Make or do? grammar lesson

Make or do in English? 




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

Do in English

Do can be either a main verb or an auxiliary verb (to indicate the tense or appearance of another verb).

The verb DO

We use DO to talk about work, tasks, professions:

  • What are you doing
  • I always do the gardening. 
  • Have you done your homework?
  • I’m doing the housework now. 
  • He did a good job.

DO is used to talk about non-specific activities, with words like thing, something, nothing, nothing, anything, everything etc….

  • I’ve got a lot of things to do.
  • Do something! 
  • Is there anything I can do to help you? 
  • I did nothing! 

DO is sometimes used to replace a verb when the meaning is obvious (more often orally):

  • I need to do my hair.
  • I’ll do the dishes.

Do is sometimes used as the verb “to go” :

  • How are you doing
  • I’m doing well, thank you.
  • That will do!

Do + without means ‘to manage without having something’ :

  • I can’t do without my phone.

Do as an auxiliary verb

Do can also be an auxiliary verb for making negative questions or sentences in the present tense (with do or does) or in the preterite (with did) :

  • What time does the train leave? 
  • He doesn’t like soccer. 
  • Do you speak english? 
  • I don’t know. 
  • What did she do? 
  • She didn’t like the movie. 

Do helps to reinforce an affirmation:

  • I do know her. 

Do allows you to make a short answer with Yes or No (less direct than if you only put Yes or No) :

  • Do you like soccer? Yes, I do.
  • Do you like tennis? No, I don’t.

At the end of the sentence, so as not to repeat the verb that has just been used :

  • ‘I love cooking.’  ‘So do I.’ 

Make in English

The verb Make also means to do, more in the sense of “to manufacture” : it is mainly used for the creation, construction, manufacture or production of something new:

  • make a fire 
  • make a mistake 
  • make money 
  • make a phone call 

Make is used to indicate the origin of a product or the material that is used to make something:

  • This wall is made of concrete.
  • This watch is made in China.
  • Wine is made from grapes.

We also use Make to talk about a reaction : 

  • You make me happy.
  • This music makes me sleepy.
  • She made me do it! 
  • It makes me smile.

We use make to talk about preparations and decisions :

  • He made the arrangements.
  • I have to make a decision.
  • Blue or red? You must make a choice! 
  • We are making a plan for the holidays.

Make is used with sound or sound names :

  • make a comment 
  • make a noise 
  • make a suggestion 
  • make a speech 

We use make to talk about cooking and eating :

  • make a cake 
  • make breakfast / make lunch 
  • make some coffee 
  • Tom makes his own bread 



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