The Difference between DO and MAKE (Detailed Explanation) |English Tips

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Helena Daily English
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The Difference between DO and 

  • We use “DO” when someone performs actions, repetitive tasks and obligations.

In other words, “DO” is often used when referring to work of any kind and referring to the action itself.

  • We use “MAKE” for creating or producing something, and for actions you choose to do..

In other words, “MAKE” is often used when referring to the result.

When do you use DO?

DO is used as follows:

DO is used when talking about work, jobs or tasks. Note, they do not produce any physical object.


  • Have you done your homework?
  • I have guests visiting tonight so I should start doing the housework now.
  • I wouldn’t like to do that job.

DO is used when we refer to activities in general without being specific. In these cases, we normally use words like thing, something, nothing, anything, everything etc.


  • Hurry up! I’ve got things to do!
  • Don’t just stand there – do something!
  • Is there anything I can do to help you?

We sometimes use DO to replace a verb when the meaning is clear or obvious. This is more common in informal spoken English:


  • Do I need to do my hair? (do = brush or comb)
  • Have you done the dishes yet? (done = washed)
  • I’ll do the kitchen if you do the lawns (do = clean, do = mow)

How to Speak English Fluently like American Speakers in 1 Month – Part 1,2

When do you use MAKE?

Make is for producing, constructing, creating or building something new.

It is also used to indicate the origin of a product or the materials that are used to make something.


  • His wedding ring is made of gold.
  • The house was made of adobe.
  • Wine is made from grapes.
  • The watches were made in Switzerland

We also use Make for producing an action or reaction:


  • Onions make your eyes water.
  • You make me happy.
  • It’s not my fault. My brother made me do it!

You make before certain nouns about plans and decisions:


  • He has made arrangements to finish work early.
  • They’re making plans for the weekend.
  • You need to make a decision right now.

We use Make with nouns about speaking and certain sounds:


  • She made a nice comment about my dress.
  • The baby is asleep so don’t make any noise.
  • Can I use your phone to make a call?
  • Don’t make a promise that you cannot keep.

We use Make with Food, Drink and Meals:

  • made a cake for her birthday.
  • She made a cup of tea.
  • I must go now. I have to make dinner.

Compare Do and Make

A: You have to make a cake for Simon.

B: I’ll do it later.

Notice how in the response the verb DO is used. This is because the meaning is clear and to avoid saying “I’ll make it later.” which could sound repetitive.


Do Make

Do the housework

Do laundry

Do your chores

Do the washing up (UK)

Do the shopping



Do homework

Do an assignment

Do a report

Do a test (UK)

Do a project

Do a course (UK)


Taking care of your body

Do exercise

Do gymnastics

Do your makeup

Do your hair

Do your nails


Do non-specific activities

Do a favour (UK) / Do a favor (US)

Do badly

Do harm

Do damage

Do your best

Do a good job

Do well



Make the bed

Make room


Food, Drink and Meals

Make a cake

Make breakfast

Make dinner

Make a cup of tea



Make a noise

Make a comment

Make a joke

Make a point

Make arrangements

Make a speech

Make a suggestion

Make a complaint

Make a confession

Make a prediction


Relationships/ Reaction

Make your eyes water

Make you happy

Make you sleep

Make you smile

Make friends

Make love

Make up



Make a contract

Make progress

Make a choice

Make a plan

Make a decision

Make an attempt/ effort

Make up your mind



Make money

Make a profit

Make a fortune

Product Material

Made of gold/silver

Made from oranges/lemons

Made in Japan/China

Made by me



Make believe

Make sense

Make changes

Make sure

Make trouble


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