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[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?

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2 Answers

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.

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up to ($100) = as high as ($100) –  learner Jan 5 at 20:03
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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.

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