The verbs ‘do’ and ‘make’ are often confused because ‘do’ goes with some words and ‘make’ goes with others.
Another difference is that ‘do’ is an auxiliary verb, ‘make’ is not. When ‘do’ is an auxiliary it does not have any meaning, it is simply part of a grammatical structure. When ‘do’ is a main verb it usually has a very general meaning to express general activities.
Make is always a main verb so, although it is also a very general verb, it expresses the idea of contructing, creating or building something.
1. We use ‘do’ for actions, activities and tasks
Usually these activities do not produce any physical object.
“I did my crossword in 10 minutes!”
“My father does the ironing in the living room”
“Can you do the washing up today?!”
2. We use ‘do’ for types of work
Usually these types of work do not produce any physical object.
“I do my homework every day after school”
“My sister hates doing houswork”
“Can you do this job? It’s quite difficult!”
3. We use do for general ideas
When we are talking about things in general, we use ‘do’. This form is often used when we talk about “something, nothing, anything, everything”.
“She’s decided she’s not doing anything today”
“Jenny does everything for her brother”
4. Important expressions with “DO”
These expressions are important to memorize so you remember they are for “do”:
To do one’s best
To do good
To do time
To do harm
To do a favour
To do business
To do your nails
1. We use make for constructing, building and creating
‘Make’ is used for expressing activities that create something you can touch.
“Gran makes the best lasagna in the world!”
“Please could you make me a cup of tea?”
2. Important expressions with “MAKE”
And now, remember these expressions with ‘make’. Some of them seem to make more sense with ‘do’ which is why they often cause confusion.
“To make plans”
“To make an exception”
“To make a telephone call”
“To make a decision”
“To make a mistake”
“To make noise”
“To make money”
“To make an excuse”
“To make an effort”
Do or Make ABA English Quiz
My little sister _____ a big mess in the kitchen.
I can’t believe you have already _____ your homework!
My teacher was very proud with me: I only ______ one mistake in my English exam.
Have you ______ the decision yet? I need to know if you’re coming.
What do you _____ for a living? I’m a doctor.
Please could you ____ me a favour?
Although she was sick, she ____ an effort and came to my party.
I know him because we ______ business together last year.
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