In the sentence "Tamara’s blue hair really makes her stand out", the phrasal verb "stand out" is used as an adjective, as I understood. In the following example from Oxford Learner's Dictionary, it's definitely a verb:

The lettering stood out well against the dark background.

But in "Tamara’s blue hair really makes her stand out", all I see is that "make" is the verb, and "stand out" functions as an adjective because "she is stand out" is like "she is beautiful".

What am I missing and what's the function of "stand out" in "Tamara’s blue hair really makes her stand out"?

  • 1
    Have you looked in a dictionary?
    – BillJ
    Feb 11, 2022 at 8:50
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    ''stand out'' is not used as an adjective. Compare "Tamara’s blue hair really makes her stand out" and "Tamara’s blue hair really makes her beautiful". Feb 11, 2022 at 10:37
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    You can rephrase it to: Tamara stands out because of her blue hair. Feb 11, 2022 at 10:39
  • In that context, the function is the same. It's a verb, part of the structure, "make" + somebody + base form, as in, "I make my children eat their vegetables."
    – gotube
    Feb 11, 2022 at 20:20
  • @orhantorun That was my mistake. I must have intended to leave that comment on a different question (I closed many questions yesterday). I closed this one for lack of research, not because it was based on an error, and you have since added your research. Thanks!
    – gotube
    Feb 25, 2022 at 19:43

3 Answers 3


In the sentence 'Tamara’s blue hair really makes her stand out' the phrasal verb 'stand out' is used as a verb, just like 'walk' in 'Tamara’s injured leg really makes her walk slowly'. She stands out because of her blue hair. She walks slowly because of her injured leg.

stand out

to be easy to see or notice because of being different

Stand out (Macmillan Dictionary)

There is an adjective 'standout', usually written as one word, and mainly American informal, which means 'outstanding', or 'noticeably better'. You could use this in a sentence like 'I remember Tamara's standout blue hair'.




noticeable because of being much better than anyone or anything else

a standout player/performance

Standout (Macmillan Dictionary)

  • Actually, it's not the whole expression "stand out" that is a verb, but just the word "stand". "Stand out" consists of the verb "stand" + the prep "out" as its complement.
    – BillJ
    Feb 11, 2022 at 9:03
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    I don't know why this had been downvoted. Feb 11, 2022 at 9:08
  • @BillJ - so Macmillan is wrong? Also Cambridge? 'stand out — phrasal verb with stand' Feb 11, 2022 at 9:09
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    @BillJ - I think the point is that the OP thought 'stand out' was an adjective. Possibly your point about unpacking phrasal verbs is a little abstruse, given the circumstances. Feb 11, 2022 at 9:20
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    @BillJ Do phrasal verbs not exist, grammatically, or is "stand out" simply not an example of one?
    – gotube
    Feb 25, 2022 at 18:45

Tamara’s blue hair really makes her [stand out].

No: "stand out" is not an adjective. It's a clause functioning as complement of "make", here a verb of causation. It consists of the verb "stand" followed by the preposition "out".

See here for the meaning: link

  • 1
    Doesn't a clause need to include a subject. Where is the subject in "stand out"?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 25, 2022 at 7:57

It’s not necessarily being used as an adjective; the meaning is actually preserved between your two examples. The phrasal verb “stand out” could be a verb in both cases that expresses essentially the same meaning. To help you understand the first sentence, let me offer some examples:

Tamara’s golden dress made everyone’s jaws drop.

The sprain in my ankle made me fall to my knees.

Eating food makes me feel happy.

Tamara’s blue hair really makes her look good.

Puberty really made him glow up.

It is also possible to think of it as an adjective (though it’s not quite the same thing grammatically). Again, I’ll provide examples:

Tamara’s blue hair made her unique.

Her personality is what makes her beautiful.

With that jacket, he looks very grown up.

  • I would avoid calling "stand out" a verb for the reason I gave in my comment to Michael Harvey.
    – BillJ
    Feb 11, 2022 at 9:23
  • @BillJ the author defines "stand out" as a PHRASAL verb and (admittedly) suggests it could be a verb. However, the phrase does consist of a verb, does it not? I have far larger reservations about the examples provided and their idiomaticity.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 25, 2022 at 8:11

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