Do or Make

Do or Make

By Alena Lien, 

9 April 2020

"Do" and "make" are verbs that are often used to talk about activities.

"Do" means to perform an action or a particular task.

"Make" means to form or create something.



As mentioned earlier, "do" means to perform an action or a particular task. The emphasis here is the process or action of an activity.

Below are common collocations with "do."

"Do" + general activities


  • things

  • something

  • nothing

  • anything

  • everything

  • "Did you do anything over the weekend? 'Cause I did absolutely nothing!"

"Do" + housework


  • the laundry

  • the dishes

  • the shopping

An exception is "make the bed."

  • "What kind of chores do you usually do at home?"

  • "I try to do the dishes after every meal. I usually do the laundry on weekends."

"Do" + work/study


  • a job

  • business

  • a project

  • homework

  • a course

  • a test or exam

  • some reading or writing

  • "I did some homework yesterday, but I still have to do some more reading for class tomorrow."

"Do" + body


  • exercise

  • yoga

  • your hair

  • your makeup

  • "I try to do some yoga in the morning before I get ready for work. Doing my makeup doesn't take long and my hair is short, so I don't usually do anything to my hair.

"Do" + good/bad actions


  • your best

  • badly

  • the right thing

  • good

  • "I don't really want to do badly but I also need a lot of motivation to do my best."

Related expressions with "do"

"Do (someone) a favour" - to perform a helpful service to someone.

  • "Can you do me a favour?"

"Do (someone) good" - to benefit or have a positive effect on someone.

  • "Taking a day off will do you some good."


"Make" means to form or create something. The emphasis here is the result or outcome of an activity.

Below are common collocations and expressions with "make."

"Make" + food


  • breakfast, lunch or dinner

  • tea or coffee

  • a reservation

  • "I made a reservation for dinner today. I'm running out of ideas for what to make for dinner all the time."

"Make" + action/reaction


  • (someone) do it

  • (someone) happy, cry, frown, angry etc.

  • "She makes me really angry whenever she makes me do her job."

"Make" + money


  • money or [specific amount]

  • a loss, profit or fortune

  • a living

"Make a living" - to earn enough to support oneself financially.

  • "Making a living isn't just about money, it's also about managing responsibilities."

"Make" + relationships


  • friends

  • up

  • love

  • babies

"Make up" (phrasal verb) - to reconcile after an argument.

  • "They usually make up after a fight, but their last argument was quite serious."

"Make love" - to have sex.

"Make babies" - to have sex but with the goal of creating a baby.

  • "Don't just make babies, make love."

"Make" + communiation


  • a phone call

  • a suggestion, comment or complaint

  • "It is often more constructive to make a suggestion than to make a complaint."

"Make" + plans/decisions


  • arrangements

  • an offer or a promise

  • an exception

  • up your mind

"Make up your mind" - to make a decision.

  • "Don't just make empty promises and useless arrangements. Make up your mind!"

"Make" + progress/mistakes


  • an error

  • an excuse

  • an attempt or effort

  • sure

  • a change or changes

  • a difference

"Make sure" (phrasal verb) -  to check or confirm.

"Make a change or changes" - to change something in specific ways.

"Make a difference" - to have a significant effect on a person or situation.

  • "I want you to make sure that the appropriate changes are made to the draft."

  • "Don't make excuses, at least make an effort!"

"Make" + sound


  • a sound or noise

  • music

  • "Don't make a sound! She's sleeping!"

Related expressions with "make"

"Make sense" (phrasal verb) - something is understandable or reasonable.

"Make a habit of something" - to do something regularly that it becomes a habit.

  • "It makes sense to make a habit of something that will do you some good."