Structures with make, mean and miss

Make a good

This structure is often used to talk about what somebody or something becomes or does.

  • She will make a good daughter-in-law. (= She will be a good daughter-in-law.)
  • I don’t think that he will make a good husband. (= I don’t think that he will be a good husband.)
  • She will make a good writer.
  • Alsatians make good pet dogs.

We can put an indirect object into this structure.

  • She made him a good wife. (= She was a good wife to him.)
  • He made us a good boss. (= He was a good boss to us.)

I mean

I mean can be used as a discourse marker.

  • It was a good job – I mean, the money was okay.
  • She is funny – I mean she is really weird.

I mean can also be used to introduce corrections.

  • She lives in Bombay – I mean New Bombay.

What do you mean…?

This structure can be used to express anger or protest.

  • What do you mean by using my computer without my permission?
  • What do you mean, I can’t dance?
  • What do you mean by this stupid laugh?


Miss is used to express the idea of failing to contact somebody/something or being late for somebody/something

  • He shot at the tiger but missed.
  • We were late because we missed the train.
  • She threw a vase at me but missed. (= The vase didn’t hit me.)

Miss can also mean ‘be sorry to be without’. In this case, miss is followed by a noun or an –ing form.

  • I will always miss you.
  • I miss living in the city.