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I'm really confused. "Her new haircut makes her look younger." Is look in this example some kind of a linking verb? If not, what type of word is it? If so, how come it doesn't take "looks" form?

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  • It means that it makes her appear younger. Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 10:47

4 Answers 4

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Her new haircut causes her to look younger.

In the sentence above, the verb "causes" takes a direct object and an object complement. The direct object is "her". The object complement is the infinitive phrase "to look younger".

 

Her new haircut makes her look younger.

The grammar of this sentence is the same, with one small exception. The direct object remains "her". The object complement remains an infinitive phrase. The difference is that the governing verb "makes" accepts bare infinitives for the object complement.

 

She looks younger.

The verb "to look" is used as a linking verb here. There is a subject, a verb, and a complement. It takes the "looks" form to agree with its subject. Although this uses the same sense of the verb "to look" as the original sentence, I wouldn't classify the original use as a linking verb.

The infinitive doesn't take a subject. It acts as a modifier of the direct object. It can't change form to agree with a subject that it doesn't have.

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Yes, it's a linking verb - look, feel etc can all act in this way.
Generally, in present simple 3rd person singular (he/she/it Vs), we get one 's' and no more: She looks younger / She doesn't look younger / Does she look younger? / Her new haircut makes her look younger.

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Her new haircut makes her appear younger.

"Look" in this sentence is a type of linking verb, although it is conditional, because if you say, "the soccer ball looks like a basketball," the soccer ball is not a basketball, but it shares some characteristics of it.

Literally: Because of her new haircut, people think that she is younger.

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After "to make" you can have a direct object and an infinitive. Such verb constructions with a direct object and to-infinitive or bare infinitive are relatively frequent in English. You should study those constructions in a grammar.

Examples

1 You make me laugh

2 to make s (someone) suffer

3 He made her weep

You can say the direct object and the infinitive have the function of one object consisting of two parts, an accusative and an infinitive. The direct object and the infinitive have as basis a sentence: the direct object corresponds to a subject and the infinitive to a finite verb form:

He made her suffer

The effect of his action was that she (subject) suffered (finite verb form). In German grammars of English these constructions are dealt with in the chapter Infinitive, infinitive with "own logical subject".

In English grammars in the chapter Infinitive, verb + object + to-infinitive / bare infinitive.

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