Footnotes Grammar

Make [n] [adj]

Make + [noun] + [adjective] is a common sentence pattern in English. It is used when something causes a change or a feeling.

For example

Studying makes him sleepy.

It makes me angry when people text while driving.

The snow made the plane late.

The rules below also work for make + [n] + [n]. This changes something or someone to a higher position or different condition.

Our boss made her the team leader.

Our tour guide made the vacation a pleasure.


You can see that there are no prepositions, infinitives, or gerunds after make.

I want my children to be healthy.

Playing outside makes children healthy.

They complained about the dogs being dirty.

The dogs really made this room dirty.


Common errors are…
  • Adding a preposition or another verb

Please make the test is easy!

Eating fast food made us for fat.

  • Using the wrong verb

The new curtains do the kitchen more colorful. (make)

Giving a speech gets me nervous. (makes)

(You might hear this, but we generally use get + [n] + [adj] for a gradual or natural change. The weather is getting hotter every day.)

  • Forgetting the noun

His ability to understand people made ___ very successful in business. (him)


Editing: Always check that the verb make has the correct number of ‘complements.’ 

 If you are using a computer, use the Find feature (Ctrl+F) to focus on only this verb. If it has the same meaning as “change,” check that you have the object changed, and the way it is changed. Double-check those small words like prepositions!

Remember that there a lot of different ways to use make.


Teachers: Download a printer-friendly copy of this page.

Verbs.Make (pdf)

Does this make it clearer?

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