• Master the Difference Between Do and Make In a Week

    The difference between ‘do’ and ‘make’ can be extremely frustrating to any English Language Learner. This blog is to help you master the difference in one week. If you follow the instructions and do the work everyday you will grasp the difference a lot more strongly.

    Day 1:

    The first thing  you need to do is learn the definitions of ‘do’ and ‘make’

    Do/Did/Done – there are two definitions you will need to know about. ‘Do’ is a verb and ‘Do’ is an auxiliary.

    Do the verb

    1. to perform (an action, the precise nature of which is often unspecified): something must be done about the city’s traffic | she knew what she was doing | what can I do for you? | Brian was making eyes at the girl, and had been doing so for most of the hearing.

    • perform (a particular task): Dad always did the cooking on Sundays.

    • work on (something) to bring it to completion or to a required state: it takes them longer to do their hair than me | she’s the secretary and does the publicity.

    • make or have available and provide: he’s doing bistro food | many hotels don’t do single rooms at all  he decided to do her a favor.

    • solve; work out: Joe was doing sums aloud.

    • cook (food) to completion or to a specified degree: if a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, then your pie is done.

    • (often in questions) work at for a living: what does she do?

    • produce or give a performance of (a particular play, opera, etc.): the Royal Shakespeare Company is doing Macbeth next month.

    • perform (a particular role, song, etc.) or imitate (a particular person) in order to entertain people: he not only does Schwarzenegger and Groucho, he becomes them.

    informal take (a narcotic drug): he doesn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs.

    • attend to (someone): the barber said he’d do me next.

    2 [ with obj. ] achieve or complete, in particular:

    • travel (a specified distance): one car I looked at had done 112,000 miles.

    • travel at (a specified speed): I was speeding, doing seventy-five.

    • achieve (a specified sales figure): our bestselling album did about a million worldwide.

    • spend (a specified period of time), typically in prison or in a particular occupation: he did five years for manslaughter.

    • [ no obj. ] informal finish: you must sit there and wait till I’m done | [ with present participle ] : we’re done arguing.

    • (be done) be over: the special formula continues to beautify your tan when the day is done.

    • (be/have done with) give up concern for: have finished with: I would sell the place and have done with it | Steve was not done with her.

    3 act or behave in a specified way: they are free to do as they please | you did well to bring her back.

    • make progress or perform in a specified way; get on: when a team is doing badly, it’s not easy for a new player to settle in | Mrs. Walters, how’re you doing?

    • [ with obj. and complement ] have a specified effect on: the walk will do me good.

    • [ with obj. ] result in: the years of stagnation did a lot of harm to the younger generation.

    4  be suitable or acceptable: if he’s anything like you, he’ll do | [ with obj. ] : a couple of bucks’ll do me.

    Do the Auxiliary

    Do the auxiliary is used for questions and negatives.


    1 form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; construct; create: my grandmother made a dress for me | the body is made from four pieces of maple | baseball bats are made of ash.

    • (make something into) alter something so that it forms or constitutes (something else): buffalo’s milk can be made into cheese.

    • compose, prepare, or draw up (something written or abstract): she made her will.

    • prepare (a dish, drink, or meal) for consumption: she was making lunch for Lucy and Francis | [ with two objs. ] : I’ll make us both a cup of tea.

    • arrange bedclothes tidily on (a bed) ready for use.

    • arrange and light materials for (a fire).

    Electronics complete or close (a circuit).

    2 cause (something) to exist or come about; bring about: the drips had made a pool on the floor.

    • [ with obj. and complement or infinitive ] cause to become or seem: decorative features make brickwork more interesting | the best way to disarm your critics is to make them laugh.

    • carry out, perform, or produce (a specified action, movement, or sound): Unger made a speech of forty minutes | anyone can make a mistake | we made a deal.

    • communicate or express (an idea, request, or requirement): I tend to make heavy demands on people | [ with two objs. ] : make him an offer he can’t refuse.

    • [ with obj. and complement ] appoint or designate (someone) to a position: he was made a colonel in the Mexican army.

    • [ with obj. and complement ] represent or cause to appear in a specified way: the sale price and extended warranty make it an excellent value.

    • cause or ensure the success or advancement of: the work which really made Wordsworth’s reputation.

    3 [ with obj. and infinitive ] compel (someone) to do something: she bought me a brandy and made me drink it.

    4 constitute; amount to: they made an unusual duo.

    • serve as or become through development or adaptation: this fern makes a good houseplant.

    • consider to be; estimate as: How many are there? I make it sixteen.

    • agree or decide on (a specified arrangement), typically one concerning a time or place: let’s make it 7:30.

    5 gain or earn (money or profit): he’d made a lot of money out of hardware.

    6 arrive at (a place) within a specified time or in time for (a train or other transport): we’ve got a lot to do if you’re going to make the shuttle | they didn’t always make it on time.

    • (make it) succeed in something; become successful: he waited confidently for his band to make it.

    • achieve a place in: these dogs seldom make the news | they made it to the semifinals.

    • achieve the rank of: he wasn’t going to make captain.

    Day 2

    The Rules

    Ok. So now you can learn about the rules of “make” or “do.” I’m going to give you a warning….first you need to learn the rules or more precisely tips about the two verbs. Day 3 will consist of learning and memorizing the most common exceptions to the rules. I know! So frustrating, but keep with it. Here are a few hints/tips/rules that I give to my students to help them know the difference.

    Tip 1.

    Do with our head….Make with our hands

    Do homework, do math, do calculations,

    make a cake, make a dress, make the bed, make love;)

    Tip 2.

    Same letter

    Do the dishes…make money

    Tip 3.

    When ‘do’ or ‘make’ are used as main verbs it can be confusing to ESL learners. The verb ‘make’goes with some words and the verb ‘do’ with other words.

    We use the verb ‘do’ when someone performs an action, activity or task.

    do a crossword
    do the ironing
    do the laundry
    do the washing
    do the washing up
    ‘Do’ is often used when referring to work of any kind.

    do your work
    do homework
    do housework
    do your job
    !Note – these activities do not usually produce a physical object.

    ‘Do’ for General Ideas

    Use the verb ‘do’ when speaking about things in general. In other words, to describe an action without saying exactly what the action is. This form is often used with the words ‘something, nothing, anything, everything, etc.’

    I’m not doing anything today.
    He does everything for his mother.
    She’s doing nothing.

    Important Expressions with ‘Do’

    There are a number of standard expressions that take the verb ‘do’. The best solution is to try to learn them.

    do badly
    do business
    do the dishes
    do a favour
    do good
    do harm
    do time – (to go to prison)
    do well
    do your best
    do your hair
    do your nails
    do your worst
    We use the verb ‘make’ for constructing, building or creating

    make a dress
    make food
    make a cup of tea / coffee
    ‘Make’ is often used when referring to preparing food of any kind.

    make a meal – breakfast / lunch / dinner
    !Note – these activities usually create something that you can touch.

    Important Expressions with ‘Make’

    There are a number of standard expressions that take the verb ‘make’. The best solution is to try to learn them.

    make amends
    make arrangements
    make believe – (to pretend)
    make a choice
    make a comment
    make a decision
    make a difference
    make an effort
    make an enquiry
    make an excuse
    make a fool of yourself
    make a fortune
    make friends
    make a fuss
    make a journey
    make love
    make a mess
    make a mistake
    make money
    make a move
    make a noise
    make a payment
    make a phone call
    make a plan
    make a point
    make a profit
    make a promise
    make a remark
    make a sound
    make a speech
    make a suggestion
    make time
    make a visit
    make your bed – (to prepare the bed for sleeping in)



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