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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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:
- “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.”
- “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.
Learn more: Collocations with Make
- 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.
- “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
|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.
|I have to do my homework before going out.
|She does all the housework by herself.
|Do your job
|You need to do your job properly.
|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.
|She volunteers to do good in her community.
|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.
|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:
|Let’s make arrangements for the meeting next week.
|Make an attempt
|He decided to make an attempt to climb the mountain.
|I always make my bed as soon as I wake up.
|Children love to make believe they are superheroes.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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?
|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.
|We should always try to make peace instead of making war.
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