What is the difference between "make a case for" and "present the case for"? In Chapter 33 English Collocations in Use Intermediate, the author give each collocation an example(but doesn't explain its meaning) as follow:

This makes a case for re-examining the assassination of President Kennedy in the light of evidence which has emerged since 1963.


The book The Eye of the Universe draws an analogy between the birth of the universe and a lottery. It also draws parallels between the formation of new stars and the birth and death of flowers. It presents the case for a complete rethinking of how we understand space. The author, Patrick Rivaux, puts forward the argument that the universe is as it is because we humans are here looking at it. The author takes up/adopts the position that the universe cannot have any beginning or end, and states his opinion that we can never understand the universe using the human ideas of time and space. He argues convincingly that the universe has a unique nature. He draws attention to new research which suggests that other universes may also exist alongside ours. He briefly summarises the views of leading physicists and mathematicians, disagrees profoundly with some of them and draws the conclusion that science alone cannot solve the mystery of the universe.

In this exercise section the author use make a case over present the case.

Kerr takes up a controversial position in his latest article. He puts forward the argument that differences in behaviour between the sexes can be explained totally by the genes. He attempts to make a case for educating boys and girls separately in their primary school years. He argues, occasionally convincingly, that both sexes would benefit from this. He draws attention to recent research which, he claims, lends support to his argument. However, he fails to take a number of important factors into consideration. He also makes no reference to the important work of Potter and Sinclair in this field. I am sure that I will not be alone in disagreeing profoundly with many of his conclusions.

I searched the meaning of "make a case" and found several meaning such as to explain why something should be done or is the best thing to do. But I can't find any meaning of "present the case for" on the internet.

  • "the case" is synonymous to "the situation, the ...". Check more here. oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english-thesaurus/case
    – user33000
    May 27, 2016 at 19:12
  • I think "making a case" means "providing a situation"
    – user33000
    May 27, 2016 at 19:13
  • @Sina i still don't quite get it :P btw should i quote a smaller portion of the source text? this question looks so lengthy. May 27, 2016 at 19:28
  • You see, I read those parts just to the end of the sentences "the case, make a case" is used in, and not more. Actually It depends. Sometimes long contexts are necessary for a complete understanding, and sometimes even 1 or 2 sentences are sufficient.
    – user33000
    May 27, 2016 at 20:04
  • "make a case = provide a condition",in this context.
    – user33000
    May 27, 2016 at 20:14

2 Answers 2


To the extent that there is a difference I would say that "make a case" suggests something particularly compelling about your argument, while "present a case" is more of an objective description of what you will do.

In your first example there is an implication that the reader should re-examine the assassination. If "makes" were replaced with "presents" I would not perceive any such implication and would instead interpret the statement as an invitation for me to review the argumentation and come to a conclusion, whatever that conclusion may be.

This is a pretty informal sentiment on my part though. "Present a case" feels more formal to me and is not an expression that I come across very often. "Make a case" is extremely common. However, I may be responding to my sense of their relative usage frequency rather than a real usage difference. Regardless, I don't think that you would cause any confusion at all using either phrase in any situation, or that a listener/reader would draw a substantively different meaning from one or the other.

  • I believe you have it in the first paragraph. Consider the sentence "He failed to make his case." Clearly he has presented his case, but the listeners found it wanting.
    – David42
    Aug 5, 2017 at 17:15

Make a case means you are listing or talking about items that together form a case.

Presenting a case can't be done until you make one.

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