Is it always valid to use make as a verb which causes a change by force in the personality/emotions/behaviors of objects?

Is it always valid to use become before all human emotions/senses/adjectives to express a change?

Is there any general rule which one to use when?

  • 3
    "Always" is a tough standard to reach. Became angry, made sad, become jubilant, and make excited all sound fine to me. But it's hard to say there are no exceptions hiding somewhere in the shadows. And even if there are no exceptions, that doesn't mean make and become would always be the best words to use in that context.
    – J.R.
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 23:20

2 Answers 2


Here, make is used in a context of "to cause something":
You make me cry — meaning, I was not crying, but because of you I start.

Become is simply "to change {one's own} state".

Imagine Alice sees a sad Bob. Alice tells a funny joke to Bob, and he becomes happy. The following sentences are all valid:

  • Alice made Bob happy;
  • Bob became happy;
  • Alice made Bob to (1) become happy;

So, as you see, to make applies to a causing subject, while to become applies to an object that changes.

(1) Thanks to @StoneyB; make takes bare infinitive, so can't use to here.


"make" is a transitive verb, therefore it infers an action to the object.
On the other hand, "become" is an intransitive verb, denoting a change in state.

For example:

"She will make the dinner."


"The acorn that became the mighty oak."

Both have wide usage, but usually there are more specific verbs that can be used in place of "make" or "become". For example:

"She will cook the dinner."


"He turned into a fine young man."

  • Sorry, I think, it's not very accurate. Another meaning of make fits better: make=cause, not make=produce. Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 11:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .