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My Chinese student asked me a question. Why is the first sentence incorrect but the second is fine?

  1. Music can make me REFRESH.

  2. Music can make me relax.

Can you help please?

1 Answer 1

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Refresh is usually a transitive verb, which means that in the indicative or infinitive moods it must take a direct object.

Thus "Music refreshes me" would be perfectly correct.

However relax is usually intransitive - and no object is required. Though it can also, less frequently, be transitive. So you could say "Music relaxes me".

This is why you can say "I relax on Thusdays", but you wouldn't normally say "I refresh on Thursdays" - though in everyday colloquial speech you may hear refresh used intransitively. "I usually refresh before going out in the evenings" - though it is not very common.

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  • OK. I understand. But why can we then say: "Music makes me feel refreshed" but not "Music makes me refresh \ refreshed"? I appreciate your help. Feb 6, 2017 at 4:53
  • @PeterWilliams Because in that example refreshed is being used as an adverb qualifying the infinitive feel. But refresh is an infinitive, and as a transitive verb it won't work without an object.
    – WS2
    Feb 6, 2017 at 8:06

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