Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

March 23, 2009

Make or Do – an English language bugbear!

I’m starting my first post with the thorny problem of using the verbs ‘make’ and ‘do’ which can be tricky. It is difficult to know which to use and many students end up plumping for the wrong one!

Make and Do

Two of the most tyrannical words in English – how do you know which to use!!!


Make – to bring into existence/produce i.e. where it hadn’t existed before

    • a request
    • money.
    • a mistake
    • an appointment
    • a trip
    • a choice
    • a decision
    • changes
    • a forecast
    • sure
    • a phone call
    • an offer
    • a complaint
    • progress
    • an excuse


Do – perform an action

    • homework
    • well
    • repairs
    • harm
    • a job
    • a deal
    • wrong
    • something for someone
    • research
    • a favour
    • an exercise
    • some work
    • business
    • an experiment
    • badly

Visualise your choice of make or do and assess it against the guidelines above. It won’t always be foolproof but it should help you with your choice.

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