[Grammar] Is “make” a linking verb in “make sure”?

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dawnngcm

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Is “make” a linking verb in the following sentences?

“He made sure Myrtle had her glasses….”;
“They scored another goal and made sure of victory.”
“Our staff will do their best to make sure you enjoy your visit.”

P.S.
I can just find out “sure” is an adjective. Surprisingly, I can’t find out what part of speech of “make” is, because the words “make sure” are very common. In dictionaries, I just found it is an idiom
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/make+sure
and
intransitive verb
http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/make

But if “make” is an intransitive verb, it can’t be used in the passive voice, right? However, it is very common to use “make” in a passive voice. :roll:
 
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pollys

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Is “make” a linking verb in the following sentences?

“He made sure Myrtle had her glasses….”;
“They scored another goal and made sure of victory.”
“Our staff will do their best to make sure you enjoy your visit.”

No, it is not. This is a causative construction where make and sure form an idiomatic combination, collocation.

Make sure that it happens; that it happens = object; sure = object complement (adj.)

make that it happens sure
make it sure
 

TheParser

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(1) What a wonderful question. I had never thought of this before in my whole life until I read your post.

(2) I posted an earlier answer but deleted it after reading Pollys's excellent answer.

(3) I would like to share some ideas with you.

(a) It appears that sometimes "make" is, indeed, a linking verb. One book gives this

example: She will make a good wife. The book agrees with you that "wife" canNOT be

an object because a sentence like that cannot be changed to the passive.

(4) There seem to be two explanations for your sentences:

(a) One has been mentioned by Pollys.

(i) One book gives this sentence: He + is + certain (that he cannot fail).

The book explains that the clause "that he cannot fail" modifies the adjective "certain."

The book says maybe this kind of sentence developed from a longer sentence such

as: He is certain of this fact (that he cannot fail). It says that these clauses follow

adjectives such as certain, afraid, glad, sure, sorry, etc.

(ii) Maybe, then, we can account for your sentences as:

(a) He made sure of this fact (that Myrtle had her glasses).
(b) The team sure of this fact (that they would enjoy the fruits of victory).
(c) Our staff will make sure of this fact (that you enjoy your visit).

(b) Thus, I agree with Pollys that "make" in your sentences is not a linking verb.

*****

(5) There is another theory. You mentioned that the dictionaries call "make sure" an idiom. Well, some grammar books agree. They consider "make sure/certain" a so-called phrasal verb (two-word verb).

*****

(6) Thus, it seems that you have a choice when analyzing your sentences:

(a) "make" is a regular verb followed by an adjective + that clause.

(b) "make sure/certain" is a phrasal verb.

I must give credit to these books:

Descriptive English Grammar by Homer C. House and Susan Harman.

A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik.

A Grammar of the English Language by George O. Curme.
 

dawnngcm

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(5) There is another theory. You mentioned that the dictionaries call "make sure" an idiom. Well, some grammar books agree. They consider "make sure/certain" a so-called phrasal verb (two-word verb).

According to “Swan”, phrasal verb – “verbs can be followed by small adverbs(adverb particles) or preposition. These two-part verbs are often called ‘phrasal verbs’”. But “sure” is an adjective not an adverb.

(a) "make" is a regular verb followed by an adjective + that clause.

I checked “Swan” and in my understanding, is adjective usually after linking verb but not verb? If verb before adjective, it usually is “verb + object + adjective”. Am I right?

Thanks TheParser and pollys for sharing your findings and thoughts with me.

I checked “Swan”, “make” didn’t mentioned in common examples of “link verbs” at section 328.1. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary didn’t show "make sure" in its example in “make” verb section too. I actually checked Google, Yahoo HK and Yahoo UK, OneLook, no definite answer I can found.

The only sure is “sure” is an adjective for I found the example in “Oxford”. (My 2nd and 3rd examples are from “Oxford” in “sure” adjective section.)

I hesitated to ask such question until I checked all above sources. It seems it’s a question that no reason you can’t find out the answer by yourself. :-?
 
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Polys

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Or is it an ellipsis that the objects is dropped? :-?

No.

make that it happens sure
make it sure

This would be the canonical word order if "make sure" were not "peculiar".

The collocations "make sure" and "make certain" are peculiar in that the object
is a that-clause and always follows the adjectival complement
Quirk et al.

make = causative verb
sure = adjectival complement to the following that clause

make sure that... = SCV (and not the canonical SVC)

According to “Swan”, phrasal verb – “verbs can be followed by small adverbs(adverb particles) or preposition. These two-part verbs are often called ‘phrasal verbs’”. But “sure” is an adjective not an adverb.
(Phrasal) idiom. Do not worry much about names. ;-)
 
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Polys

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She will make a good wife.

The book agrees with you that "wife" canNOT be

an object because a sentence like that cannot be changed to the passive.

I have a pen. -- no passive
still
a pen = object :-o

Middle verbs seem to refuse to agree with your critetion. :up:
 

5jj

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Middle verbs seem to refuse to agree with your criterion. :up:
Not really: I broke the porcelain easily. The porcelain was easily broken

There we have an active form, with an object, and a passive form. A third form, the porcelain broke easily, active with a passive sense, is what makes Middle Verbs
 

TheParser

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(1) As Pollys said, do not worry too much about the exact definitions of certain terms.

(2) Remember that Mr. Swan's book is terrific, but he does not wish to confuse learners by going too much into detail.

(3) As you may have heard, Professor Quirk's book is considered by many teachers as their guide. On pages 1167 - 1168 in the 1985 edition, he explains that there are other multi-word constructions, such as VERB-ADJECTIVE (put straight); VERB-VERB (make do); VERBS GOVERNING TWO PREPOSITIONS.

(a) Then the professor and his collegues say this (capital letters are mine for emphasis):

"To end this survey of VERB IDIOMS ... mention may be made of RARE

patterns such as make sure/certain followed by a that-clause."
 

pollis

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Not really: I broke the porcelain easily. The porcelain was easily broken

There we have an active form, with an object, and a passive form. A third form, the porcelain broke easily, active with a passive sense, is what makes a middle verb
Middle voice is a voice that indicates that
- the subject is the actor and acts upon himself or herself reflexively,
- or for his or her own benefit.

Mediopassive voice is a passive voice in which
- the verb has stative meaning,
- and actor is not expressed.

----------------------------------------

I broke the porcelain easily. -- This use of "break" is clearly not a middle verb. :-D
"broke" here is an active verb similar to this one here:

I cut my finger.

----------------------------

This is an example of middle voice:

The vase breaks easily.
The vase is breakable. :tick:
The vase breaks itself easily. :tick:
Break happens to the vase. :tick:
----------------
This is mediopassive:

The book reads well.
The book is readable. :tick:
It reads itself. :cross:
The book bears reading. :tick:
-------------

Terminology is a bit here and there; however, one thing is certain: in this sentence, the VP is not in middle voice:

I broke the porcelain easily.

Given the fact you are a teacher, fivejed, I am sure your stating otherwise was only a minor slip.

If I take a look at your link, fivejedjohn, it says, the meaning is closer to passive. Is

I broke the porcelain easily.

passive-like? That is absurd, do you not think?



 
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emka

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Ah, I’m delighted because this is a question I have had for a long time and haven’t found a satisfying answer to yet. Now I learn that there are even two different terms for it – or maybe not? Maybe it’s different things?

Are these sentences middle voice or mediopassive?

This fabric washes well.
Synthetic shirts iron easily.
Polished surfaces clean easily.
Thrillers and detective stories sell well.
My bike brakes poorly.
 

pollis

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Ah, I’m delighted because this is a question I have had for a long time and haven’t found a satisfying answer to yet.

Same here. :up:

Let us see the first one:

The fabric washes itself well.
The fabric is washable.

Are both sentences okay to you?


 

emka

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The fabric washes itself well. No.
The fabric is washable. Yes.

I don't have a problem with usage, and if in doubt I usually find a smart way around it to avoid a potential gaffe.;-) But I want to understand the principle and the grammatical explanation for both terms. So far the lightbulb effect hasn't occurred:-(
 

5jj

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If I take a look at your link, fivejedjohn, it says, the meaning is closer to passive. Is I broke the porcelain easily. passive-like? That is absurd, do you not think?
It is farcically absurd. That's probably why that's not what it says in the link.:)

Given the fact you are a teacher, fivejed, I am sure your stating otherwise was only a minor slip.
It would have been a slip, had I said it. :)
 
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5jj

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Polys and Pollis.

Dupond et Dupond?
Thompson and Thomson?
 

emka

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:shock::shock::shock:

Polys, Pollis - whatever. Maybe Trollis.

But is there - possibly, perhaps, please - a way for me to learn what the difference between middle voice and mediopassive is? Or am I just too thick to get this?

SCV/SVC: subject-complement-verb / subject-verb-complement.
 

5jj

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Type 'mediopassive' in the search box at the top and you'll be taken to a couple of threads, though you won't learn a great deal there.

Basically, we are taalking about verbs such like 'break' mentioned above, though few British grammarians consider that there is a 'middle' voice or 'mediopassive' as such in English. It's one of those red herrings that crop up when people like trollis appear on the scene. I doubt if one percent of teachers of English have heard of the terms.

 
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