Made of or Made from

Vocabulary | Confusables


Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.


Certain words in English are so alike that they confuse even native English speakers. Words like their and there for instance are often confused. The Activities here look in detail at some of the most common confusable words and give you plenty of explanation into how to use them correctly as well as plenty of exercises to help you avoid making mistakes in the future. 

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In this lesson I use a video English lesson that I made in 2010 to teach the difference between made from and made of. It was a valuable lesson back then, and it’s a valuable lesson today, too.

What are you made of? What am I made of? I’m made of flesh and blood. Cut me and I bleed. I am flesh and blood. My t-shirt’s made of cotton. It’s cotton, just like it was on the plant. A pen, a mouse, a keyboard - they’re all made of plastic. Many things are made of plastic. They are still plastic. They’re recognisable plastic. The shelf behind me… It’s made of wood. It’s still wood. It’s recognisable as wood. If the material keeps its form, it is made of. My t-shirt’s green. My t-shirt’s green because it’s been dyed. A dye is made from oil. Other things we make from oil are plastics. So, the plastic in a mouse or a keyboard is made from oil. The shelf behind me… It’s made of wood, but it’s made from trees. But it’s not a tree anymore. Any more than the plastic things are still oil. They’ve changed their form. And when things change form, we say they’re made from. The shelf is made from a tree, but it’s not a tree anymore. The mouse and the keyboard are made from oil, but they’re not oil anymore. If the material changes form, it is made from.

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