Prepositions with make: “made of”, “made from”

Is made

To talk about types of material or to say what something consists of, we often use is made, which is the passive form of make.

There are a few different prepositions commonly used after is made, each expressing something slightly different.

First, let’s look at the difference between of and from, i.e. is made of versus is made from.

Made of

We use made of to speak about material:

  • Lego is made of plastic.
  • All of their furniture is made of oak.

Made from

We usually use made from to explain that a material is created by modifying another material:

    • Glass is made from sand. Glass is made of sand.
    • Paper is made from wood. Paper is made of wood.

    Other prepositions after is made

    You may have heard someone say that something is made out of something. We say this when we want to draw attention to the manufacturing process of something. It’s common when speaking about art exhibitions, for instance:

    • The exhibition had miniature cars and buses made entirely out of chocolate.
    • All the exhibits were made out of ice.

    Made of is also possible in the two examples above.

    Here are some hands made out of paper – making planes out of paper.

    hands made of paper

    When speaking about cooking ingredients and our favourite recipes, we usually say that something is made with that ingredient:

    • She always makes her soups with lots of pepper and spices.
    • It’s best to make drinking chocolate with full-fat milk.

    Finally, there is made up of, which means consist of:

    • Phrasal verbs are made up of verbs and adverbs.
    • Our presentation today is made up of three sections: ‘Company History’, ‘Today’, and ‘Our Future’.

    What if I use the wrong preposition?

    As you can see, the differences are sometimes very subtle. The good news is that if you use the wrong preposition after is made, people will still usually understand you. And as I mentioned above, in some cases the prepositions are interchangeable.

    Feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks!

Stuart is an English teacher and runs the Speakspeak website. He currently lives in Prague and has been teaching for over 20 years. See all posts by Stuart

30 Comments

  1. Tiffy - January 23, 2014, 9:21 am Reply

    Hello Stuart! Thank you so much for your discussion about “made of” and “made from”. How about made by and made for?

    made by – The jacket was made by a Canada-based clothing company.
    made for – The jacket was made for the typhoon victims.

    Are these sentences okay?

    • Stuart Cook - January 24, 2014, 1:35 pm Reply

      Hi, Tiffy

      Yes, your sentences are correct.
      Made for and made by both draw attention to the person, whereas in my article I chose examples which focus on the material used.

  2. Nahum - January 23, 2014, 12:19 pm Reply

    Thanks for the info! It’s very interesting.

    A noob question about other matter: You wrote “It’s best to makes drinking chocolate with full-fat milk”.
    But I think it should be “It’s best to MAKE drinking chocolate with full-fat milk”. Am I right? Thank you!

    • Stuart Cook - January 24, 2014, 1:05 pm Reply

      Hi, Nahum

      Yes, you’re right: it should be make, not makes. It was a typo and I’ve now corrected it. Thanks for spotting it!

      • Nahum - January 24, 2014, 1:23 pm Reply

        Thank you for your answer. It wasn’t to point out your mistake, but to keep on learning.

        Btw, I should have written another instead of other.

  3. ahoura - February 11, 2014, 4:08 pm Reply

    Thank you very much.

  4. Meena - February 16, 2014, 12:42 pm Reply

    Hello ,Stuart I would like to thank you for the wonderful resources provided by you, I highly appreciate your effort for putting in such detailed and clear information about English. its great to learn from you.
    Thanks.

    • Stuart Cook - February 16, 2014, 3:39 pm Reply

      My pleasure, Meena. Thanks for visiting the site!

  5. Quazi Banna - April 21, 2014, 7:54 am Reply

    Hello Stuart !
    Thanks for your discussion. I am really glad to learn from your discussion

    How about ‘to’ after make/made? Is it OK?

    e.g.
    1. This is made to protect the room.
    2. I was made to party! (–a T-shirt read this).

    Are these two sentence correct? Is there any other way to say these dialogs, changing the formation/word order BUT keeping the meaning same?

    Thanking you in anticipation.

    Banna

    • Stuart Cook - April 25, 2014, 8:57 am Reply

      Hi, Banna

      Both of your examples are fine.
      This is made to protect the room. The to + infinitive here is called the infinitive of purpose: it tells us why we did something. In this example it says why the thing was made. Alternatively, you could say Its purpose is to protect the room.

      I was made to party is another way of saying I was born to party, i.e. partying is something I do a lot of and it’s something I really like.

  6. ALI - April 30, 2014, 2:14 pm Reply

    hello Stuart,
    I’ve just started teaching and your website comes to help in a lot of places.
    appreciate it.

    • Stuart Cook - April 30, 2014, 11:55 pm Reply

      Hello, Ali

      Pleased you like it. Good luck with your teaching!

  7. ahmed - June 13, 2014, 9:17 am Reply

    thanks for giving us lot of knowledge

  8. Sarah O. - September 6, 2014, 10:12 am Reply

    Hi Stuart

    Many thanks for the great explanations!

    I just wanted to write a sentence on a label for my home-made marmelade, but I am not sure what is gramatically correct:
    a. Made from Sarah with love
    b. Made by Sarah with love
    I suppose b. but could you please confirm?

    Thank you and have a great day,
    Sarah

    • Stuart Cook - September 7, 2014, 9:37 pm Reply

      Hi, Sarah

      Definitely Made by Sarah.

  9. sreehari - October 7, 2015, 5:45 pm Reply

    Plz clarify my doubt.
    Clothes are made by yak wool or of yak wool or with yak wool

  10. Aishwarya - October 12, 2015, 1:12 pm Reply

    Hey, could you tell me if made over his property is right? Is it the correct preposition? And make out what she says-is that right?
    Thanks, this was really helpful!

    • Stuart Cook - October 13, 2015, 11:34 am Reply

      ‘Make out what someone says’ is correct, yes.
      ‘Made over his property’ – I’ve never heard that used.

  11. Safi - November 11, 2015, 10:37 am Reply

    Hello Stuart,

    Need your help to clarify something.
    It is for a brand name issue.
    Can we say Made of ” company name” or Made by ” company name ?
    I would use Made by but I have some colleagues insisting on using Made of.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Stuart Cook - November 11, 2015, 2:19 pm Reply

      Hi, Safi

      Definitely write made by + the brand name.

  12. Anonymous - December 17, 2015, 10:10 am Reply

    What is used in the house is made……… Mud bricks(of,from)

  13. Rahul - January 10, 2016, 5:31 pm Reply

    Hi Mr. Cook,
    greatly appreciate your work!

    Could you kindly state the correct preposition for the following sentences:

    English is made ____ many languages. (of?)
    Tyres are made ____ rubber. (from?)
    Stogies are made ____ leaves. (with?)
    Books are made ____ pages. (with?)

  14. Basel - February 23, 2016, 9:03 am Reply

    Hi Mr.cook,
    I appreciate your hard efforts!
    {Our presentation today is made up of three sections: ‘Company History’, ‘Today’, and ‘Our Future’.}
    I want to ask with there is a comma in {…..’Today’ “,”and……}
    and Thank you ,sir

    • Stuart Cook - February 24, 2016, 7:14 pm Reply

      The comma isn’t necessary here. It’s perfectly clear that Today and Our Future are separate items as you used inverted commas around each title.

  15. Olga - March 28, 2016, 12:01 pm Reply

    Hi. Thank you for the explanation. Today my students asked me just the same question about the prepositions after “be made”. I explained them the same rules. But then we opened our coursebook “Lifestyle” from Pearson and found the following sentences in one text:
    ‘The nightlight is made from a new kind of plastic and glass.’ and
    ‘For a fashionable laptop case, try this: it’s made of wood and is rectangular like your laptop.’
    Now my students are all confused with these examples. And so am I. Could you give any solution or explanation to this case, please? Thank you in advance.

    • Stuart Cook - March 30, 2016, 6:31 pm Reply

      Hi, Olga

      The generally accepted rule (the one I’ve used above) is to use made of in both of your examples, as we’re talking about the material used to create something. It’s important to remember though that in English a ‘rule’ very often just serves to tell us what is most commonly used. There may be colloquial differences, regional differences, etc. Made of vs. made from is a good example of this, I think. And don’t forget that a textbook can contain mistakes as well!
      I’d tell your students not to worry about it too much. Communication comes first, and if the wrong preposition is used in such cases it won’t really lead to any misunderstanding. Of course if they’re doing an exam, they should stick to the ‘rule’ just to be on the safe side.

      • Anonymous - April 1, 2016, 8:22 pm Reply

        Thank you. I agree that any language is alive & changing every day. And it’s sometimes difficult to explain the students how they have to behave with such ambiguous questions. But I think I’ll use your explanation to help them. I believe it’s very useful

  16. Anonymous - September 15, 2016, 9:07 am Reply

    Hi I would like to ask which is correct sentence:
    During Oscar Awards guests wear luxurious gowns made from/of expensive cloth.
    I hope you can help me..

  17. Anonymous - October 17, 2016, 10:38 am Reply

    Can you help me with this sentence
    The servant made …………… with our money

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