ALL, I had met the phrase “make sense” many times, But I still can't understand its meaning and usage even if I had review it in some online dictionary many times, And I still be confused about it every time when I came across it in some read. Here is a example, Please review it .

In fact, the order of selectors in your CSS does play a role and the "further down" one does in fact win when the specificity values are exactly the same. For example:

.favorite {
   color: red;
.favorite {
   color: black;

The color will be black... but I digress.

The point here is you want to be as specific as it makes sense to be every chance you get. Even with the simple example presented above, it will become obvious to you eventually that simply using a class name to target that "favorite drink" isn't going to cut it, or won't be very safe even if it did work. It would have been smart to use this:

Could you help me? Anyway, I don't know if the title is right way to use it , please correct me if it is wrong.thanks.

  • Where did you get this sentence? Some context would be helpful. Otherwise, you may get answers that only make sense in the wrong context. Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 3:24
  • @Jim Thanks your reply, Could you please review it again ? I had updated it . thanks
    – Joe.wang
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 3:31
  • You might benefit from the site ell.stackexchange.com
    – Kaz
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 8:04

4 Answers 4


This is an interesting question, because the first thought is to explain it to you a terms of programming methodology. But your question is about the language used in the statement:

The point here is you want to be as specific as it makes sense to be every chance you get.

Let me give some context of my own, first:

Cascading Style Sheets allow you to define styles in a hierarchical manner, relying on the higher levels to define a set of styles that apply to a broad range of rendered elements. For instance, you may specify overall font styles, including font type, font color, and font height, as examples.

At the lower levels in the style sheet definitions, you may modify the styles for more specific elements. So you may want to change the font weight for an element, to emphasize a word, for example.

What your sentence is telling you is that you do not need to respecify all of the other details. Only specify the style element that is needed. This is what would make sense. This is all that is necessary. To do otherwise would (or may) create additional work, it would be unnecessary (obviously), and may even lead to other unexpected problems. To specify elements that have been adequately defined at the higher level would not make sense. There is no reason to specify style elements that are already specified the way you want them to be. (But you should respecify those that need to be changed.)

So to make sense in this case means to be reasonable or logical.

The point being made is that you should only be as specific as it reasonable (or logical) to be. Do this every chance you get.

  • We need kind and technical helper like you in this community. Thanks!
    – Joe.wang
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 5:28

In that sentence it means simply "... be as specific as is practical for you to be ..."


To make sense of "make sense," understand that it uses the "qualify as" or "qualify to be" definition of "make," and the "reasonableness or comprehensibility" definition of "sense."

  • Clear and reasonable answer you got .
    – Joe.wang
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 5:39
  • +1, but an example would add a lot to this answer
    – Shawn
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 23:24

To make sense has several meanings.

A person, or any agent which is capable of some sort of reasoning, can make sense of some information, situation, or observation of the world. Secondly, some information, a decision, an action or a situation or arrangement can make sense, and this has a few meanings.

To make sense of something is to understand or accept it in some way, which can be intellectual or emotional. I'm finally making sense of chapter 3 in this Linear Algebra textbook. I still cannot make sense out of the past year's traumatic events in my personal life. Spirituality of some form helps many people make sense of their lives.

When a speaker says that some situation, information, and such makes sense, it can be a pronunciation of judgment that the situation or information is acceptable, agreeable or essentially good in some way. It might mean that it holds together logically, or that the speaker agrees with it based on his or her personal values, or on some emotional level. If a decision makes sense, it is considered well made, and if an action makes sense, the speaker approves of that action. Gun control makes sense to many people. Saving money for retirement makes sense. Programs to develop nuclear weapons do not make any sense.

When a speaker says that some information makes sense, it can simply mean that the speaker understands it: Chapter 3 of this Linear Algebra textbook is finally starting to make sense! (I am starting to understand chapter 3.) The text message you sent late Friday night doesn't make any sense. Were you drunk? (I cannot understand your text message.)

Make sense is also used to remark upon the connection between facts or observation, often when such a connection is newly discovered, but not necessarily so. Ah, it makes sense that he walks with a limp; I just remembered that someone told me he was wounded in the war. The opposite of this expresses the idea that two or more facts or observations appear inconsistent. It makes no sense that he lives in such a house and drives such a car on such a puny salary. He must have some hidden source of income.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.