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(a) This puppy will make him a good companion.

How often do you native speakers use 'make' in this way? Is it a common usage? What kind of difference do you native speakers detect between (a) and 'This puppy will be his good companion'? No difference whatsoever between the two?
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Taka
(a) This puppy will make him a good companion.
How often do you native speakers use 'make' in this way? Is it a common usage? What kind of difference do you native speakers detect between (a) and 'This puppy will be his good companion'? No difference whatsoever between the two?

"Make" is used very often, as are faire & hacer in French and Spanish. Idioms using it abound. The example you have given is very common.
Hi Taka,

Yes, very natural use. Or, 'The puppy will make a good companion for him.' Or, 'The puppy and he will make good companions.'

If you don't already know, check out this long list of optional uses for 'make': http://www.thefreedictionary.com/make
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OK. I understand now how common it is. Thanks. But what about this point, which is my main interest?

What kind of difference do you native speakers detect between (a) and 'This puppy will be his good companion'? No difference whatsoever between the two?

I'm interested in the native 'feel', or psychology if you will, behind the expression.
TakaOK. I understand now how common it is. Thanks. But what about this point, which is my main interest?

What kind of difference do you native speakers detect between (a) and 'This puppy will be his good companion'? No difference whatsoever between the two?

I'm interested in the native 'feel', or psychology if you will, behind the expression.



The native 'feel' is "This puppy will make him a good companion." BTW, I'm not a native and feels confident about it on this one.
Taka - I think you are still looking for a sense of the subtle difference, if any, between (a)"the puppy will make a good companion" and (b)"The puppy will be a good companion." I think it's an interesting question. I think most people would use them interchangeably, but if there is a subtle difference, I would say that (b) implies that the puppy, as it is now, will automatically be a good companion, while (a) implies that, given the right environment, the puppy will develop into a good companion.

You can also use "make" this way in the present tense -(c) "They make a lovely couple." I would say that the difference between (c) and (d)"They are a lovely couple" is that (c) implies some development or synergy - they complement (not compliment) each other so that the whole is somehow greater (or lovelier) than the sum of its parts.

Is this the kind of thing you were looking for?
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but if there is a subtle difference, I would say that (b) implies that the puppy, as it is now, will automatically be a good companion, while (a) implies that, given the right environment, the puppy will develop into a good companion.

Hi khoff, I think the difference as you put it is not small and very obvious to be subtle. If the dog in the second one will be automatically be a good companion the remark sounds to suggest being a good companion is one of the dog's native traits and you don't expect contrary from it. But in 'a' good companionship is a prospect or expectation. WHAT do you think are they still interchangeable. thanks in advance.
Taka No difference whatsoever between the two?

The 'whatsoever' raises an abstract issue for me. Within any given language, two statements that are not worded exactly alike would not have absolutely the same meaning. Where is the point when the difference is so nuanced that no impact is felt?

For me, despite Khoff doing her usual excellent work in explaining subtle differences, these two statements have essentially, though not absolutely, the same meaning. It would be the most unusual, improbable, circumstance to find one to be more appropriate, or more necessary, than the other.

'Is there any difference whatsoever?' probably always has to be answered, 'Yes'. The next question perhaps should be, 'Does the difference make a difference?'

In any case, the brainteasing aspect is healthy.

K.O. -- Yes, I still think that for most people in most situations they are interchangeable. Let me put it this way - if you asked 100 English speakers if there is a difference in meaning or usage between (a) and (b), almost all of them would say, "no, not really." If you then said, "Well, if you had to identify any possible difference in nuance between them, what would it be?" I think some would come up with the same answer that I suggested. But I don't mean to say that the difference is in everyone's mind whenerver they decide which phrase to use. Most, I think, would say there's no difference. Some might find a different difference - for instance, that "make" is more informal or conversational than "be." So, please read my earlier post not as "here is the clear, unambiguous difference between these two expressions," but rather as "here is one possible difference between these expressions that some people might find in the back of their minds if they look very hard."

Davkett, thanks for the kind words!
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