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Made From vs. Made Of vs. Made With vs. Made out of

Made from, made of, made with, and made out of are similar but different phrases. They all use the verb made as their basis, and then, each adds its own preposition.All four of these phrases are used in daily speech, in songs, and in poetry. They can all be found in the dictionary. Unaware and maybe confused, we often use these terms interchangeably. We probably do not even ask ourselves whether we are using the correct term. After all, they all describe the process of being created out of or produced from something else.What are the nuances that help us choose when to use one or another of these terms.

2:33 min read
  Teri Lapping  —  Grammar Tips
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Made from

Made from is often used when describing how something is modified to create something else; it often describes a material that has been changed by the transformation of its ingredients: That is, 

Papier mache is made from combining paper and flour.
Butter is made from churning milk until it becomes cream.
Paper is made from processing trees.

In the song, “Summer Wine”, by Whitehorse:

“Strawberries, cherries, and an angel's kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things.”

Made of

Made of is often used to point to the material or the basic qualities of a thing. There is no transformation that takes place (as in the phrase, made from) and its meaning is synonymous with “composed of”. It often refers to the main component of something, not just one of many ingredients:

She received a lovely bracelet made of  gold.
These eight chairs are made of  oak.
The soft sheets were made of  100% cotton.
The children’s toys were made of  rubber.

This is an example from the song, “Sweet Dreams” by Anne Lennox:

“Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree.”

Made From vs. Made Of vs. Made With vs. Made out of

Made with

When we use the phrase made with, we are usually referring to the components or ingredients used to make drinks or to make food. We can use made with to talk about any of the components, not just the principal players (as opposed to made of):

The quiche was made with  eggs, onions, mushrooms, and cheese.
Is a Margarita always made with  rum and tequila or can it be made without?
A cake is made with  sugar as well as chocolate.

Made out of

When we use the phrase made out of, we are often referring to something that is being used for a different purpose than what we are expecting, in an odd or surprising manner: 

The chairs in my garden are made out of  tree stumps.
The Von Trapp Family children wore clothes that were made out of  old curtains. 
The homeless man’s blanket was made out of  newspapers. 

This is an example from the song “Made Out of  Nothing (All That I Am)” by Coheed and Cambria:

"It eats us like cancer, we're hoping for something
Maybe an answer with all that you've done for me
Made out of  nothing."

In conclusion:

Now that you have read about the differences between these phrases, listen to what is being said all around you. You might find yourself noticing these phrases in common conversation. 

When you hear someone use one of these phrases, it is your opportunity to practice what you have learned today.

Which phrase was used and how was it used? 

Do you think it was used correctly? 

Check yourself- what is the correct use and why?

Use this short article as a handy guide to help you learn when to use these similar but different phrases correctly in the future.

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