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

Past Perfect Progressive – Verb Meaning and Use

past_perfect_cont GraphicThis post will show you how to use the Past Perfect Progressive (also called the Past Perfect Continuous). To see how to form the Past Perfect Progressive, click here.

The Past Perfect Progressive expresses the relationship in time between two past events, similar to the Past Perfect. However, the Past Perfect Progressive emphasizes that the first event was ongoing and continued up to or just before the second event.

  • Tomomi had been studying all night. (Past Perfect Progressive, 1st event)
  • She was exhausted at breakfast. (Past Simple, 2nd event)


 For and since often show how long a situation lasted before the second past event.

  • Chris left his office at 6:00 pm. (Past Simple, 2nd event)
  • Hed been working since 8:00 am. (Past Perfect Progressive, 1st event)


The Past Perfect Progressive is often used in sentences using past time clauses.

  • Michelle had been working for nine and a half hours (Past Perfect Progressive, 1st event)
  • by the time she left her office. (Past Simple, 2nd event)


Certain common verbs can be used with the Past Perfect and the Past Perfect Progressive with little or no difference in meaning, but using the Progressive can show a more intense or emotional situation.

  • Mr. Garcia had lived there since 1982. (Past Perfect)
  • Mr. Garcia had been living there since 1982.  (Past Perfect Progressive)
  • I’d waited an hour (neutral)
  • I’d been waiting an hour. (I was so mad!)


The Past Perfect can express a completed action that may or may not have happened recently. In contrast, the Past Perfect Progressive suggests that an action was continuing up to or ended just before a specific time in the past.

  • Janice had watered the garden before I arrived. (She may have watered it a few minutes or many hours before I arrived.)
  • Janice had been watering the garden before I arrived. (She watered the garden a few minutes before I arrived. The ground was still wet.)


We do not use the Past Perfect Progressive to tell how many times an action is repeated.

  • I’d read it three times before. (Correct)
  • I’d been reading it three times before. (Incorrect)


Both the Past Perfect and the Past Perfect Progressive are used to provide background information about earlier events. They are used to give reasons with because, express contrasts with although or even though, and are used to draw conclusions.

  • She looked very tired because she had been studying all night. (Reason)
  • She looked very tired because she had studied all night. (Reason)
  • She looked very tired although she had been sleeping for 12 hours. (Contrast)
  • She looked very tired although she had slept for 12 hours. (Contrast)
  • I realized that he had been criticizing my work. (Conclusion)
  • I realized that he had criticized my work. (Conclusion)

Past Perfect – Verb Form

This post will show you how to form the Past Perfect. To see how to use the Past Perfect, click here.

Affirmative Statements

Subject Had Past Participle
I had gone to school.
You had lived in Alaska.
He/She/It had watched TV.
We had walked to the store.
They/You (plural) had played tennis.


Negative Statements

Subject Had + Not (hadn’t) Past participle
I hadn’t eaten dinner.
You hadn’t waited for us.
She/He/It hadn’t driven very fast.
We hadn’t thought about the consequences.
They/You (plural) hadn’t slept by 8:00 am.


Yes/No Questions

Had Subject Past Participle
Had you been to Frankfurt before?
Had he cooked dinner?
Had they written their essay?


Short Answers

Yes Subject Had No Subject Had + Not (hadn’t)
Yes, I had. No, I hadn’t.
Yes, he had. No, he hadn’t.
Yes, they had. No, they hadn’t.


Information Questions

Wh- Word Had Subject Past Participle
Who had you voted for?
What had she arranged?
When had he quit smoking?
Where had it gone?
How had they broken the dishes?
Why had they changed jobs?
Who (subject) had left?
What (subject) had happened?