Do vs Make


Do and make are two verbs that frequently confuse students.

We usually use the verb do when someone performs an action, activity, task or work. These activities do not usually produce something new:

  • I did the laundry today.
  • Do the dishes after dinner, please.
  • Have you done your homework yet?
  • Do your work!
  • She does her job well.


We also use do for things in general:

  • What are you doing today?
  • He does nothing all day.
  • She does everything for her daughter.
  • Hurry up, I’ve got things to do.
  • I know you will do the right thing.


Some expressions with do:

  • do a crossword
  • do a favor / favour
  • do a job
  • do a project
  • do a service
  • do an assignment
  • do anything
  • do badly
  • do business
  • do chores
  • do exercise
  • do good
  • do harm
  • do the laundry
  • do nothing
  • do research
  • do right (the right thing)
  • do something
  • do the gardening
  • do the housework
  • do the rest
  • do the shopping
  • do well
  • do work
  • do wrong (the wrong thing)
  • do your best
  • do your job
  • do your work


We usually use the verb make for building and creating. These activities usually produce something new.

We use make with food, drink and meals:

  • I’m making a cake for his birthday.
  • He makes a cup of tea every morning.
  • Who is making dinner tonight?


Make is also used to indicate the origin of a product or the materials that are used to make something:

  • His wedding ring is made of gold.
  • The house was made of wood.
  • Wine is made from grapes.
  • The watches were made in Switzerland.


We also use make for producing an action or reaction:

  • Onions make your eyes water.
  • You make me happy.
  • Watching tv makes me sleepy.


You use make after certain nouns about plans and decisions:

  • He made the arrangements last week.
  • She has made her choice.
  • Can you please make a decision?
  • I haven’t made the reservations yet.


We use make with nouns about speaking and certain sounds:

  • Making comments about people isn’t very nice.
  • Don’t make a noise, you might wake the baby.
  • She made a speech at the wedding.
  • Can I make a suggestion?


Some important expressions with make:

  • make a difference
  • make an effort
  • make an enquiry
  • make an excuse
  • make a fool of yourself
  • make a fortune
  • make fun of someone
  • make friends
  • make a fuss
  •  make love
  • make a mess
  • make a mistake
  • make money
  • make a move
  • make a painting
  • make a payment
  • make a phone call
  • make a point
  • make a profit
  • make a promise
  • make time

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