Make / Do

➣En español sólo hay un verbo hacer, por lo que suele ser un enigma cuándo utilizar uno u otro. Let’s try.

We use ‘make’ when we create or construct something. For example:

She made a vegan birthday cake.
Then she made us some coffee.
Did she really make these napkins too?

Recipe Vegan Birthday Cake

We use ‘do’ for general activities. ‘Do‘ is often used with ‘something’, ‘nothing’, ‘anything’ or ‘everything’:

  • I didn’t do anything special.
  • She cannot do everything herself. She needs some help.
  • Are you doing anything interesting during the holidays?
  • What did you do at the weekend?
    • BUT ••• ➼ What do you do? What’s your job/profession?

Expressions with make and do

➣ But they don’t follow any rules, so you have to learn them by heart.


30 mph (miles per hour)Drivers do more than 30 mph near the school. It’s very dangerous.
badlyShe did very badly, so she’ll have to retake the test.
your bestDon’t worry about the test. Just do your best.
businessIt’s been a pleasure doing business with you.
choresI have to go home and do some chores.
a courseJohn has decided to do a course in computing this autumn.
a crosswordShe sat on the sofa, doing a crossword.
damageThe storm has done a lot of damage to the house.
the dishes / the washing upI really hate doing the dishes. I must buy a dishwasher.
a drawingAlba spent hours doing a drawing.
your dutyEngland expects that every man will do his duty.
an examI have to do an exam and write an essay this week.
exerciseJuan likes doing exercise, especially running.
an exerciseThe teacher made us do a lot of grammar exercises.
someone a favourMy friend did me a huge favour taking care of the cats.
the gardeningWe often spend Sundays doing gardening.
goodShe helps stray dogs trying to do good.
you goodYou should eat more veggies. They’ll do you good!
your hairHe spends ages doing his hair!
harmI spilt coffee and tried to wipe it, but I did more harm than good.
homeworkHave you finished doing your homework?
houseworkLet’s do the housework quickly, then we can go out.
the ironingLuis does the ironing while he listens to the radio.
a jobI think the activists did a great job with the fur farms.
the laundry / the washingHe did the laundry and hung the clothes out. 
your nailsDo you do your nails?
a paintingThere was an old man sitting on the bank of the river, doing a painting.
paperworkDoes everybody hate doing paperwork?
researchI’m doing some research for my thesis at the moment.
the shoppingI’ll do the shopping tomorrow. We need oat milk, fruit and rice.
time (= be in prison)The robbers broke into a bank, were caught by the police, and now they are doing time.
wellMy sister is doing well in her new job.
workI have to do a lot of work this weekend.
your worstWe must not let him do his worst. He has been reported for  animal abuse.


amendsI’m so sorry that I upset you. How can I make amends?
an appointmentShe had toothache, so she made an appointment with the dentist for the following day.
arrangementsAs we’re going on holiday soon, let’s make some arrangements. I’ll find a hotel, and you can look at flights.
an attemptWe might not save the kitten, but let’s at least make an attempt to take him to the vet.
believeThe children’s favourite game is to make believe that they are the Ogre and the Donkey from Shrek.
certainI think it opens at six, but let’s make certain.
a changeI’ve made some changes to the document.
a choiceWhich one are you going to buy? You need to make a choice.
a commentMy son made a comment about my flip flops.
a complaintThe medical attention was so bad that we made a complaint to the hospital.
a confessionI’d like to make a confession. I used to eat animals.
a dateLet’s make a date to have a meal.
a decisionI’ve made a decision. I’m going to go vegan.
a differenceGoing vegan has really made a difference to how I feel.
a discoveryAlba made a discovery. Vegan food is awesome!
an effortYou’re not trying hard enough! Make an effort!
an errorHe made several errors on the essay, and the teacher told him to rewrite it.
your escapeThe bank robbers were able to make their escape.
an exceptionThe stray cat is not allowed inside the house but I made an exception because it is freezing.
an excuseWhy was Alba late? Did she make an excuse?
a faceThe child bit into the lemon and made a face.
a fireWe put up our tent, made a fire, and had a sandwich.
a fool of yourselfYou shouldn’t say those silly things in public! You’ll make a fool of yourself.
a fortuneLorna made a fortune when she sold her company. Now she doesn’t have to work.
friendsShe made lots of friends at college.
fun ofPeople shouldn’t make fun of imprisoned animals. It is cruel and disgusting.
a fussI’m fine, it’s just a cough. Don’t make a fuss!
an impressionYou certainly made an impression last night! All my friends are asking about you.
a jokeIt was a tense situation at the beginning, but then Juan made a joke, and after that it was much more relaxed.
a journeyBecause of the snow, try not to make any journeys which are not absolutely essential.
a listFirst, I must make a list of all the things I have to do.
a lossTheir business made a loss the first year, but did much better after that.
loveWe used to make love practically every day.
a messWhat a mess you’ve made! Clean it up!
a mistakeShe made a huge mistake and now she regrets it.
moneyJohn made a lot of money and was able to retire at 55.
a moveLook how late it is! Let’s make a move.
a noisePlease try not to make a noise when you come home.
an observationMay I make an observation? I don’t think you should eat foie gras.
an offerShe made an offer on a house. She’ll find out today if it has been accepted.
a paymentI’d like to make a credit card payment, please.
a phone callI’m going outside to make a phone call. It’s too noisy in here.
plansJuan is making plans to move to Canada.
a pointThe activist used lots of examples to make his point.
a predictionThe journalist made a prediction about the economy, but in the end it wasn’t correct.
a profitHis business made a profit from the beginning.
progress The country has made significant progress in animal rights.
a promiseI made a promise to myself that I would never hurt any creature.
a remarkJuan was in trouble because he made a negative remark about his police corporal.
a reservationCould you call the restaurant and make a reservation for tonight?
a sceneHe made a scene in the school. He shouted at all the staff and demanded to speak to the principal.
a soundDon’t make a sound! We need to be completely quiet.
a speechHe made an emotive speech at her funeral.
a suggestionCan I make a suggestion? How about the vegan burger?
sureI don’t think I left the gate open, but I’m going to make sure.
the bedI never make the bed. I just stretch the duvet.
time (=find time to do something)You have to make time to get a diploma or you will never get the job.
troubleThe headmistress in our school always makes trouble. She is always slandering and maligning.
a visitI need to make a visit to that dog pound.
your mind upWhat do you want? Make your mind up quickly!
your wayAfter work, I make my way to the animal shelter.

And click here for ‘make’ or ‘do’ exercise 1.

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