comment, etc.
  • Make a living
  • Make a fortune

Now, let us analyze the different meanings it can have as a dummy verb:

  • When we want to prepare a room and bed, we can use 'make' for each:

First make your room and then come with us.

I told Anne to make her room immediately.

  • When we want to decide, have a guess or leave a comment on something, we use 'make':

Tomorrow, we shall make the final decision.

My brother made a harsh comment on my article.

  • When we want to force someone do something, we use 'make':

Dad made me wash the dishes last night.

Stop making me apologize to you when you are the guilty one.

  • When we want to talk about making money, we use 'make':

So, tell me, how do you make a living?

I have literally no idea how my friend makes a fortune.

  • When we want to reach a position in a team, match or something, we use 'make':

I'm really sorry I couldn't make Denver yesterday.

Here, it is indicating that someone wanted to get into a particular team.

He didn't make my birthday party last week.

  • When we want to indicate that something will be successful, we can use 'make':

Anyways, the great news really made my day.

Only a delicious meal makes his day.

Position in a Sentence

Since we use 'make' here as a dummy verb, it must come with a specific noun. The only case in which we do not have a noun but the base form of the verb is when we use 'make' to force someone to do something. Look at the following examples for more clarification:

My auntie made me clean the house all day.

As you can see, we have the base form of the main verb after 'make'.

Can you tell Anna to make her bed?

I was going to make a comment about your article.

Idioms and Expressions

We have several idioms and expressions in English. Below we are going to learn all about them:

  • Make as if to do something: To make a particular gesture indicating that we want to do something:

She made as if to shout.

They made as if to leave.

  • Make it: When we want to indicate that someone is successful in their career:

You couldn't really make it as a waiter, could you?

Anna didn't make it as a hairdresser last year.

  • Make like: To be pretend in order to impress people:

I hate it when she makes like she's the best mother in the world.

Why do some people make like they're superior to others?

  • Make the most of something/someone: To gain as much advantage or joy from something:

This is the first time I'm going on a trip alone, so I wanna make the most of it.

Not everyone gets this kind of an opportunity so make the most of it, honey.

  • Make something one oneself: when we want to indicate that we are successful, we use this idiom:

I really want to make something out of myself this year.

Don't you wanna make something out of yourself in the literature field?

  • Make much of something/someone: When we want to treat someone/something as important, we use this idiom:

My father always makes much of his father in front of the others.


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