Do vs Make
I had a listener request to talk about Do vs Make. There is a lot of crossover between the two and it can be quite confusing to know when to use each one. They are connected to many different collocations and, although there aren’t clear rules that you can always remember, there are ways we can group them into categories and make it a bit easier.
I’m going to go over each category today and give some examples of each one. Then at the end, I’ll give you a little quiz to practice. I’ll tell you the answers after the outro music at the very end!
When to use "Do"
We often use “Do” for things related to work, although there are many exceptions
Do the dishes
Do the housework
Do my taxes
We use “Do” to talk about non-specific things (using the words ending in ~thing)
I’m not going to do anything
Let’s do everything in the park
When the verb is obvious, we can sometimes replace the specific verb with a simple “Do”
I need to do my makeup (apply makeup)
I want to do the dishes (wash dishes)
I just did an exam (sat an exam)
Have you done the laundry? (washed the laundry)
When to use "Make"
Food and Drink
“Make” is often used to talk about the creation of something and is related to the result. We often use it for things connected to food. I’ll add the specific verbs in brackets.
Make tea (brew tea)
Make dinner (prepare dinner)
Make a smoothie (blend a smoothie)
Make a cake (bake a cake)
Plans and Decisions
We also use “make” for decisions and plans. In a way, we are ‘creating’ a plan from nothing, so it kind of makes sense.
Let’s make a plan
He made an appointment for 2pm
Quick! Make a decision
Causing a Reaction
When an action leads to someone feeling a certain way, you can use “make”.
Your reviews make me happy (cause me to be happy)
His driving made me angry
The beauty made me happy
You make me smile 🙂
Again linked to the creation of something, “make” is used for sounds.
Don’t make a sound
Stop making such a racket
He made a speech on stage
Origins and Materials
Finally, “Make” can talk about where something came from (origin), who created it, or what it is made from (material). Pay attention to the prepositions here too.
This glass is made in China
It is made of glass
It was made by Emily