I had the essay published in the school paper.
I made the essay published in the school paper.

Why I can't use "make" in the sentence ?

  • 1
    This question looks simple, but it's quite complex and very interesting!!! Nice first question :-) Welcome to ELL. Oct 14, 2018 at 20:42

3 Answers 3


The two verbs take different kinds of object complements.

have something {clause headed by participle}

make something | someone {clause headed by bare infinitive}

He had the picture framed.

He has the rice cooking.


The pollen made her eyes water.

The sad news made her cry.

The good news made her shout for joy.



He made the spoon bend using telekinesis.

With respect to have someone {participle or bare infinitive}

He had him debriefed.

He had him laughing.

He had him count to ten backwards.

  • 1
    This is only a quarter of the answer. The sentence I made the essay be published in the school paper won't work either. The object must be sentient in the make construction. Second thing is that have can take a DO + passive participle, or it can take a DO + infinitival clause, just like make. For example: I had him bake the cake and I made him bake the cake. This question is not at all simple! Oct 14, 2018 at 20:43
  • @Araucaria: The object of "make" doesn't have to be "sentient". I made it break by shaking it too hard. or He made the spoon bend merely by thinking it into that shape.
    – TimR
    Oct 14, 2018 at 22:33
  • OK, so in that construction if the verb isn't ergative the object must be sentient, no? (It gets yet more complicated still!). But as guide for usage, the distinction needs to be made ... :) Oct 15, 2018 at 0:26

When you say I make, you are saying that you were directly involved in what happened:

I made some cakes - I personally spent an hour in the kitchen
I made his life difficult - I personally was giving him a hard time

The only exception is if you compel somebody to do something, but note that the direct object him or the door is the person or thing that you compel to do something:

I made him stay at work for an extra hour. he had to stay
I made the door fit properly - the door fitted

When you say I have with a thing as the direct object, it's either about something you experienced, or about causing something to happen (though not directly being involved). In both of these cases, the direct object is the thing that something happens to- her bag and the TV:

2.3 (with past participle) Experience or suffer the specified action happening or being done to (something)

she had her bag stolen

2.4 (with object and complement) Cause to be in a particular state or condition

I had the TV on with the sound turned down

When the direct object is the person or thing doing something, the meanings are the same with make or have

I had him bake a cake - he made it
I made him bake a cake - he made it

When the direct object is the thing that has something done to it, the meanings are different.

I had a cake baked by him - he made it
I made a cake - I made it

You may have written the essay, but you personally did not publish it: you caused it to be published, so you can "have it published" but you cannot "make it published".

  • I had him bake a cake and I made him bake a cake. Doesn't seem to fit with your explanation ... Oct 14, 2018 at 20:39
  • @Araucaria, as I said, "I made him..." is an exception. I have updated my answer to include the two example sentences you provided.
    – JavaLatte
    Oct 15, 2018 at 4:03

You can use make in the sentence if you wish but it would serve only to indicate that you are not a native English speaker.

In short, it's not idiomatic. People don't speak like that. It's not the way English speakers talk.

There are various verb options when it comes to essays. You can read them, mark them, write them, improve them, inspire them, suggest them, consider them and a great many more.

But you can't make them unless you wish to display your ignorance of idiomatic English.

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