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13 English Phrasal Verbs With ‘Make’

Have you ever made up a story or made up with a friend after an argument? In this study guide, you can read about 13 different phrasal verbs with ‘make’. You will find a definition and a clear example for each one. Pay special attention to phrasal verbs in the list where the verb and particle can be separated, for example make out!

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13 phrasal verbs with ‘make’ (with example sentences)


  1. To run after someone or chase them.
    The shopkeeper made after the thief, but he couldn’t catch him. 


  1. To steal something and run away with it.
    The man made away with a necklace from the jewellery shop.


  1. To deliberately move towards something.
    He made for the big house at the end of the street. 
  2. To help to make something possible.
    A holiday at the beach makes for a relaxing break.


  1. To change one thing into another.
    That old bowl can easily be made into a plant pot.
    I can make this piece of paper into a plane!


  1. To do something good for someone you have done something bad to in the past.
    Oh no! I forgot Jane’s birthday. I’ll make it up to her by buying her some flowers!
English has lots of interesting idioms and collocations with the verb ‘make’. However, these are not technically phrasal verbs so are not included on this list. For example, make it (arrive, become successful) and make do (cope or manage with what you already have). For more on this topic, check out our post on the differences between make and do.


  1. To give an opinion about something or someone.
    What do you make of Sarah’s new boyfriend?
    Yeah, he’s ok. What do you think of him?
  2. To use opportunities to be successful.
    Your new job can be whatever you make of it.


  1. To run away.
    The robbers made off before the police arrived.


  1. To steal something and run away with it.
    The man made off with the money before the security guard could stop him.

Watch this useful video and try to notice a couple of American meanings of make out that we have not included on our list:


  1. To see something clearly (often used when something is difficult to see).
    I can’t make out how many people are standing on that hill.
  2. To find it difficult to read something.
    Can you make out the date on that document?
    No, I can’t make it out.
  3. To write all the necessary information on a document.
    Can you make out the cheque to John Smith please?
    Oh! I made the cheque out to Helen, I hope that’s OK?
  4. To understand what someone is saying.
    I couldn’t make out what he said – it was a bad phone line.
    With all the noise, I couldn’t make him out.
  5. To find it difficult to understand someone’s behaviour.
    Tom has been behaving strangely lately. I just can’t make him out.
  6. To apply for a job.
    He made out the application.
  7. To doubt something which is generally considered true.
    He’s made out to be a really great teacher, but I’m not so sure.
  8. To pretend something is true.
    She made out that she didn’t have any money, but then I heard she had won the lottery!

She made out

  1. To cause people to have a false opinion about another person.
    She made me out to be a liar. Now no one is speaking to me.


  1. To change your appearance in a positive way.
    She was made over by the stylist before her wedding day.
  2. To give something to another person, usually money or property.
    The house was made over to his son. 


  1. To move towards something.
    She made towards the checkout after she had picked up all her shopping.


  1. To invent something or create a story about something.
    The boy made up an amazing story about aliens living in London.
    That’s incredible! You couldn’t make it up!
  2. To put on lipstick, eye shadow etc.
    The actress was made up before the performance.
‘Make-up’ and ‘makeover’ are also used as nouns in English. If you are going to a party, you might put on your make-up or even have a full makeover for a special occasion! For example, She had a beautiful makeover before her wedding.
  1. To become friends again after an argument
    I’m really glad I finally made up with Sue. She is one of my best friends.
  2. To constitute or form a part of something.
    The exam is made up of four different papers.
    Men make up 48% of the population. 
  3. To be extremely happy.
    I got the job! I’m made up! 
  4. To prepare something.
    If you’d like to stay at my place, I’ll make up a bed for you.
    I can make the bed up myself, if you like?
  5. To invent an excuse.
    He made up some excuse about losing his wallet.
  6. To put in an additional amount of money.
    If you give David £100, I’ll make up the difference.
    I was going to give her £95, but I made it up to £100.



To compensate for something.
The beautiful weather made up for the terrible bus ride to the beach.

Exercises: phrasal verbs with ‘make’

  1. I saw the thief ______________ the jewellery.
    a. making away with  b. making on  c. making up
  2. Can you see the number on that bus? No, I can’t _________________________.
    a. make it off  b. make it out  c. make it into
  3. What do you _________________ our new boss. I’m not sure about her yet.
    a. make up  b. make in  c. make of
  4. I don’t believe Fiona’s story. I think she ____________________.
    a. made it up  b. made up it  c. made up
  5. Have you seen the old pub on the corner? It’s been _______________ a café.
    a. made to  b. made in  c. made into
  6. I told my mum that Lisa is going to stay tonight. She said she would __________________ a bed for her.
    a. make on  b. make up  c. make in
  7. ‘You forgot my birthday!’
    ‘Oh no! How can I ________________ to you?’
    a. make it up  b. make up it  c. make over it
  8. Boys _______________ 48% of the total number of pupils at this school.
    a. make out  b. make off  c. make up
  9. Paul and Sarah have _________________ again after yet another argument!
    a. made up  b. made over  c. made off
  10. Look, we’ve raised £385 for the school charity. I think we should ________________ to £400.
    a. make up  b. make it up  c. make it over
  11. Children are really good at _________________________ stories.
    a. making in  b. making out  c. making up
  12. I saw the man running away and ___________________ the park.
    a. making for  b. making to  c. making in
  13. That tiny bedroom could be __________________ an office.
    a. made into  b. made to  c. made up
  14. Maybe this present will ______________________ the fact that I forgot Sue’s birthday.
    a. make over  b. make up for  c. make in
  15. Our group was ________________ of six people – three men and three women.
    a. made  b. made up  c. made in
  16. A cruise ________________ a convenient way to visit several different countries.
    a. makes up  b. makes in  c. makes for
  17. The dog stole the sausages and _________________ with them.
    a. made off  b. made on  c. made up
  18. Studying abroad can be a positive experience. It depends what you _________________ it.
    a. make in b. make up c. make of
  19. I haven’t got my glasses with me. Can you _________________ if that is Tom waving at us?
    a. make away  b. make out  c. make in
  20. The man picked up the suitcase and ______________________ the exit.
    a. made towards  b. made up  c. made away
  1. a
  2. b
  3. c
  4. a
  5. c
  6. b
  7. a
  1. c
  2. a
  3. b
  4. c
  5. a
  6. a
  7. b
  1. b
  2. c
  3. a
  4. c
  5. b
  6. a
Click here to download this post via our mobile website!
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Written by Judith P.
— ESL Tutor
Written by Judith P.
— ESL Tutor