As far as I know, we have the following patterns with the verb make:

  • Make somebody do something (make somebody feel happy)

  • Make somebody/something + adj (make somebody happy)

Now, I can't figure out why the following sentences are correct as well.

Social networking sites make people be more truthful about their lives.**

I think the following is correct but the above one wrong:

Social networking sites make people more truthful about their lives.

Am I right? Or are both sentences correct, and why?

2 Answers 2


Neither is correct because the verb make is too strong for your use here:

If you are made to do something, you do it. You have no option to do otherwise.

This is not the effect that social media has on people regarding if they are truthful or not.

In terms of modifying your sample sentences, you might use the following which would make more sense:

"Social networking sites encourage people to be more truthful about their lives."

This statement is still expressing an opinion and open to interpretation, but in terms of your intended meaning works well enough.

  • Here: make means "force someone do something" or "cause someone to be in a situation"?
    – English Learner
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 6:42
  • The sentences are grammatically correct. However, in this context, I agree with the choice of the word 'Encourage' as opposed to 'make' as it's not a compulsion that social media sites impose on people to be honest. I would go with 'Allow'. Social media sites take away the fear of being ridiculed / judged and allow someone to be honest.
    – Bhoomika Arora
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 8:40
  • 1
    You've provided the definition of "force," not "make." Make is absolutely fine in the original. In every source the first or second gloss of "make" is "to cause something to exist or come about" or similar. There is no problem at all with its use in the OP.
    – MDHunter
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 12:15
  • @MDHunter Well spotted, yes I linked to the wrong definition. Have updated. The answer is perfectly fine though. Make has far too strong an implication regarding the necessity of being truthful here.
    – Gary
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 13:23
  • 1
    Grammatically speaking the sentences are both correct, you're quibbling over the choice of verb, you're interpreting the OP's examples literally. Of course a website cannot forcibly constrain anyone to be more honest that's nonsense, but the examples themselves are grammatically sound.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 7:00

Both are grammatically correct. The version with "make people be" is slightly more awkward.

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