When to use MAKE and DO in English?

MAKE and DO are 2 commonly confused verbs in English. So today I’m going to clear up this confusion for you and you will learn when to use MAKE and DO in English.

Both English verbs MAKE and DO are used in everyday speech to cover many activities that we carry out daily. Both words are similar in meaning, and it is quite confusing when to use MAKE or DO in English. We often MAKE mistakes and DO not use them correctly.

When to use MAKE and DO in English

MAKE is often used when referring to produce, prepare or create.

e.g. I make the products more quickly now as I am better prepared.

DO is used when referring to something more general or unspecified

e.g. If you do that you will regret it.

There are many examples when we can use DO and MAKE. Here are some of them:

Common English Expressions with DO

1. TO DO A FAVOUR

Michael asked me if I could do him a favour and lend him some money.

2. TO DO AN EXAM

Mikhail was preparing to do the examination the next day( you can also say preparing to sit the examination)

3. TO DO EXERCISE

The doctor advised him to do some light exercise every day to build up his strength.

4. TO DO HOMEWORK

My mother told me to do my homework before dinner.

5. TO DO NOTHING

He decided to do nothing for the rest of the day.

6. TO DO ONE’S BEST/WORST

It’s hard to work on this project part-time but I’ll do my best.

7. TO DO BUSINESS WITH SOMEBODY

We did business with 145 different retailers across the world in 2016!

8. TO DO A CROSSWORD

He did a crossword while the tea brewed.

9. TO DO DAMAGE TO SOMETHING

Your action, regardless of the cause, did damage to school property.

10. TO DO GOOD

Drink this medicine before you go to bed, it will do you good.

11. TO DO ONE’S HAIR

I was really happy the way she did my hair for the wedding.

12. TO DO RESEARCH

We have to do a research on the meaning and explanation of these formulas.

13. TO DO THE SHOPPING

I usually do my weekly shopping on Fridays.

14. TO DO RIGHT/WRONG

It was one of the few things he did right in his life.

15. TO DO A TRANSLATION

He did a translation of this play first in 1834.

Collocations with DO - Infographic

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Common English Expressions with MAKE

1. TO MAKE A BOOKING

We planned to go to the theatre the next week. I made ( to make) a booking over the internet.

2. TO MAKE A CAKE

It was his birthday in two days. His mother decided to make a cake for the occasion. ( can also say to bake a cake)

3. TO MAKE A COMMENT

When the company results were announced the reporter asked a representative of the company to make a comment about the losses.

4. TO MAKE A FOOL OF YOURSELF

He had too much to drink and fell over. He made a fool of himself as all his colleagues were watching.

5. TO MAKE A CALL

He excused himself from the meeting and went to his office to make a call to his wife.

6. TO MAKE A PRESENTATION

He was asked to make a presentation to the staff and present the new product before it was launched.

7. TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

Last week I rang to make an appointment with my GP.

8. TO MAKE AN EFFORT

She likes that he is really making an effort when it comes to the kids.

9. TO MAKE A MISTAKE

I made a terrible mistake of not reading the fine print. 

10. TO MAKE THE BEDS

The work is easily done, I had to make the beds and clean the bathrooms and the main room.

11. TO MAKE AN EXCUSE

I didn’t really want to go out yesterday, so I made an excuse.

12. TO MAKE CHANGES

I had to make changes to my report.

13. TO MAKE COFFEE

Shall I make you coffee?

14. TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION

It is very important in your job interview to make a good first impression.

15. TO MAKE TROUBLE

He is a fantastic driver but he always makes trouble.

16. MAKE A FORTUNE

He made a fortune selling insurance, and retired in twenty years.

Collocations with MAKE - Infographic

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Difference between MAKE and DO - Video Lesson

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When to use MAKE and DO - Interactive Quiz

More Information

For more information on English phrasal verbs, English expressions and English idioms, check out the following links:

PHRASAL VERBS WITH FALL

COLLOCATIONS WITH THING

ENGLISH IDIOMS WITH WIND

Collocations with make and do can also be found on Myenglishpages.

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