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I came across a sentence in a blog post that says

...to make her acknowledge the fact that I loved her.

Is it correct to write make a person acknowledge a fact or is there a better way this could be put up?

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it's correct, but not very romantic at least :D it sounds like from a British porn, haha. "We could have sex, Mary." - "We very well could, but let's not. Let's acknowledge the fact that we love each other." - "Very well indeed." –  RiMMER Aug 1 '11 at 11:42
    
Is this about English usage? Seems more appropriate for writers.SE, Philosophy.SE, or self-actualization.SE. –  Mitch Aug 1 '11 at 12:54
    
@Jasper: OK. But then VeeKay should clarify in the question: is it about the grammaticality? is it about 'to make her', is it appropriate to apply it to something so tame as acknowledgement? If the former, that's very ELU; if the latter, not at all. –  Mitch Aug 1 '11 at 15:31
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2 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

I don't see anything particularly "impolite" in the phrasing. Here's an NGram showing hundreds of written instances of acknowledge his/her love, which suggests such usage may have been more common in the past (i.e. - in an age when impolite phrasing would have been less likely to make it into print).

As implied by my search terms above, the only thing I might suggest by way of an improvement is replacing the fact that I loved her with my love. Besides being shorter (often a good thing in itself), I feel it has more a sense of romantic chivalry.

Grammatically it's impossible to criticise use of the past tense loved without knowing the preceding context. If preceded by I'm trying, for example, the writer would use love or loved depending purely on whether he still does love her at time of writing.

If preceded by I was trying, we enter the murky world of common usage, precise grammar, and semantics. Some people might say that using loved still implies, as above, that the speaker no longer loves her. I personally think there is no such implication, no do I see it as ungrammatical. Take, for example...

I said that I was a native English speaker.

...which seems perfectly valid to me, even though obviously I must still be a native speaker. Choice of I was or I am is just a matter of style and emphasis.

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Thanks! This was elaborate and very clear. :) –  Vamsi Emani Aug 2 '11 at 6:58
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It's not a very polite way of putting it. "Make" can have forceful, negative connotations.

Consider:

"...to help her understand that I loved her..."

or

"...to show that I loved her..."
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