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  • Do or Make? The Rules and a lot of Exceptions (video and exercises)

    One of the most confusing pairs of words for people learning English is “do” and “make.” In many languages, these are one word, like “hacer” in Spanish. But in English, these concepts are split into two words, and the exact difference between them isn’t always clear.

    Here’s a video on Do or Make. Below the video you’ll find a written explanation, and exercises

    We make phone calls. For some reason.

    In general, we use do with work. For instance: do a job, do homework, do work.

    We typically use make to talk about producing or creating something new. For instance: make a cake, make music, make art.

    Also, we typically do things with our minds (like math) but we make things with our hands (like a cake). Again this is typical, but there are plenty of exceptions.

    The problem for people learning English is that there are a lot of expressions that use do or make, that break these rules. So here is a short list of them to help you.

    Expressions with Make

    make the bed, make food, make dinner, make coffee, make money, make a plan, make a living, make arrangements, make an excuse, make up your mind, make progress, make a suggestion, make a decision, make sense, make a call, make a promise, make a difference, make noise, make an effort, make an agreement

    Expressions with Do

    do a job, do a favor, do an assignment, do exercise, How are you doing?, How do you do? do business, do badly, do well, do housework, do the ironing, do the dishes, do an exercise, do something over

    Exercises: Fill in the Gap

    1. Who ___ dinner tonight?
    2. Did you ___ your homework?
    3. I ____ a lot of money at my old job.
    4. We sometimes fight over who has to ___ the dishes.
    5. I ___ 100 sit ups yesterday.
    6. Let’s ___ pizza for dinner tonight.
    7. I ___ really good coffee.
    8. What did you ___ today?
    9. What does he ___ at his job?
    10. The president has to ____ difficult decisions.

    You can write your answers in comments, and we will respond.

    • luz

      Who  make___ dinner tonight?Did you __do_ your homework?I _make___ a lot of money at my old job.We sometimes fight of who has to _do__ the dishes.I _made__ 100 sit ups yesterday.Let’s _make__ pizza for dinner tonight.I _make__ really good coffee.What did you _do__ today?What does he _do__ at his job?The president has to __make__ difficult decisions.

      • LOIEnglish

        Very good Luz! The only problem is with the tense of ‘make’ in your first sentence. 

    • make- do- made-do-made-make-do-do-do-make

      • Good Ana! The first one should be past tense: made, number 5 is “did,” and 7 is “do.”

    • Magno

      I don’t understand very :/

    • Hugo

      Who makes___ dinner tonight?

      Did you do___ your homework?

      I made____ a lot of money at my old job.

      We sometimes fight over who has to make___ the dishes.

      I do___ 100 sit ups yesterday.

      Let’s make___ pizza for dinner tonight.

      I make___ really good coffee.

      What did you do___ today?

      What does he do___ at his job?

      The president has to make____ difficult decisions.

    • Anh

      makes – do – made – do – made – made – make – do – do – do

    • susana gonzalez

      Who MAKES dinner tonight?
      Did you DO your homework?
      I MADE a lot of money at my old job.
      We sometimes fight over who has to DO the dishes.
      I DID 100 sit ups yesterday.
      Let’s MAKE pizza for dinner tonight.
      I MAKE really good coffee.
      What did you DO today?
      What does he DO at his job?
      The president has to MAKE difficult decisions.

      • LOIEnglish

        Perfect!

    • Fernando Molina

      Who make dinner tonight?
      Did you do you homework?
      I made a lot of money at my old job.
      We sometimes fight over who as to do the dishes.
      I did 100 sit ups yesterday.