Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 22

Appalachian grammar lesson

In Appalachia we get extra duty out of the word make.


  • Make: to become or study to be. “I heard old man Watson’s boy was going to make a lawyer.”
  • Make: to grow. “If you eat your taters and beans you’ll make a big man like your Daddy.”
  • Make: to produce a crop. “With this rain it don’t look like the corn will make at all this year.”
  • Make for: to use as. “They spread out a big tarp on the bank and squirt it with water and soap and make it for a water slide.”
  • Make in you mind: to determine. “After that last mess, I made in my mind that I’d not take part in no such foolishness every again.”
  • Make out: to make do; to plan. “Arnett got laid off for the winter but I reckon we’ll make out by eating the food we’ve got canned from the years before.
  • Make over: to praise. “He made over her like she’s the first woman to ever wear a skirt!”
  • Make up: to collect. “We’re going to try and make up the money to fix the furnace at the church.”

Are you familiar with our many uses of the word make?


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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    July 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Sure am, have heard all the uses many times before, both as a child and as a grown woman.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    July 27, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Sounds natural to me, this is like watching Jeff Foxworthy, he brings out so many words we use,, I can see now why our English teacher always had a look of unbelief.. O well, I’ve made out this long no needn changing now..

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    How about “Make hay while the sun shines”?

  • Reply
    Kim Campbell
    July 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Make up
    Make Out
    Make Over
    Make: to become
    Make: to grow
    The others I have not heard. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Have used make in these ways and also make over, as in changing my hairstyle or makeup.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Oh, I forgot! The photo of the branch in the branch is beautiful, absolutely beautiful

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Not the first’un, and the second is rare, but the third is as common as dirt here in Southwest Georgia. Make out is also used as “I couldn’t make out what he was sayin’; It was too dark to make out who was comin’ down the road; “Arlene, you’d best go and make sure that boy ain’t makin’ out with our daughter on the porch swing….” We’ve made up a pot of money to fix stuff many a time, and made over? Laws, I’ve seen many a moonstruck lad and referred to him that way.

  • Reply
    Susan Cook
    July 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Love the grammar lessons!
    I think you’re my people. Ol

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    July 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I know them all and another one is make out to be. As in, you have to watch out for that feller because he will make out to be something he isn’t.

  • Reply
    Mel H.
    July 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

    How about “Ole Hank made up some mighty fine songs….”?

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Heard all of these! I always enjoy your grammar lessons!!

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I use “make” in the same manner
    you have talked about. With all
    the rain we’ve had, my beans aren’t
    gonna make. I’ll be lucky just to
    get a few messes to eat on. And
    this year, if the corn makes, I
    won’t even have to reach up to get
    it, cause both ears will be near
    my waist…Ken

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    July 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

    use them all — love the picture of the running stream. My favorite relaxation is being beside a stream, lake, sometimes even it is just a trickle running down a rock as I drive by cause that tells me I’m getting near a happy place.

  • Reply
    steve in tn
    July 26, 2013 at 10:17 am

    hear most of these on a regular basis. i dont even notice any of these except “make a lawyer”. that one always sounds out of sorts.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    July 26, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I’ll make peace with myself for not knowing every word of your vocabulary tests for I made good marks on the vocabulary lesson. I’ll make up my bed and my grocery list, then make up my mind to get moving on the rest of today. As always, your blog and music make my mornings brighter. Thanks.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I’m more or less familiar with all of these with a few twists:
    Example 1 would be “he’s makin’ to be a lawyer”.
    Example 4 would be “made it out to be a water slide”.
    Examlple 5 would be “made up my mind to. . . .
    The final example would be said the same but have a meaning of
    catching up or recovering losses although that could be done by collection.
    But – perhaps you left out the most familiar phrase for any pre-adolescent through anyone who is or has been a teen – to “make out” with all the cuddling, snuggling, and kissing that comes with discovering sexuality. It’s all part of the rhythm of life.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    July 26, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I don’t know about now days but Make Out had another meaning years ago in my youth as in asking your date if they wanted to “Make Out”. Most Old Country boys didn’t ask, they just went for a kiss and hoped they didn’t get slapped. Sometimes you did, sometimes you didn’t.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 9:18 am

    We use the word just like you do. My city slicker friends say make in a way I never have. I said I was going home to fix supper and that it wouldn’t take long since I had fixed most of it the night before. One of the girls asked if that meant I was going to make supper.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I hadn’t thought of using the word ‘make’ in so many different instances. The word would have just come out of my mouth when speaking or be produced when writing. I’ll make an effort to try to use it in unusual situations. I’m learnin’.

  • Reply
    Ed Reed
    July 26, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Another “made over.” She’s her momma made over.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I am familiar with all the terms. What about make up? Such as make up or create a story in other words lie about something. Have a fab Friday from middle TN!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 26, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Tipper–Maybe I’m revealing my age, but here are some other uses of make:
    “Make out”–hugging and kissing (such as in the back row of the old Gem Theater in Bryson City).
    “Make up”–Replace, replenish, or fulfill an obligation, such as “I’ll make up for my failure to provide many comments in recent weeks with this one.”
    “Make up”–To tell a fib, such as: I think that Casada fellow could make up a plausible (but untrue)tale for most anything.
    “Make up”–Use all them do-dads and fru-fahs females resort to in order to enhance beauty. Such as, “that woman makes up enough you could plant seeds on her cheeks” or “I wonder what she would look like without make up?”
    My favorite, and you use it above (consciously or otherwise) is “make do” as in one of the finest examples of mountain wisdom and common sense: “We’ll just make do with what we’ve got.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I could see that something was going on up there at the top of the hill but, I couldn’t make out what it was.

  • Reply
    Carol Stuart
    July 26, 2013 at 8:03 am

    They shouldn’t ought to make out like that in public!!!
    I’m makin to get to the store today.
    That batch of dough looks like it is going to make.
    She’s been so sick. I hope she is going to make it.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 26, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Yep, I did do so use the make out word. Why just the tuther night, I went out on the back porch, screamed and I’d make out like I was a ‘panter growlin’ around. Those young’ns come aflyin’ in the front door then like I’d ask them to right atter dark!
    They jest wanna stay out all night atter hit cools down a bit!
    Now then, back in the fifties I heerd that them teenage youngn’s would make out on the porch swing, I would’nt know nothin’ about that myownself!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…I think I heard someone say that they would make like an Egyptian and dance right over to town!?!?

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    July 26, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I use “make” in all of these ways! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 26, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Make out: Pretend. We didn’t have toy guns but we would get horses hames and make out like they were the real thing. They do look a right smart like a carbine rifle.

  • Reply
    Bobby C
    July 26, 2013 at 7:19 am

    A typical example of how we would use it around here would be, “Uncle Joe went coon huntin’ last night. I wonder how he made out. ” Used instead of “I wonder how well he did” or “I wonder if he had any luck”.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 26, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I have used or heard make, make out, make up.
    We also used make out as in let’s make out like we believe what he says.

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