Do Vs. Make

Posted 10:04 by Sailaja Prakash in Labels:


Do can be an auxiliary verb.


Do you like coffee?

Do can be a main verb.

I did my homework yesterday.

As an auxiliary verb it has no meaning. It is necessary for the grammatical structure.

As a main verb it has a meaning. But the meaning is rather general. It often expresses a general activity.

Do for general activity:

When we talk about general activity but do not say what it is, we can use do.


I want to do something.

What are you doing this evening?

What can we do?

Do it now!

Do for work:

We usually use do to talk about work.


What do you do? (=What is your job?)

Who does your shopping?

I don't want to do any work today.

I hate doing the washing up.

Have you done your homework>


We sometimes use doto replace another more exact verb (but only when the meaning is clear from the situation). This is very informal.


Make is used for construction. Make often expresses the idea of construction or creation.


I'll make a cake for his birthday.

This car was made in France.

Did you make this table yourself?


Remember that we usually use makefor products or goods that are manufactured. That's why we use labels like "Made in Hong-Kong", or "Made in China" on products that we buy.

Now Compare:

Do the shopping. (We don't really create anything. We just "do" an activity.)

Make a cake. (We really create something.)

I must make his cake. I'll donow.

Expressions with Do:

do good

do harm

do well

do badly

do a favour

do business

Expressions with Make:

make an attempt

make a bed (usually this means "tidy the bed clothes". But it could mean "manufacture the furniture".)

make a change/ make changes

make a compliant

make a decision

make a demand

make an effort

make an exception

make an excuse

make a loss

make love

make a mistake

make money

make a noise

make an offer

make peace

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