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Watching the TV program made him excited

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
If I remember correctly, native speakers usually don't say "(Something) makes(/made) me/him/her excited". Am I right?

Do you ever say something like "Watching the TV program makes/made him excited"?

This is from an English exercise book probably written by Japanese people.

Thanks in advance.
Hirashin
 
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"Usually" would depend on the person. But that is a structure native speakers would legitimately use. The only thing odd about that sentence to me is "TV program", since I wouldn't expect anyone to say that unless they're really old (but hey, maybe an old person is saying it). Other than that, perfectly normal.
 
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Personally, I find the structure a bit odd, mainly because you would normally use the more direct, and non-causative, "I (am) excited,", in other situations, or "It (is) exciting," in situations such as this. Also, a person being "excited" has certain other connotations, especially in cases like this where I would not expect a TV programme to cause a state of excitement in anyone. Children might be excited when they meet Father Christmas but I would not expect an adult to "get excited" while watching a TV programme, and if they did I would expect them to say the programme was exciting or the match was exciting or something.

Btw, "TV programme" is quite normal in England, "TV show" sounds strange to me.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help, Michael2. It's always interesting to know the difference between British and American English.

Michael2, is it that saying "Doing something makes/made me/him/her excited" sounds odd?

How about these?
(a) Playing soccer always makes me excited.
(b) Watching the player's performance made me excited.
 
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Yes, they all sound odd to me. A simple "I like playing soccer", or "I enjoyed watching him play," would suffice, but even the last one would sound quite strange unless it was said by a sports commentator or ardent fan.
 
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These sentences sound much better to me if I use "to get" instead of "to make."

Watching (TV) Fox News gets him excited.
(a) Playing soccer always gets me excited.
(b) Watching the player's performance got me excited.

This may be because (using get) you can transform them like this:
He gets excited watching Fox News.
I always get excited playing soccer.
I got excited watching the player's performance.

When using "make", you cannot switch things around like that.

There's something else going on there (make vs. get) but I'm not able to put my finger on it...
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the further help, Michael2 and johnnyG.

Michael2, what do you think of johnnyG's views about "get"?
 
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I would agree that "get" is a much more natural way of speaking than "make" in these cases. For one thing, "make" is just unnecessary. I would only use "make" in cases where the focus is on the cause of the feeling or action, like the standard "My mum always made me tidy my room when I was a kid", but in situations where a normal adjective would suffice it would sound ludicrous if you said something like, "The day makes me feel that it is beautiful," instead of "It's a beautiful day".
Secondly, there is a different nuance between get and make, and a simple adjective. Using an adjective is referring to the general properties of the thing, not what heappens to you on each occasion you experience it. What I mean is, you would usually describe Star Wars as an exciting film, but to describe yourself as getting exctied when you watched Star Wars would be a very strange thing for anyone to say in my opinion, apart from for children. To get excited describes quite a childlike reaction, jumping up and down or laughing and screaming while watching the film, which to me would be quite strange behaviour. If you were describing the end of a horse race for example, it would make more sense, where you could genuinely be jumping up and down and getting excited. To describe yourself as getting excited watching the news, playing soccer or watching a player play is just odd in my opinion. I wouldn't even describe those activities as "exciting", it's just not what they are, unless there's a really frantic end to a match.
 
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