"This book got me interested in Buddhism." Can I change this sentence to "This book made me interested in Buddhism." "This book got me thinking about my future." Can I change this sentence to "This book made me think about my future." If there are any differences in the nuance, could you explain it? "Get" is a very common word, but it's very difficult to use it properly. If I say "I got my car repaired.",I can also say "I had my car repaired." To me it seems to be much easier to use words other than "get". That's why I wondered if I use "make" instead of "get" in these sentences.


It's probably worth noting straight away that "to get" is increasingly common in OP's context. As this link shows, X got me interested in Y was virtually unknown a century ago, but it's now far more common than made me interested in.

But there are subtle syntactic and semantic differences. As noted above, of OP's first pair...

1: This book got me interested in Buddhism.
2: This book made me interested in Buddhism.

...#1 is more common, but both are acceptable. And so far as I'm concerned, they mean the same. But...

3: This book got me thinking about my future
4: This book made me think about my future
5: ✲This book made me thinking about my future (where ✲ marks a usage as unacceptable)

...with OP's second pair we can't just replace got with made. Notice also that we can explicitly use the "marked infinitive" (to think) with got (also to [present participle], but I don't know what to call that)...

6: This book got me to think about my future
7: ✲This book made me to think about my future
8: ?This book got me to thinking about my future (perhaps not everyone would accept this form)
9: ✲This book made me to thinking about my future

On the basic of the above, I suggest it's well worth learners spending some time becoming familiar with the syntactic possibilities of to get. Because it's increasingly common in modern speech, and can probably be used in more contexts than to make, it's likely to be more useful over the long term.

On the semantic front, note that to make often carries implications of deliberate and/or forceful actions. Thus with this pair...

10: He got me to eat snails in garlic butter
11: He made me eat snails in garlic butter

...there's a much stronger implication that in #10 he persuaded me (possibly quite easily). It would be quite reasonable for the utterance to continue with "...which I really enjoyed". But #11 implies he forced me (much against my will). That one might continue with "...which made me feel really queasy".

  • This is a great help. The last two sentences explained the difference of the nuance and from other example sentences I got the idea of how to use "get". As you said, I think it's important to become familiar with this usage. I'll do research myself. Thank you for all the detailed and great explanation. I appreciate it. – tennis girl Jul 23 '13 at 2:19
  • @tennis girl: Of course, there are lots of idiomatic usages for both verbs, and they can overlap in totally different contexts. For example, "I don't get what you mean", and "I can't make out what you mean". Or "Add 2 and 3 to get 5" and "Add 2 and 3 to make 5". Etc., etc. – FumbleFingers Jul 23 '13 at 2:56
  • Maybe that's why it's so difficult to be ablt to use these words properly. But I'll work on that. Thank you very much. – tennis girl Jul 23 '13 at 3:06
  • Note that while "got" and "made" are pretty much interchangeable when used with "interested" as in your first example, they are NOT interchangeable when used with "repaired" as in your second example. You CAN'T say, "I made my car repaired". I doubt there's any general rule. I think you have to learn these case by case. – Jay Jul 23 '13 at 14:28
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    FumbleFingers is absolutely correct on his final paragraph about persuasion versus force, but let me add that the exact meaning of that depends on context. "He got me to give him $10" implies he talked you into it. "He made me give him $10" is more like a robbery. But "My teacher made me think about joining the army" probably doesn't mean he held a gun to your head, but rather that he was forceful in his persuasion. "My parents made me join the army" implies a higher level of coercion, like they said they'd kick you out of the house if you didn't go. "The judge made me join the army" ... – Jay Jul 23 '13 at 14:33

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