Language tip of the week: make

Posted by on December 27, 2011

In this weekly microblog, we bring to English language learners more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult.

This week’s language tip helps with the verb make.

When make means ‘to cause or force someone to do something’ and is followed by another verb, use the infinitive without to:
✗ What makes them to commit crime?
✓ What makes them commit crime?
✗ Advertising makes us to buy a lot of unnecessary things.
✓ Advertising makes us buy a lot of unnecessary things.
But when make is in the passive, use the infinitive with to:
I feel the American people have been unfairly made to pay for the government’s mistakes.

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