I can't make it out

  • JLanguage

    Senior Member
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    Antonio said:
    Hi Group,

    What does the phrase "I can't make it out" mean?
    It means that you can't see or read something because it's too small, or faded, etc.

    For Example:
    I can't make out the handwriting.
    I can't quite make out the date on this old photograph.
    I can't make out who that is standing in the top row of the football stands.
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    Antonio said:
    Hi Group,

    What does the phrase "I can't make it out" mean?
    I guess generally it means, ''I cannot understand it.'', but there are other interpretations. For example:

    If you and a friend are looking at something in the distance, he might ask you what it is you see. You could say, "I can't make it out.'' This means you cannot see well enough to recognize it.

    If you are trying to understand what someone has written but the writing is very difficult to decipher, you might say, ''I can't make it out.'' The means that you are unable to read what the person has written.

    Someone is trying to tell me something in English, but their English is so bad I cannot understand what they are saying (or their English is excellent but I'm not smart enough to understand). That is, ''I cannot make it out''.

    Etc....
     

    mzsweeett

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA, American English
    Antonio said:
    What does "I can't make this out" mean? Is incorrect to say in English "I didn't make it out" or not?
    To say that you can't make it out vs. didn't make it out ...
    can't implies that you are unable to make it out while didn't implies that you did not, regardless of whether you can make it or not. Anyone else???

    Sweet T. :D :D :D
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    Antonio said:
    What does "I can't make this out" mean? Is incorrect to say in English "I didn't make it out" or not?
    What were you trying to do when you said ''I can't make this out''. ''I didn't make it out'' could be said in some situations. Context is always helpful. I found a definition for the phrasal verb ''make out'': Here it is:

    Main Entry: make out
    Function: verb
    transitive senses
    1 : to complete (as a printed form) by supplying required information <make out a check>
    2 : to find or grasp the meaning of <tried to make out what had really happened>
    3 : to form an opinion or idea about : CONCLUDE <how do you make that out>
    4 a : to represent as being <made them out to be losers> b : to pretend to be true <made out that he had never heard of me>
    5 : to represent or delineate in detail
    6 : to see and identify with difficulty or effort : DISCERN <make out a ship through the fog>
    intransitive senses
    1 : GET ALONG, FARE <how are you making out with the new job>
    2 a : to engage in sexual intercourse b : NECK 1
     

    Axl

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Antonio said:
    What does "I can't make this out" mean? Is incorrect to say in English "I didn't make it out" or not?
    I can't make this out, means the same as I can't make it out; this is just a different pronoun.

    I suppose that, in the right context, I didn't make it out would be correct. However, this will most often be used in a different context: i.e. I was late/wasn't in/on time. E.g. Did you get to see that film? No, I didn't make it out [of a place, e.g. of work].
    In most past contexts, couldn't should be used. E.g. Did you catch the number plate? No, I couldn't make it out.

    Be careful to put the pronoun in though, because the verb to make out means something entirely different!:eek: Particularly to Americans!
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    A. Did you make out the check for the water bill?

    B. No I didn't make it out, did you?

    A. No, I forgot.

    B. Geez they may cut off our water.
     

    te gato

    Senior Member
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hey Antonio;

    'I can't make it out today, I have an apointment.' ....action..
    'I can't make it out, I can't see that far.' .....visual...
    'I can't make it out, what did he say?' ...audio...

    'I didn't make it out yesterday, I had things to do.' ...action...
    'I didn't make it out, did you see it?' ...visual..
    'I didn't make it out, did you hear what he said?' ..audio..
    'The poor guy didn't make it out of the burning building.'...sad..action

    te gato;)
     

    Antonio

    Senior Member
    Mexico/Spanish
    te gato said:
    Hey Antonio;

    'I can't make it out today, I have an apointment.' ....action..
    'I can't make it out, I can't see that far.' .....visual...
    'I can't make it out, what did he say?' ...audio...

    'I didn't make it out yesterday, I had things to do.' ...action...
    'I didn't make it out, did you see it?' ...visual..
    'I didn't make it out, did you hear what he said?' ..audio..
    'The poor guy didn't make it out of the burning building.'...sad..action

    te gato;)
    Hi te gato,

    "I can't make it out" in an action sentence means mainly "I can't make it" or not?
     

    te gato

    Senior Member
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Antonio said:
    Hi te gato,

    "I can't make it out" in an action sentence means mainly "I can't make it" or not?
    Hey Antonio;

    In an action sentence...I would say yes...generally you are talking about going somewhere....and you can't...so you are correct..

    te gato;)
     

    amor_secreto17

    New Member
    USA (English,Spanish and French)
    " I can't make it out" usually means
    • " I don't know what your saying"
    • " I can't make out what this says"
    • " I can't read the writing on this"
    That's all I know, I hope it helps!
    :)¡Gracias!:)
     
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