The difference between MAKE and DO: Learn English Grammar

Make or do?

Make and do can be a problem for many students because there are not specific rules that helps us decide which to use in every situtation.  Most of the time we have to just learn when to use make and when to use do.  However, there are some rules that might help you learn some of the expressions… Test yourself at the end with our Quick Quiz on make/do.

Make and do: MAKE

1: Used to describe something that we can create or produce

The table is made of wood.

The toys were made in China.

Wine is made from grapes.

He wants a wedding ring made of platinum not gold.


2: Used to describe food/drinks

Make breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, tea, coffee, a cake, a sandwich, a salad, a roast dinner etc.

I don’t feel like making dinner tonight.  Shall we eat out?

I’m going to make a cup of tea. Would you like one?

I don’t normally make breakfast for the family now.  The kids are old enough to make their own.

I’ve bought some rum. I thought we could make some cocktails for the party.

3: Used to describe sounds/noises/verbal language

Make a speech, noise, comment, sound, comment, promise, suggestion,


I’ve got to make a speech next week about the history of Linguistics.

Shhh, don’t make a noise. The baby is asleep.

He told the journalist he didn’t want to make a comment on the situation.


4: Used to describe reactions

Make someone cry, laugh, smile, happy, sad, angry etc

Make someone’s eyes water

Make someone feel happy, sad, etc


I love that comedian. He always makes me laugh.

Thank you for the wonderful gift. You’ve made me so happy.

His behaviour at the party last night made everyone really angry.


Other words that go with ‘make’

a bet

a call

a change

a choice

a complaint

a connection

a date

a decision

a demand

a difference

a discovery

a face (also ‘pull a face’ = to change your facial features to look different usually to show emotion)

a fool of yourself

a fortune

a friend

a fuss (to be unhappy or angry about something and complain)

a joke

a list

a living (to earn enough money to survive)

a loss

a mess

a mistake

a pass at someone (to show someone sexual/romantic interest)

a plan

a point

a prediction

a profit

a reservation

a scene (to show anger/emotions that make other people uncomfortable)


an appointment

an announcement

an attempt

an effort

an error

an escape

an exception

an excuse

an impression

an observation

an offer

amends (to do something good to show that you are sorry about something you have done)





fun of someone









someone rich


your bed (tidy your bed after you get up in the morning)

your mind up


Make and Do: DO

1: Used to describe work and tasks etc

Do the housework

Do homework

Do research

Do an exam

Do a report

Do the cleaning


I’m going to bed. I’ve got to do two exams tomorrow and I need a good nights’ sleep.

I like to do my housework on a Friday so I can relax at the weekend.

Have you done that report on the sales figures?


2: Use ‘do’ to describe activities in general

I have a lot to do today so I can’t stop to chat.

What can I do to help?

What are you doing this weekend?


3: We sometimes replace a verb with ‘do’ if the meaning is clear.

I’m going to do the dinner (instead of ‘cook the dinner’)

Have you done the living room? (instead of ‘cleaned the living room’)

I’m nearly ready. I just need to do my hair. (could mean wash, dry or brush)

Other words that go with ‘do’.

a course

a crossword

a dance

a drawing

a favor / favour

a job

a painting

a project

a service

an assignment












right (the right thing)


the gardening

the ironing

the dishes

the rest

the shopping

the washing




your best

your hair

your homework

your job

your nails

your work

Thank you for reading the article ‘make and do’, why not try a quick quiz…




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