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The phrase is from "Hacksaw Ridge" movie. It's about Desmond Doss who voluntarily enlisted in WWII but refused to carry a weapon because of his religious beliefs. Now the company's commander is talking to the drill sergeant to decide what to do with Doss. The drill sergeant: "Perhaps we could help make believe in his idea."

Sergeant: Perhaps we could help make believe in his idea.

Commander: Yeah, you restrict him to barracks and KP. If he throws God at you, you throw Hell right at him. I want him gone.

I'm not sure what does "help make believe" mean.

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  • Are you familiar with the idiom make believe?
    – choster
    Feb 13, 2017 at 16:06
  • Yes, I am. But it doesn't make any sense to me with "to help" in this context. Feb 13, 2017 at 16:10
  • @choster "make believe", meaning "pretend" or "imagine", has a different meaning from this use of "help make believe" here.
    – Andrew
    Feb 13, 2017 at 17:22

1 Answer 1

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"Help make (him) believe" is a combination of two modal verbs:

Help him believe

Make him believe

To "help someone believe" is to give someone reasons or encouragement to believe in something. To "make someone believe" is to force someone to believe in something. So to "help make him believe" is to assist forcing him to believe in something.

Note that there should be a "him" there, which is missing from your quote. It's possible you misheard the quote, or it could be an ellipsis where the "him" is implied. In normal speech, the "him" can be very subtle, and pronounced like:

Perhaps we can help make'm believe.

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  • Thatnk you. The quote is from official subtitles, so if there was "him" it's subtitle makers who misheard. Feb 13, 2017 at 18:04
  • @DmitriyEsarev It's possible. I've been meaning to watch that movie so perhaps I'll get to it tonight and let you know.
    – Andrew
    Feb 13, 2017 at 19:04
  • I would appreciate that Feb 13, 2017 at 19:05

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