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eg. I would've made for a bad lawyer. conveying the meaning that if I had been a lawyed, I would have been a bad one. is it correct usage?

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2 Answers

One of the uses of make when used in this construction is be suitable for. Check it out in OALD.

I've never heard this expression used with the preposition for. The expression should be "I would have made a bad lawyer".

EDIT: Following Fumblefingers' and Lynn's comments, I found the phrasal verb make for something, which means help to make something possible (from the OALD entry for make. The example cited is "Constant arguing doesn't make for a happy marriage."). I cannot find evidence that this usage can apply to human potential. I insist that "I would have made for a bad lawyer" isn't accepted usage.

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There is 'I was never made for a lawyer', similar to the commoner meant for. But +1 for a helpful answer. –  TimLymington May 21 '13 at 16:08
    
But OP is asking about made for, not made. I'm quite familiar with the usage - maybe it's a BrE thing. –  FumbleFingers May 21 '13 at 16:25
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@FumbleFingers: I'm not clear about what you're saying. Are you saying that you find the OP's example familiar? I agree with Irene in finding it deviant. –  Colin Fine May 21 '13 at 16:29
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I don't recognise 'made for' at all, and I'm English. –  Colin Fine May 21 '13 at 23:15
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@TimLymington - I've heard 'made for' in regards to things but not people. "It wasn't made for hammering." sounds just fine. "He wasn't made for being a lawyer." sounds weird to my ears. –  Lynn May 22 '13 at 1:06
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In a nutshell, yes, "I would have made for a bad lawyer" means that you would have been a bad lawyer if you had become one.

However, as the extended comment trail on the other answer attests, there are some regional (and perhaps personal) preferences on whether to use the word 'for' in that sense. I see these two statements as equivalent:

I would have made a bad lawyer.

I would have made for a bad lawyer.

The first is more idiomatic to my AmE ears. I have seen the second more commonly in BrE uses (books, TV). But even in AmE, one commonly uses made for to speak of inanimate objects/concepts:

Constant arguing doesn't make for a happy marriage.

This screwdriver wasn't made for hammering.

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