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Could a native speaker please help me with writing the below sentence in a better way?

Please do not feel guilty anymore, this makes me upset and makes me think I've done things wrongly.

The point that I am not sure about is whether I can omit one of the "makes me"s or not. If I do so, I get

Please do not feel guilty anymore, this makes me upset and think I've done things wrongly.

It looks better than the first sentence, but I am not sure f it is clear or not. Also, in the above sentence, I want the word "this" to refer to "you feeling guilty", but I am not sure if it is clear from the sentence or not.

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  • You can accomplish this if you replace think with a different verb, and use the opposite of the final word: Please do not feel guilty anymore, this makes me upset and doubt if I've done things correctly. Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 14:08
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    No; omitting the second 'makes me' leaves an awkward zeugma. Admittedly not as bad as 'John made her a good husband and a cup of tea.' Deletions must be handled with care. 'Please do not feel guilty anymore – this upsets me and makes me think I've handled things badly.' Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 14:22
  • “Done things wrong” is what most native speakers would write. “Wrong” has become an adverb, and “wrongly” sounds awkward to me. But I think that if your question is about basic usage by native speakers you should be asking it on English Language Learners.
    – David
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 18:54

3 Answers 3

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You are quite right to sense that this first sentence is not a good one, even though it is grammatically correct. The problem is one of style rather than of usage. Repetition of a key word, unless you do it for rhetorical purposes, is clumsy. But there is an obvious way round the difficulty.

There is a perfectly good transitive verb, to upset. So use it.

Please do not feel guilty any more. This upsets me and makes me and makes me feel I have done things wrongly.

There is something else that you did not ask about. I suggest you should have put your explanation the other way round:

This makes me feel I have done things wrongly and upsets me.

Being upset is the effect of feeling you have done things wrongly, and is not an independent second reason.

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Coordination can be used in cases where the sense of the head element - the verb make in this case - is the same for both elements in the coordination (CaGEL p1327). In this case however, there are two different senses of make involved:

makes me upset

5.a.To cause to be or become: made her position clear; a decision that made him happy.

makes me think...

6.b.To compel: made him quit.

(American Heritage Dictionary)

These two - upset and think I've... - are not good candidates for a coordination.

As far as this with antecedent feel guilty anymore, there would have to be more context in order to tell whether there would be confusion or not. A simple it in place of this might avoid confusion in some cases.

To avoid repetition, you might choose another word for one of the instances of make.

e.g.

Please do not feel guilty anymore, it only makes me upset and causes me to think I've done things wrongly.

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  • Thank you for your answer. Is the word "it" better than the word "this" in the sentence?
    – sara nj
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 10:56
  • It sounds more natural to my ears, but there's no clear reason for picking one over the other. Another possibility would be that.
    – DW256
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 11:06
  • Or you could use "it only upsets me and..."
    – Peter
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 12:11
  • Happy with the comma splice? Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 14:23
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Breaking down the original sentence, you see a lot of words that are needed in more formal languages, but not commonly used in English:

Please do not feel guilty anymore.

The "anymore" is unnecessary. "Please do not feel guilty" is punchy and direct, and doesn't come off as rude in English. I don't know what your native tongue is, however, a lot of languages see that sort of directness as intrinsically rude, while English does not.

this makes me upset

"This upsets me." Upset can stand on its own, so "makes" is unnecessary here.

and makes me think I've done things wrongly.

You could simplify to "and makes me think I've done wrong" though, "done wrong" is a bit of a regionalism in the States. "and makes me think I've done something wrong" would be a more general case. "Things" should always make you suspicious; "something" is an acceptable indeterminate use, while "things" sounds odd and slapdash. "Wrongly" is very uncommon.

That leaves us with:

"Please do not feel guilty. This upsets me, and makes me think I've done something wrong."

That's pretty solid, and contains the core of your original statements. However, if I was going to say it myself, I think the most effective way to do it is to shorten it further, and just make two simple, direct, sentences.

Please don't feel guilty. It makes me feel like I've done something wrong.

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