English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

[q] Managers who go on to earn engineering degrees can make up to $100,000 a year.
-- corpus.byu.edu/coca

What does ‘make’ mean? I guess it might be either [a] or [b] below from Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s.

[a] 14 a [linking verb] — used to indicate a total
[b] 17 [+ obj] : to earn or gain (money, a profit, etc.)

But I’m not sure, for [q] has prepositional complement which I don't find in dictionaries. Which mean do I have to take? Can the prepositional phrase be used with the one you select?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It means that managers who go on to earn engineering degrees can earn an annual salary that may be as high as $100,000 per year.

share|improve this answer
up to ($100) = as high as ($100) – learner Jan 5 '14 at 20:03

It's Definition 17. Definiately 17. The word make in that context refers to salary; under Definition 17, make is a synonym of earn.

I made $18,000 when I first started working here.

Most native speakers would assume that the $18,000 figure in that sentence referred to an annual salary, unless additional context specified otherwise.

As for Definition 14, that's more of an arithmetic use of the word:

Twelve donuts make a dozen.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.