Make and do

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In some languages the verbs make and do are the same, but in English they are different.  Here’s an explanation of their different uses.


Make means to mentally or physically create something, but it’s also used in many other expressions such as:

He made her angry when he forgot their anniversary.  (or any other emotion)
I need to make an appointment with the dentist soon.
I’m going to Chicago next week, and I haven’t made arrangements yet.
The children have to make their beds before breakfast
We should make a cake for his birthday.  (or any other food that takes preparation)
I’ve had the same job for ten years, and I think it’s time to make a change.
Could you make change for a dollar, please?
I made coffee.  Would you like a cup?  (or any other drink that takes preparation)
He upset her when he made a comment about her weight.
If you don’t like your meal, you should make a complaint to the manager.
Could you please make a copy of this for my files?
I made a date with her for Friday night.
made a deal with my wife.  When I cook, she cleans up.
Would you hurry up and make a decision!
Even if you apologize, it won’t make a difference.
It’s your turn to make dinner.  (or breakfast, lunch)
I think you should make an effort to be polite.
You made an error on page three of the document.
For you I’ll make an exception.
She made an excuse and left the party early.
We made a fire at the campsite.
I think we can make a fortune in this business.
I made a friend on my last trip to Italy.
It’s not nice to make fun of someone’s hair style.
Everyone laughed when he made a joke about the food.
He made me laugh when he tripped over his own feet.  (or other action)
Before we go grocery shopping, I think we should make a list.
He said they make love about three times a week.
If you make a mess in the kitchen, clean it up.
I made a mistake when I told you the time of the meeting.
They made money by reselling the house they bought last year.
Don’t make noise; I’m trying to study.  (or make a sound)
If you want to buy that car, you should make an offer.
It’s time to make a payment on our credit card bill.
I think you should make peace with your father before it’s too late.
Before we visit San Francisco, we should make a plan so we don’t miss anything.
I’m sorry; I can’t come to your party because I’ve made plans for the weekend.
He made a point of telling me that the deadline was this Friday.
If we can’t make a profit, we’ll have to close the store.
She’s not a good driver yet, but she’s making progress.
I made a promise to my mother to come home for the holidays.
That’s a very popular restaurant, and you have to make a reservation.
Make a right turn at the next intersection.  (or make a left turn, … a u-turn)
He always gets a little nervous before he makes a speech.
Can I make a suggestion?  Don’t invite so many people.
Make sure that you lock the door when you leave.  (or make certain …)
She said she was really busy, but she could make time this afternoon to see us.
I don’t want to make trouble, so I think I’ll leave now.
Make up your mind.  What do you want to do today?


Do means to accomplish a job (to start it and finish it,) but it’s also used in many other expressions such as:

Don’t worry about it.  You did your best
I think you and I can do business together.
On Saturday morning I do my chores before I go out to have fun.
He always does his duty and picks up the kids after school.
You can do damage to the coffee table if you put your feet on it.
I like to do the crossword puzzle in the newspaper everyday.
She always does her hair before she goes out on Saturday night.
We bought a dishwasher because nobody wanted to do the dishes.
I have to do my exercises before dinnertime.
Do me a favor and turn the TV down.
On Sunday they both go outside and do the gardening.
Exercising will do you some good.
It won’t do you any harm to stay up past your bedtime this once.
I want you to go upstairs right now and do your homework. 
It’s her job to do the housework.
She does the ironing in the evening while watching TV.
I wish he would just do his job and stop complaining.
Every Thursday she does the laundry.
She does her make-up first thing in the morning.
He does paperwork all day long in his job.
They’re doing research to find a cure for dementia.
It’s her job to do the shopping for the week.  (ordo the banking)
Do you know how to do the tango?  (or any other dance)
She asked him to do the vacuuming, and he agreed.
I think you’ll do well in this job.  (ordo poorly)
I need to do some work around the house this weekend.
She usually does yoga in the late afternoons.  (or tai chi, karate, kung fu, etc.)

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