I know that "make" is a causative verb being followed by object and infinitive verb, as in "I made him go." But, I'd like to know if ~ing or ~ed form (participles) can take the place of the infinitive.

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Make, along with have and get, belongs to the category known as "verbs of coercive meaning" (Quirk et al.*, p. 1204). Have allows the -ing participle and the -ed participle after the object:

He had me moving furniture for an hour

I had to have my TV repaired three times in the first year

Get allows both participles as well:

We got her laughing in spite of her stitches

I have to get my roof replaced

Although make is a verb of coercive meaning, it does not allow either the -ing participle or the -ed participle after the object. We can say

She made them cry for no reason BUT NOT

*She made them crying OR

*Be careful! You'll make the steaks burned!

In sentences like

I hope I didn't make my talk too boring

She always makes her dinners vastly entertaining

The -ing forms are adjectives, not participles.

Marilyn Martin

*A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman, 1985)
Last edited by Rachel, Moderator
What about the following sentence?

I couldn't make myself heard because of the noisy people.

Isn't "heard" a past participle?

Oh, yes, Apple is absolutely right. I hadn't thought of that, and the grammar references are silent on that point.

This pattern occurs with reflexive pronouns and the verbs hear, understand, and know. Examples:

Fred, being from Boston, had a hard time making himself understood when he moved to Alabama

Any candidate for public office must make him/herself known to a wide spectrum of voters

It means "cause (oneself) to be -ed."

Many thanks to Apple for this very astute observation.

Marilyn Martin

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