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Mom made me a sandwich.

Does this necessarily include the meaning that Mom made the sandwich available to me?

Or does this only mean that Mom made the sandwich, leaving it to context whether or not Mom actually made it available to me?

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    It depends if your father is the Earl of Sandwich or not
    – Vorsprung
    Mar 30, 2019 at 10:04
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    or perhaps you have been recently reincarnated as a sandwich (I don't know how metempsychosis works but hey, why not) and you are considering who is to blame
    – Vorsprung
    Mar 30, 2019 at 10:05
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    There certainly are puns of a sort based on this idiom. When my kids were little they would ask me to make them a peanut butter sandwich. I'd respond by tapping them on the shoulder and saying "OK, you're a sandwich."
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 30, 2019 at 12:04
  • Technically, It would your father who made you a Sandwich, that is, if the Earls of Sandwich weren't called Montagu. Mar 30, 2019 at 14:26
  • Depending on context (and your mom) she might be transforming you into a sandwich.
    – TaW
    Mar 30, 2019 at 20:01

3 Answers 3

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The meaning of "make someone something" is "make something for someone". It would be possible to say:

Mum made me a sandwich, but then ate it herself.

Mum intended the sandwich for me, but either changed her mind or forgot. The word "make" doesn't include the sense of "give".

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    We can also read it as "Mom turned me into a sandwich" Mar 30, 2019 at 9:05
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    @CowperKettle - I don't think that is helpful. Remember this is English Learners. That would never be said with that meaning in ordinary speech. At most it would said as some kind of joke. Mar 30, 2019 at 10:03
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    @chaslyfromUK A sentence like "Mom made me a thief and a liar" is perfectly standard English (and it implies that that the speaker had an unfortunate childhood of course.) Whether the construction means "made something for me" or "turned me into something" depends on the context.
    – alephzero
    Mar 30, 2019 at 11:11
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    @alephzero - Standard English consists of standard grammar, context and idioms. In this case context wins out. "Mom made me (into) a sandwich" is nonsense in everyday terms. So is "Mom made me a thief and a liar and gave them to me as a birthday present". The grammar is perfect in both cases but language is not just grammar. Mar 30, 2019 at 11:18
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    @DavidRicherby: The potential ambiguity of "make <something> <something else>" is something most native speakers probably learn by the time they're about three years old. It should totally be taught to beginners as soon as they encounter indirect objects and the verb "make". It doesn't have to be confusing, either: just say that "make X a Y" can mean either "make a Y for X" or "turn X into a Y", and that you have to decide from context which of those makes more sense. In any case, the OP probably knows all this already, since they're asking about a rather more subtle issue here. Mar 30, 2019 at 13:38
5

"Mom made me a sandwich" means that mom made a sandwich and that the sandwich is for you to eat. It doesn't necessarily mean that she's given you the sandwich yet, but it does imply that she intends to. For example, you could be going on a long trip starting early in the morning. Mom has made sandwiches for everybody, but they're going to stay in her bag until lunch time.

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Yes of course it would be available to you. Why would she make it for you and then not let you eat it?

In my opinion, "Mom made me a sandwich" is clear and it does not need the "has". Not that Fresh Learner’s answer is incorrect — it's probably right — but the context on a sentence like "My Mom made me a sandwich" is almost always that she made it for you to eat at that time. It's the "made me" that is key; she didn't make it for someone else, or so that she could eat it.

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  • So, which of the two possibilities that the question mentions are you arguing for? Mar 30, 2019 at 6:06
  • In my opinion, "Mom made me a sandwich" is clear and it does not need the "has". Not that @Fresh Learner is incorrect, he probably is, but the context on a sentence like "My Mom made me a sandwich" is almost always that she made it for you to eat at that time
    – wavery
    Mar 30, 2019 at 6:20
  • it's the "made me" that is key; She didn't make if for someone else, or so that she could eat it.
    – wavery
    Mar 30, 2019 at 6:29
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    Where was "has" even mentioned? It's not in the posted question, which has not been edited. Was it brought up in comments that were later deleted?
    – The Photon
    Mar 30, 2019 at 15:12
  • @ThePhoton - it was in an answer that has been subsequently deleted. You need 10k rep to be able to see those. [tbh, that's why answers need to stand alone & not rely on other context.] Mar 31, 2019 at 11:13

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