Do vs. Make: Difference between Do and Make in English

Last Updated on December 26, 2023

Do and make are two verbs that frequently confuse students of English. Learn the difference between do vs. make in English with examples and pictures.

Learn more about common collocations for English learners.

Do vs. Make: the Main Differences

Do vs. MakePin

Do vs. Make: Key Takeaways 

  • We use “DO” when someone performs actions, repetitive tasks and obligations.

In other words, “DO” is often used when referring to work of any kind and referring to the action itself.

  • We use “MAKE” for creating, producing and constructing.

In other words, “MAKE” is often used when referring to the result.

Do vs. Make: Definitions and Usages 

When it comes to distinguishing between “do” and “make,” we often find ourselves confused, but with a few learning tips, we can master their usage. Let’s break it down.

Do: We use “do” when referring to general activities that do not result in a physical object. It’s often utilized for tasks, jobs, and activities that are part of our daily routines.

  • Examples: do homework, do the dishes, do a good job

Make: The verb “make” is for creating or producing something tangible or intangible. It carries the sense of creation or construction.

  • Examples: make a cake, make a decision, make friends

Memorize Common Collocations

  • To get accustomed to how “do” and “make” are used, familiarize yourself with commonly paired words (collocations). Here’s a simple list to start with:
Do Make
Do business Make a change
Do well Make money
Do harm Make plans
Do your best Make sense

Important Expressions with “Do”

Common collocations with DO: do an activity, or action such as works, jobs and tasks

Housework

  • Do the housework
  • Do laundry
  • Do your chores
  • Do the washing up (UK)
  • Do the shopping
  • Do the cleaning
  • Do the cooking
  • Do the dishes
  • Do the ironing
  • Do your duty

Work/Study

  • Do homework
  • Do an assignment
  • Do a report
  • Do a test (UK)
  • Do a project
  • Do a course (UK)
  • Do a deal
  • Do some reading
  • Do some writing
  • Do some studying
  • Do the math
  • Do sums
  • Do research
  • Do experiments
  • Do business
  • Do the paperwork
  • Do crosswords

Taking care of your body

  • Do exercise
  • Do gymnastics
  • Do your makeup
  • Do your hair
  • Do your nails

Do non-specific activities

  • Do a favour (UK) / Do a favor (US)
  • Do badly
  • Do harm
  • Do damage
  • Do your best
  • Do a good job
  • Do well
  • Do nothing
  • Do anything
  • Do something
  • Do everything
  • Do better
  • Do the right thing
  • Do something right
  • Do something wrong
  • Do the maximum
  • Do the minimum

Important Expressions with “Make”

Common Collocations with Make in English.

Housework

  • Make the bed
  • Make room

Food, Drink and Meals

  • Make a cake
  • Make breakfast
  • Make dinner
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Make a sandwich
  • Make a salad
  • Make a tea
  • Make a snack

Communications

  • Make a noise
  • Make a comment
  • Make a joke
  • Make a point
  • Make arrangements
  • Make a speech
  • Make a suggestion
  • Make a complaint
  • Make a confession
  • Make a prediction
  • Make an excuse
  • Make a promise
  • Make a fuss
  • Make an observation
  • Make a mistake
  • Make a call
  • Make a reservation
  • Make a rude gesture
  • Make a statement
  • Make noise
  • Make an impression
  • Make an enquiry
  • Make an appearance
  • Make an agreement
  • Make a sound
  • Make a presentation
  • Make a recovery
  • Make peace

Relationships/ Reaction

  • Make your eyes water
  • Make you happy
  • Make you sleep
  • Make you smile
  • Make friends
  • Make love
  • Make up
  • Make fun of someone
  • Make a pass at
  • Make a break with sb/ sth (UK)
  • Make a fool of yourself

Plan/Decision

  • Make a contract
  • Make progress
  • Make a choice
  • Make a plan
  • Make a decision
  • Make an attempt/ effort
  • Make up your mind
  • Make a discovery
  • Make a list
  • Make sure
  • Make a difference
  • Make an exception
  • Make an offer
  • Make a note (of)
  • Make a prediction

Money

  • Make money
  • Make a profit
  • Make a fortune

Product Material

  • Made of gold/silver
  • Made from oranges/lemons
  • Made in Japan/China
  • Made by me

Others

  • Make believe
  • Make sense
  • Make changes
  • Make sure
  • Make trouble
  • Make up your mind
  • Make war
  • Make one’s bow (UK)
  • Make an objection
  • Make an allusion
  • Make a threat
  • Make a difference
  • Make a fire
  • Make a habit
  • Make a living
  • Make a mess
  • Make a dress
  • Make a move

DO vs. MAKE: Examples 

“Do”  Example 

  1. I have to do my homework before I can go out.
  2. She does a lot of work around the house.
  3. He’s doing well in his new job.
  4. We need to do the dishes after dinner.
  5. They do their best to help the community.

“Make” is used when talking about creating, building, or producing something, particularly when a physical object is the result. It is also used with some specific expressions that involve a result or outcome.

“Make” Example 

  1. She likes to make her own clothes.
  2. He made a cake for his sister’s birthday.
  3. The company is making a profit this year.
  4. We made plans for the weekend.
  5. The children made a mess in the playroom.

Interactive Exercises

Fill-in-the-Blank 

  1. I need to _____ the laundry before we go out. (do/make)
  2. Can you _____ me a favor and pick up some groceries? (do/make)
  3. She always _____ her best to help others. (do/make)
  4. The company plans to _____ a significant profit this year. (do/make)
  5. He’s going to _____ a speech at the wedding. (do/make)
  6. Please _____ sure the doors are locked before leaving. (do/make)
  7. They _____ a lot of noise when they play music at home. (do/make)
  8. We have to _____ a decision about where to go on vacation. (do/make)
  9. She _____ yoga every morning to stay flexible. (do/make)
  10. The chef is going to _____ a cake for the birthday party. (do/make)

Answers

  1. I need to do the laundry before we go out.
  2. Can you do me a favor and pick up some groceries?
  3. She always does her best to help others.
  4. The company plans to make a significant profit this year.
  5. He’s going to make a speech at the wedding.
  6. Please make sure the doors are locked before leaving.
  7. They make a lot of noise when they play music at home.
  8. We have to make a decision about where to go on vacation.
  9. She does yoga every morning to stay flexible.
  10. The chef is going to make a cake for the birthday party.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the basic difference between “do” and “make”?

  • Do: We use “do” for tasks, work, and general activities where there’s no end product.
  • Make: We use “make” when there’s a creation or production of something new.

When should we use “make the bed” and “do the bed”?

  • We always say “make the bed” because this refers to arranging the bed neatly.

Can you give us examples of when to use “do” and “make”? Sure, here’s a simple breakdown:

Action Do Make
Work do a job, do homework  
Preparation   make dinner, make a reservation
Creating   make a painting, make a list
General Activity do exercise  

Are there exceptions to these rules? Yes, there are always exceptions due to idiomatic expressions, such as “do time” (spend time in prison) or “make good” (succeed). However, our table covers the general usage.

What if I’m still not sure whether to use “do” or “make”?

  • If it’s a regular action or chore, lean towards “do.”
  • If it involves creating something, choose “make.”
  • Still in doubt? Look it up, as using the wrong one can sometimes change the meaning of what we’re trying to say.

 

 

Differences between Do vs. Make | Images

 

Differences between Do vs. MakePin

 

Differences between Do vs. MakePin

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