What’s the difference between make of and think of, as in

  • What do you think of it?
  • What do you make of it?

If context matters in this case, let’s imagine King Jong Un were to step down as the president of NK, and you want to ask your friends’ opinions about it. Would the two ways of phrasing make any subtle difference?

2 Answers 2


According to Merriam-Webster:

make, verb, definition 15 a :
to conclude as to the nature or meaning of something

We ask, "What do you make of it?" when we are deeply confused or baffled by something. Some examples of situations where you might ask this question:

  1. you find a strange coin and bring it to an expert coin collector to assess
  2. you can't read your doctor's horrible handwriting and ask someone else to help you
  3. your spouse's ex, whom you do not get along with, sends you a sweet birthday card out of the blue, and you want your spouse's opinion

"What do you think of it?" is a broad question asking generally someone's opinion. It could include all of the above situations, but is not at all limited to that type of question.


They're pretty close.

Asking "what do you make of it" might suggest that the person asking doesn't know "what to make of it" themselves, or is unsure of their own assessment of something. They might be looking for your assessment to validate their own. "What do you think of it" is similar, but is neutral about whether or not the person asking has made an assessment.

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