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Which one to use: made of, made from, made out of, or made with?

English learners frequently find challenges in translating Indonesian terms or phrases, particularly if it might involve a number of different prepositions entailing different meanings. Now that is troublesome, and a good few English multi-word verbs (these are verbs accompanied by at least one particle or a preposition) join the ‘fun’. Ha!

Let’s see. Have you ever tried to translate the Indonesian phrase ‘terbuat dari’ into English? Well, I assume most of you have, since the phrase is super common in everyday conversation. So, are you thinking about what most of the Indonesian learners are thinking? Hold your horses and let’s break the phrase down to prove that English is not as simple as you predict. Check this out:

TERBUAT – made (I suppose you know that the Indonesian prefix ‘ter-‘ in a verb creates a passive meaning) and DARI – from (obviously; or is it?). That can’t be wrong, can it? Well, yes and no. Let us observe the following examples cited from the website dictionary.cambridge.org:

Made from: to talk about how something is manufactured

  • Plastic is made from oil.
  • A long time ago, umbrellas were made from wood and leather.

Made of: to talk about the basic material or qualities of something (similar to ‘composed of’)

  • She wore a beautiful necklace made of silver.
  • This table is made of high-quality oak

Made out of: to talk about something that has been changed or transformed from one thing into another.

  • Candle-holders made out of wine bottles were once very popular.
  • They were living in tents made out of old plastic sheets.

Made with: to talk about the ingredients of food and drink

  • This dish is made with beef, red peppers and herbs.
  • Is sushi always made with raw fish or do the Japanese use cooked fish too?

It turns out that we have four ways of saying ‘terbuat dari’ in English. The next time you are about to use the phrase, make sure you memorize the correct preposition and keep practicing; as a lot of experts say, it is impossible to speak English well without hours of habitual practice!


Published at :
Written By
Asih Zunaidah
Language Center Officer | BINUS Malang
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