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DO vs. MAKE | The Difference Between Do and Make in English

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Have you ever found yourself confused about when to use “do” and when to use “make” in English? These two verbs are among the most commonly used in the language, but they can be tricky to use correctly. While they both refer to performing an action, the contexts in which they are used can be quite different. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between “do” and “make” and give you some tips to help you use them correctly in your everyday conversations.

Understanding the Basics of Do and Make

When learning English, it’s important to understand the difference between the verbs do and make. While they may seem interchangeable at times, they actually have distinct meanings and uses.

Do

The verb “do” is often used to express daily activities or jobs. For example, you might say “I need to do the laundry” or “I have to do my homework.” It can also be used to describe actions, obligations, and repetitive tasks. For instance, “I need to do my exercises every day” or “I have to do the dishes after dinner.”

Make

On the other hand, “make” is used to describe creating, constructing, or producing something. For example, you might say “I’m going to make dinner tonight” or “I made a cake for my friend’s birthday.” It can also be used to describe actions that you choose to do, such as “I’m going to make an effort to exercise more” or “I want to make new friends.”

do and make

Common Uses of Do

When it comes to the verb “do,” it is used in various contexts. In this section, we will explore the common uses of “do” in daily conversations and professional contexts.

Do in Daily Conversations

In daily conversations, “do” is often used to describe activities or tasks that we perform. It is also used to express obligations or duties that we have to complete. Here are some examples:

  • “I need to do laundry today.”
  • “Did you do your homework last night?”
  • “What do you usually do in your free time?”

As you can see, “do” is used to describe actions that are not specific or defined.

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Do in Professional Context

In professional contexts, “do” is used to describe tasks or activities that are part of our job responsibilities. It is also used to express actions that need to be completed to achieve a specific outcome. Here are some examples:

  • “I need to do some research before I can write this report.”
  • “Can you do me a favor and send me the file?”
  • “What do you suggest we do to improve our sales?”

In professional contexts, “do” is used to describe specific tasks or actions that are necessary to achieve a goal.

Common Uses of Make

When it comes to the verb “make,” it is usually used when referring to creating or producing something. Here are some common uses of “make” in daily conversations and professional contexts.

Make in Daily Conversations

In daily conversations, “make” is often used to describe activities related to cooking, crafting, or building. For example:

  • Make breakfast, lunch, or dinner
  • Make a cake, pie, or cookies
  • Make a card, drawing, or painting
  • Make a table, chair, or shelf

“Make” can also be used to express emotions or reactions, such as:

  • Make a joke, pun, or witty remark
  • Make a face, expression, or gesture
  • Make a decision, choice, or plan

Make in Professional Context

In professional contexts, “make” is often used to describe activities related to manufacturing, construction, or production. For example:

  • Make a product, prototype, or model
  • Make a building, bridge, or road
  • Make a movie, video, or commercial

“Make” can also be used to express achievement or success, such as:

  • Make a sale, deal, or profit
  • Make progress, improvement, or change
  • Make a name, reputation, or brand

Key Differences Between Do and Make

When learning English, one of the most common challenges is understanding the difference between “do” and “make.” Both verbs are used to describe actions, but they have distinct meanings and uses. Here are some key differences to keep in mind:

General Differences

  • “Do” is often used to describe activities that are vague or indefinite, such as daily routines or tasks that don’t have a specific outcome. For example, you might say “I need to do some exercise” or “I have to do the dishes.”
  • “Make,” on the other hand, is usually used to describe actions that create a specific outcome or result. For example, you might say “I’m going to make dinner” or “I made a cake for the party.”

Collocations

  • “Do” is often used with certain collocations, such as “do homework,” “do the laundry,” and “do a favor.” These phrases are fixed and cannot be changed.
  • “Make” is also used with certain collocations, such as “make a decision,” “make a plan,” and “make a mistake.” These phrases are also fixed and cannot be changed.
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Learn more: Collocations with Make

Idiomatic Expressions

  • Both “do” and “make” are used in a variety of idiomatic expressions that have specific meanings. For example, you might “make a fuss” or “do someone a favor.” These expressions can be difficult to learn, but they are an important part of English language usage.

Other Differences

  • “Do” can be used as an auxiliary verb to form questions and negatives, as in “Do you like pizza?” or “I don’t do drugs.”
  • “Make” can be used to describe the process of creating or constructing something, as in “I made a painting” or “She made a dress.”

Example of Do and Make

Example of Do

Collocations Example Sentences
Do the dishes Can you do the dishes tonight?
Do an exercise I need to do some exercise to stay healthy.
Do the laundry I have to do the laundry before the weekend.
Do the ironing She spends her Sunday afternoon doing the ironing.
Do the shopping I usually do the shopping on Saturdays.
Do your work You need to do your work before the deadline.
Do homework I have to do my homework before going out.
Do housework She does all the housework by herself.
Do your job You need to do your job properly.
Do business He’s always busy doing business with clients.
Do your hair I need to do my hair before the party tonight.
Do your nails She’s going to do her nails at the salon.
Do one’s best I always try to do my best at work.
Do good She volunteers to do good in her community.
Do harm He didn’t mean to do harm to anyone.
Do a favor Can you do me a favor and pick up my mail?
Do things right / badly / well It’s important to do things right in your job.
Do time He’s going to do time in prison for his crime.
Do your best / worst You should always do your best in everything you do.

Example of Make

These are some important expressions that you can use with make:

Collocations Example Sentences
Make arrangements Let’s make arrangements for the meeting next week.
Make an attempt He decided to make an attempt to climb the mountain.
Make bed I always make my bed as soon as I wake up.
Make believe Children love to make believe they are superheroes.
Make change Can you make change for a $20 bill?
Make a choice You have to make a choice between the two options.
Make a comment She always has something to make a comment about.
Make a complaint I need to make a complaint about the service I received.
Make a decision We have to make a decision about the new project.
Make a demand She’s going to make a demand for better working conditions.
Make a difference You can make a difference in someone’s life by helping them.
Make an effort I’m going to make an effort to finish this project on time.
Make an exception We can make an exception for you this time.
Make an excuse He always tries to make an excuse for being late.
Make an inquiry I need to make an inquiry about the product’s availability.
Make a fool of yourself Don’t make a fool of yourself in front of your colleagues.
Make a fortune He made a fortune by investing in the stock market.
Make friends It’s easy to make friends when you’re friendly.
Make a fuss She always makes a fuss about everything.
Make a journey We’re going to make a journey to the other side of the world.
Make love They made love under the stars.
Make a mess He made a mess in the kitchen while cooking.
Make a mistake Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of learning.
Make money He made a lot of money by starting his own business.
Make a move He’s waiting for the right moment to make a move in the game.
Make a noise Please don’t make a noise, I’m trying to concentrate.
Make an offer They made an offer to buy the company.
Make peace It’s important to make peace with your enemies.
Make a phone call I need to make a phone call to my friend.
Make a plan Let’s make a plan for our vacation next summer.
Make a point He always tries to make a point in every conversation.
Make a profit The company made a big profit this year.
Make a promise I made a promise to myself to exercise every day.
Make a remark She made a remark about my outfit, but I didn’t mind.
Make a sound The room was so quiet, you could hear a pin make a sound.
Make a speech He made a speech at the conference about climate change.
Make a suggestion Can I make a suggestion for the next meeting’s agenda?
Make time I need to make time for my hobbies and interests.
Make a visit I’m going to make a visit to my grandparents this weekend.
Make war We should always try to make peace instead of making war.
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Friday 25th of December 2020

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