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