He made out like he'd read the book, whereas he hadn't.

He made out that he'd read the book, whereas he hadn't.

He made out he'd read the book, whereas he hadn't.

I looked up make out in the dictionary and it said make out that is right, but i can remember hearing people use make out like, I haven't heard anyone use the third one though. Are all those sentences grammatically correct? Do they mean the same thing?

  • You need to add what you are trying to say, along with the definitions you found. I don't think your examples involve regular usage. Commonly, you make out something you can't see or hear, or make out with a lover. – user3169 Apr 16 '18 at 19:55
  • @user3169 I mean it in the sense of someone pretending. Like "he pretended he was rich, wearing those rich-guy clothes, but we all knew the truth was far from that." – Soumya Ghosh Apr 17 '18 at 6:48
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    All three are acceptable variations of "made out", although keep in mind this is a colloquialism that might not be familiar to all English speakers. Because of its relatively limited use, I'd have to guess which is most common. I actually like the third one -- I'll have to remember to use it. – Andrew Apr 17 '18 at 15:56
  • A more modern usage might be "He acted like he'd..." – user3169 Apr 17 '18 at 19:27
  • Those phrases don’t mean the same, and “whereas he hadn’t…” adds nothing useful; only confusion. “He made out like…” will always be understood as meaning the same as “He made out that…” but “like” will always be bad English. “He made out he’d…” falls about half-way between the others: wholly comprehensible; hardly justifiable. – Robbie Goodwin Jul 9 '18 at 20:20

In this context, "made out" normally means "implied", that is to suggest something without explicitly stating it, although as it can also mean a form of deception it could include lying or making a false statement.

A simple way to test which is correct is to substitute the expression for word "implied" (or "stated", either work, but in my examples I will use implied):

He implied like he'd read the book, whereas he hadn't. INCORRECT

He implied that he'd read the book, whereas he hadn't. CORRECT

He implied he'd read the book, whereas he hadn't. CORRECT

Is "made out like..." sometimes used? Yes, idiomatically, and generally in US English, although some British English speakers are influenced by US culture and so it is not entirely unheard of in British English.

"Like" is a comparative term used to say that two things are alike either in one or several comparable ways, but not usually to suggest that two things are identical or the same in every way. If the purpose of a statement like yours is to say that someone suggested, hinted, implied or directly stated that someone is something or did something, then saying their speech made out "like" something brings in doubt. In some cases, that might be what you want to say, for example:

He made out like I was an idiot or something.

I would take from such a statement that the speaker felt they had been unfairly maligned. There is no suggestion that the other party actually called them an "idiot", but perhaps what they said made them look foolish. This is an example of a fairly common expression and is less direct that your examples in which there cannot be any hyperbole or comparison - either someone read a book, or they did not.

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He made out like he'd read the book, whereas he hadn't.

Usually it will be make it out like:

He made it out like he'd read the book, whereas he hadn't.

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  • Sorry, and in English that would never be "make it out like". – Robbie Goodwin Jul 9 '18 at 20:12
  • Care to elaborate? – LawrenceC Jul 9 '18 at 20:50
  • How, please? That would be elaborating a negative…still, to "make out like" is commonly used for to "pretend" while in 60 years of listening and reading, I don't recall ever having met you "make it out like." I say "your" because just as "make out" does, so "make it out" does hve the almost opposite meaning not to "pretend" or "give the appearance of" but to "discern". As in "there seems to be something happening over there but I can't quite make it out…" whihc surely has no place here? – Robbie Goodwin Jul 12 '18 at 15:58

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