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Hi,

If I want to ask someone how (s)he is getting along with something (like a project/business), can I use "make out" ?

Do the following sentences sound nice to your native ear ? Emotion: smile

1. He's not making out all too well in his business of selling watermelons

2. For all the hardships that've come my way so far, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that I usually make out well at work.

Thanks !
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I might advise caution, but I would not advise avoiding the use of "make out". I would advise caution only because there are so many different meanings for "make out" -- various meanings that are also in common, standard use.

For example, it would be quite normal and common for someone to ask "How'd you make out?" ("How did you make out?") in order to find out how well or successfully someone has managed to do something.

It is also extremely common to talk about "making out a check" for a certain amount, for example.

If I am having trouble seeing/discerning something, it would not be a bit unusual to say that I am "having trouble making it out."

Here are the various definitions listed at Dictionary.com for "make out":

a.to write out or complete, as a bill or check.
b.to establish; prove.
c.to decipher; discern.
d.to imply, suggest, or impute: He made me out to be a liar.
e.to manage; succeed: How are you making out in your new job?
f.Slang. to engage in kissing and caressing; neck.
g.Slang. to have sexual intercourse.
h.Chiefly Pennsylvania German. to turn off or extinguish (esp. a light or fire): Make the light out.
So, Alex, my recommendation would be to continue familiarizing yourself with all of the various ways that "make out" can be (and is) used. And keep in mind that there are often other ways to say the same thing.

(I suppose it might be advisable to leave the Pennsylvania Dutch usage of "make out" to the Pennsylvania Dutch, though.)
Emotion: big smile
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MrPernickety1. He's not making out all too well in his business of selling watermelons

2. For all the hardships that've come my way so far, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that I usually make out well at work.
For some reason, the progressive tenses don't ring as true to me for "make out" in the meaning you intend here. Only "How did you make out?" seems normal to me (to ask someone whether some project of theirs turned out successfully for them). Paraphrase: To what extent were your efforts successful?

How did you make out on the exam?

How did you make out with the driving test?
I heard you asked the boss for a raise. How did you make out?

How did Larry make out at his dental appointment? Did they find out why that tooth is bothering him so much?

CJ
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Comments  
I would avoid the forms of "make out", since the common idiom means "to kiss".

"Do well" is easily substituted.
I see you point.

Thank you !
 Yankee's reply was promoted to an answer.
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Thanks, Amy

I'll certainly follow your advice !

PS: I'm familiar with all the uses of "make out" you have listed, except for #b and #h Emotion: big smile
 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.