As a learner I always use:

Make something adjective, as in,

I need to make it clean.

But today I saw:

You need to rub hard to get it clean.

Are they both valid to a native speaker?


The choices you provided are both valid options with this adjective; "get it clean" is generally more casual and common, but "make it clean" is natural enough that nobody would notice either way.

However, "get" doesn't work in all situations. For example, you can "get something clean," "safe," or "wet" but you cannot "get something difficult," "blue," or rough." I've been trying to figure out the exact pattern for about an hour now without success, and at this point I no longer think there is one. So, welcome to another area in which English has strange exceptions for no logical reason.

Luckily, in the very specific context of "verb-noun-adjective," make is acceptable in 99% of cases. The only exception I can think of is that you can get someone married, but you cannot make someone married. Admittedly for adjectives which normally use get (particularly wet), make does sound somewhat stilted, but it's grammatically correct and thus perfectly valid. I wouldn't worry about it; by the time you reach the point it becomes a concern, you'll probably have already memorized the various rules just by listening.

This isn't important whatsoever, but for the sake of being thorough, "finally got" can technically be used with any adjective. For example, I would never say "I got it blue," but if I managed to make it blue after several hours of trying I could say I finally got it blue!" However, this is extremely informal, sounds somewhat uncultured, and "I finally made it blue" is still perfectly acceptable.

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