Make and Do in English
DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DO AND MAKE?
These two words can be confusing, but I’ll teach you the difference – and teach you 60 common collocations with example sentences to help you!
Basic Difference Between DO And MAKE
§ Use DO for actions, obligations, and repetitive tasks.
§ Use MAKE for creating or producing something, and for actions you choose to do.
§ DO generally refers to the action itself, and MAKE usually refers to the result. For example, if you “make breakfast,” the result is an omelet! If you “make a suggestion,” you have created a recommendation.
Common English Collocations With DO
§ do the housework After I got home from the office, I was too tired to do the housework.
§ do the laundry I really need to do the laundry – I don’t have any clean clothes left!
§ do the dishes I’ll make dinner if you do the dishes afterwards. (you can also say “wash the dishes”)
§ do the shopping I went to the bank, did some shopping, and mailed a package at the post office.
EXCEPTION: make the bed = putting blankets, sheets, and pillows in the correct place so that the bed looks nice and not messy.
WORK / STUDY
§ do work I can’t go out this weekend – I have to do some work on an extra project.
§ do homework You can’t watch any TV until you’ve done your homework.
§ do business We do business with clients in fifteen countries.
§ do a good/great/terrible job She did a good job organising the party. (in this expression, “job” doesn’t necessarily refer to work. It simply means the person did something well)
§ do a report I’m doing a report on the history of American foreign policy. (you can also say “writing a report”)
§ do a course We’re doing a course at the local university. (you can also say “taking a course”)
TAKING CARE OF YOUR BODY
§ do exercise I do at least half an hour of exercise every day.
§ do your hair (= style your hair) I’ll be ready to go in 15 minutes – I just need to do my hair.
§ do your nails (= paint your nails) Can you open this envelope for me? I just did my nails and they’re still wet.
GENERAL GOOD OR BAD ACTIONS
§ do anything / something / everything / nothing Are you doing anything special for your birthday? You can’t do everything by yourself – let me help you.
§ do well I think I did pretty well in the interview.
§ do badly Everyone did badly on the test – the highest grade was 68.
§ do good The non-profit organisation has done a lot of good in the community.
§ do the right thing When I found someone’s wallet on the sidewalk, I turned it in to the police because I wanted to do the right thing.
§ do your best Don’t worry about getting everything perfect – just do your best.
Common English Collocations With MAKE
§ make breakfast/lunch/dinner I’m making dinner – it’ll be ready in about ten minutes.
§ make a sandwich Could you make me a turkey sandwich?
§ make a salad I made a salad for the family picnic.
§ make a cup of tea Would you like me to make you a cup of tea?
§ make a reservation I’ve made a reservation for 7:30 at our favourite restaurant.
§ make money I enjoy my job, but I don’t make very much money.
§ make a profit The new company made a profit within its first year.
§ make a fortune He made a fortune after his book hit #1 on the bestseller list.
§ make $_______ I made $250 selling my old CDs on the internet.
§ make friends It’s hard to make friends when you move to a big city.
§ make love (= have sex) The newlyweds made love on the beach during their honeymoon.
§ make a pass at (= flirt with someone) My best friend’s brother made a pass at me – he asked if I was single and tried to get my phone number.
§ make fun of someone (= tease / mock someone) The other kids made fun of Jimmy when he got glasses, calling him “four eyes.”
§ make up (= resolve a problem in a relationship) Karen and Jennifer made up after the big fight they had last week.
§ make a phone call Please excuse me – I need to make a phone call.
§ make a joke He made a joke, but it wasn’t very funny and no one laughed.
§ make a point Dana made some good points during the meeting; I think we should consider her ideas.
§ make a bet I made a bet with Peter to see who could do more push-ups.
§ make a complaint We made a complaint with our internet provider about their terrible service, but we still haven’t heard back from them.
§ make a confession I need to make a confession: I was the one who ate the last piece of cake.
§ make a speech The company president made a speech about ethics in the workplace.
§ make a suggestion Can I make a suggestion? I think you should cut your hair shorter – it’d look great on you!
§ make a prediction It’s difficult to make any predictions about the future of the economy.
§ make an excuse When I asked him if he’d finished the work, he started making excuses about how he was too busy.
§ make a promise I made a promise to help her whenever she needs it. (you can also say, “I promised to help her whenever she needs it.”)
§ make a fuss (= demonstrate annoyance) Stop making a fuss – he’s only late a couple minutes. I’m sure he’ll be here soon.
§ make an observation I’d like to make an observation about our business plan – it’s not set in stone, so we can be flexible.
§ make a comment The teacher made a few critical comments on my essay.
EXCEPTION: Don’t say “make a question.” The correct phrase is “ask a question.”
PLANS & PROGRESS
§ make plans We’re making plans to travel to Australia next year.
§ make a decision/choice I’ve made my decision – I’m going to go to New York University, not Boston University.
§ make a mistake You made a few mistakes in your calculations – the correct total is $5430, not $4530.
§ make progress My students are making good progress. Their spoken English is improving a lot.
§ make an attempt / effort (= try) I’m making an effort to stop smoking this year.
§ make up your mind (= decide) Should I buy a desktop or a laptop computer? I can’t make up my mind.
§ make a discovery Scientists have made an important discovery in the area of genetics.
§ make a list I’m making a list of everything we need for the wedding: invitations, decorations, a cake, a band, the dress…
§ make sure (= confirm) Can you make sure we have enough copies of the report for everybody at the meeting?
§ make a difference Getting eight hours of sleep makes a big difference in my day. I have more energy!
§ make an exception Normally the teacher doesn’t accept late homework, but she made an exception for me because my backpack was stolen with my homework inside it.
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