I understand that after the verb MAKE, the verb that follows should be written without TO, Example: "They made him pay all the money" however, why it sound so correct to me: "He was made to pay" Then again: "They made me pay". Is it the presence of the object pronoun that makes the difference?

2 Answers 2


In the active voice, made (make) is followed by bare infinitive; however, in the passive voice, made is followed by to infinitive. For example, 'We made him pay the bill' in the active voice changes to 'He was made to pay the bill' in the passive voice.


In English, when we combine two verbs usually the second verb needs to be in either the infinitive or gerund form. The situation you are asking about is one of the cases where the infinitive form is used for the second verb.

This website has a decent list of verbs that should be followed by infinitive verbs, but it is not entirely complete: https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/verbs/infinitive-verb.html

Knowing when to use infinitives vs when to use gerunds or regular forms of verbs can be confusing, but it's something you get a feel for over time.

  • This doesn't hold water because it doesn't explain the rub. Active: You expect me to believe that? Passive: I am expected to believe that? Active: You made me do that. Passive: I was made to do that. What gives?
    – Eddie Kal
    Aug 26, 2020 at 2:27
  • Yes, Eddie, but what if you applied the same logic to the relevant examples? How does your rule explain the difference between "They made him…" and "He was made to…"? More to the point, who could that apply to "He was made to…" v "he was made…"? For clarity, "He was made to pay" v "he was made pay" How would that work? Oct 7, 2022 at 20:28

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