are we making since yet?

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Apr 18 22:58:46 UTC 2005

in homework from one of my Sophomore Seminar students: repeated
occurrences of "make since" 'make sense'.  a new misspelling for me,
but i see that google gets ca. 73.9k raw web hits for it (as opposed to
ca. 13.1m for "make sense"), which is quite a substantial number (and
most of them seem to be relevant).

my first hypothesis was that this was just ear-spelling from someone
with the /E/-/I/ neutralization before nasals.  the student grew up in
california, though.  so i gave her three sentences to read, one with
"pen", one with "cents", and one (on a separate card) with "sense".
[E] as clear as anything.  i then asked her if she found anything odd
about sentence #3, and, with some hesitation, she suggested that it
might be spelled wrong.  which word?  "sense", of course.

she's not an erratic or particularly bad speller (though she thinks she
is), but somewhere she picked up the idea that the idiom is "make
since" (possibly from seeing it in print, from people who *were*, at
least some of them, ear-spelling).

not an eggcorn, so far as i can see.  she had no idea why the idiom
should have "since" in it, and i can't see how "since" is in any way an
improvement on "sense", which, after all, um, makes some sense.

arnold (zwicky at

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