Make my day

In English you can make a lot of things. You can make small-talk. You can make a salad. You can even make yourself cry if you try hard enough!

However, as some learners and foreign speakers of English (I’m not pointing fingers at the French, Spanish, Germans or Italians here by the way) seem to think you can “make” just about anything in English.

I noted the phrase, “I make very good story” by one anonymous individual we’ll call Juan. To this date I don’t know if he meant that his life would make a good character plot or if he simply held himself to be a good writer. “I make the snowboard” means either that Aurel was trying to explain that he snowboarded or was in the snowboard manufacturing business. Thankfully one didn’t exclude the other. “Make please the light” was either religious innuendo or someone stuck in a dark room. I didn’t hang around to find out. “We make the English” was the beginning, end and result of a very confusing conversation I had with an Italian couple.

I say it’s important to help learners of English better themselves. Unfortunately one ends up on some very slippery slopes trying to explain that you don’t use “make” for any and all situations in English, because English native speakers use “make” a lot of the time for a lot of things.

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