Do vs. Make

English Vocabulary

Do and Make are two verbs which frequently confuse students. Here we will learn about the difference between Do and Make and when to use each one.

When do you use DO?

DO is used as follows:

1. DO is used when talking about work, jobs or tasks. Note, they do not produce any physical object.

2. DO is used when we refer to activities in general without being specific. In these cases, we normally use words like thing, something, nothing, anything, everything etc.

3. We sometimes use DO to replace a verb when the meaning is clear or obvious. This is more common in informal spoken English:

Remember Do can also be as an auxiliary verb (for making questions in the present tense - Do you like chocolate?) For more about Do used in this case, see our page about Do vs Does. Here we will be talking about Do as a normal verb.

When do you use MAKE?

Make is for producing, constructing, creating or building something new.

It is also used to indicate the origin of a product or the materials that are used to make something.

We also use Make for producing an action or reaction:

You make after certain nouns about plans and decisions:

We use Make with nouns about speaking and certain sounds:

We use Make with Food, Drink and Meals:

Compare Do and Make

A: You have to make a cake for Simon.

B: I’ll do it later.

Notice how in the response the verb DO is used. This is because the meaning is clear and to avoid saying “I’ll make it later.” which could sound repetitive.

Do vs. Make Comparison Chart

The difference between Do vs Make in English

Common Expressions with Do and Make

The following expressions are set collocations (combinations of words that frequently appear together) that you need to learn:

Expressions with DO

The following words are normally used with Do:

Expressions with MAKE

The following words are normally used with MAKE:

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