6
  1. Wine is made from grapes.
  2. That bridge is made of steel.

A Korean dictionary says that 1’s ‘from’ is used because of the change of the property from grapes to wine, and there is not the change in 2 they use ‘of.' But is it really right? I have these cases below from Webster’s Learner’s and COCA.

a doll made from cloth (Webster)
The outsole is made from rubber originally designed to prevent chefs from falling on greasy kitchen floors. (COCA)

I think from the cases that ‘from’ are used for both cases in property change and not. This is my question: In the following sentence, “I made this bag from my old jeans”, can you use ‘from’ or 'of'? Or do you use only ‘of’?

3

In:

I made this bag from my old jeans

can you use ‘from’ or 'of'? Or do you use only ‘of’?

Tricky question! (Anyone who thinks ELL questions are "easy" should try to explain this!)

I think it's okay to say:

This bag is made of old jeans

and it's okay to say:

I made this bag from my old jeans

but not:

*I made this bag of my old jeans


A Korean dictionary says that ‘from’ is used because of the change of the property from grapes to wine, and there is not the change in 2, so they use ‘of.' But is it really right?

Prepositions are too versitile to apply a simply "rule" like that in all cases. There are too many factors at play.

Here's an example where both prepositions work fine:

Hash is made from beef and potatoes

Hash is made of beef and potatoes

When using from, there seems to be a slight emphasis on transformation: the beef and potatoes are turned into hash. However, when using of, the sentence seems to emphasize hash's basic ingredients.

Either of those sentences is fine. However, if we change how we use made in this sentence, only one of them seems correct:

I made some hash from beef and potatoes    (sounds fine)

I made some hash of beef and potatoes    (sounds awkward)

Why does from work in this sentence, but of doesn't? Because the sentence doesn't merely talk about the transformation of the meat and potatoes – it also emphasizes the cook's role in that transformation. So I won't deny there is a link between from and the concept of "transformation."

However, there's at least one other prepostion that could be used:

I made some hash with beef and potatoes    (sounds fine)

and you can say this without a prepostion, too:

I made some hash using beef and potatoes    (sounds okay)

| improve this answer | |
  • I find I made this bag of my old jeans fine, if not the most common way to say it. To me of can carry the same genitival meaning as from. – user6951 Dec 10 '14 at 17:35
4

No, "of" would not work with "I made this bag *of my old jeans." It would be "from my old jeans" or "out of my old jeans".

I made this hat out of an old bucket. Très chic, no?

I made this vest out of a shirt I had. One of the sleeves was stained, so I took the sleeves off, and hemmed it.

I made this bag from some fabric I had left over.

I made this bag from some left-over fabric.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    You made a believer out of me :) @TRo – Kinzle B Dec 6 '14 at 14:07
  • 1
    Project Runway, watch out. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 6 '14 at 14:07
  • I find I made this bag of my old jeans fine. It can carry the same genitival meaning as from. – user6951 Dec 10 '14 at 17:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.