In some languages, the words make and do are very similar, and can sometimes be used interchangeably. However, this is not the case in English. Make and do are two separate words that cannot be used to substitute (replace) one another. But there are some do and make phrases in English to help you remember when to use each word.
In English, the word make is typically used when you create, construct, or build something. You will often hear the word make in relation to meals (prepared food). For example, you make yourself some lunch, or you ask your partner to make dinner.
If you’re creating something, go for the word make.
There are a lot of instances where we use the word do or one of its variants in English, but we tend to use do a lot when we’re performing an action, task, or activity. In particular, we use do when referring to (talking about) work. For example, you do your job every day, or you do the dishes after a meal.
If you have something on your to-do list, go for the word do!
Here are some typical do and make phrases in English explained to help you remember when to use each:
Did you always hate doing your homework as a kid? A lot of people did! When you have some homework, you have to use the word do with it, because it is a task.
- Please do your homework.
- Have you done your homework yet?
Make your bed
While you may think of making your bed in the morning as a task or work (I certainly do!), it’s used with the word make, as you’re building or constructing something, in a way. You can’t do your bed, so you have to make it.
- I hate making my bed.
- Can you make your bed, please?
Do a favor
Has anyone ever asked you to do a small task for them? This is called a favor, and you use it with the word do. Favors are generally small tasks that someone may ask you to do as an act (deed, gesture, action, thing done) of kindness.
- Can you do me a favor? Can you throw this away for me, please?
- Do me a favor and hand me the stapler.
Plans, whether for vacation, the weekend, or even just work, are considered to be something that you create. Therefore, we use the word make when we’re talking about creating plans.
- We need to make a plan for our vacation this year.
- I’m making plans for the weekend. Want to do something on Sunday?
Not everyone loves shopping…especially grocery shopping. Shopping can seem like a monumental (huge, like a monument) task or chore, but it has to be done. Here, we use the word do when we talk about shopping.
- Have you done the shopping already?
- He needs to do the shopping on Saturday since the stores are closed on Sundays.
Make a point
Finally, you can make a point about something. This is when you create a reason or justification for something, or have an argument as to why something should be the way it is.
- I’d like to make a point: learning a language with Bespeaking is a great investment!
- To make my point clear, here is a diagram of the sales numbers from 2018.
Here are some of the most common do and make phrases in English that people get confused:
- Make a choice/decision
- Make an appointment
- Make friends
- Make money
- Make calculations (when talking about decision-making)
- Make my day…
- Do a job
- Do/take an exam
- Do the laundry
- Do it over again (to repeat)
- Do a calculation (when talking about math)
There are lots of do and make phrases in English that we use on a daily basis. Can you think of any others? Share them with us in the comments below!
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and hopes she has just made your day with these great do and make phrases!