Difference Between Do and Make

Sometimes learners have problems figuring out when to use “Do” and when to use “Make” since they have similar meanings.

At least in Spanish, Make and do means “hacer” so teachers have to explain when to use one or the other.

I am making dinnerEstoy haciendo la cena
I am doing exercisesEstoy haciendo ejercicio

I know learning the difference will take some time so continue reading so you can understand when to use do and make.

How to use the Verb Do

Do is an irregular verb. Its three forms are do, did, done. The present simple third person singular is does.

These are some of the ways to use do in sentences:

Do to talk about jobs, work, and tasks

  1. Did you do the homework?
  2. Will you do a job for me?
  3. He usually does his homework in front of the television.
  4.  Have you done your essay yet?

Do is used to talk about general activities without being specific

  1. I’ve got things to do
  2. You have to do something about it
  3. What can I do for you?

Do replaces a verb when the meaning is clear

  1. I am going to do the dishes
  2. He is in charge of doing the laundry
  3. Are you going to do your hair?

How to use Make

  1. We use make to talk about food, meal, and drinks
    • I  already made a cake
    • I am gonna make some coffee
    • I am sorry but I have to make some dinner
  1. We use make to talk about producing a reaction
    • She is making me angry
    • You make me so happy
    • That makes me so mad

Difference Between Do vs Make in English

This is an explanation that explains the Difference between Make and Do

Sentences with Do

These are some common sentences with do

Do Example
Do businessI am doing business with you
Do the cleaningI am gonna do the cleaning for you
Do the cookingI am doing the cooking tonight
DO damagesShe did some damage to the car
Do exercises Why don’t you do the exercises?
Do a favorCan you do me a favor?
Do the HomeworkHe is doing his homework
Do Your  JobPlease, do your job
Do The LaundryI haven’t done the laundry
Do the shoppingI am gonna do the shopping
Do your BestPlease, do your best at the game tonight
Do a researchI am doing a university research
Do nothing She is doing nothing out there
Do the dishesYou have to do the dishes, it is your turn
Do my hairI have to do my hair, I will be ready in 15 minutes
Do Justice This doesn’t do justice to all the efforts she made
Do harmI promise that I won’t do you any harm
Do wrongI think that she won’t do anything wrong
Do a courseLinda has decided to do a course in computing
Do the gardeningI spend Sunday afternoons doing gardening.
Do the ironingMy mother watches TV while she does the ironing.
Do paperworkI hate doing all this paperwork for my boss

Sentences with Make 

These are the most common sentences with make

Make Example
Make breakfastI am making breakfast for you 
Make an observationShe is going to make some observations about your class
Make predictionsI don’t want to make predictions about the game
Make a messThe kid made a mess in the kitchen
Make an appointmentI am gonna make an appointment for you
Make an exception We are going to make an exception for you
Make a discoveryShe made a very important discovery about her past.
Make a PointThey made some good points during the meeting
Make a saladShe has to make a salad for the birthday party
Make a reservationI just made a reservation
Make MoneyHe needs to make some money
Make friendsStart making friends
Make  a phone callShe needs to make a phone call before 12 PM
Make a confessionThey have to make a confession if they want to be found innocent
Make excusesDon’t make more excuses for your destructive behavior
Make your bedYou have to make your bed before you go to school
Make plansWe are making plans for the next year
Make progressWe are making progress
Make a list I have to make  a grocery list before I go to the supermarket
Make a differenceShe made a difference in her life
Make sureMake sure you don’t get in trouble
Make loveThey made love the first time they met
Make a fortuneShe made a fortune creating apps for android
Make a JokeShe made an inappropriate Joke at the meeting
Make funShe was making fun of me when I saw her earlier this morning
Make CommentsI am gonna make some comments about the play
Make peaceWe have to make peace if we want to work together
Make time You have to make time for your family when you get home
Make a choice You have to make a choice before the weekends
Make a Payment I’d like to make a credit card payment
Make Someone SmileShe always makes me smile

Do vs Make: Conversation Questions

These are some examples of Make and Do conversation questions:

  • What is the most important choice that you have made in your life?
  • Do you usually make time for your friends and family?
  • How much money do you want to make?
  • Do you usually do the dishes?
  • Do you usually do the laundry? Who does the laundry at home?
  • Who does the cooking at home?
  • Who does the cleaning at home?
  • Who is that person that can make you smile?
  • Do you make friends easily?
  • Who does the ironing at home?
  • Do you make breakfast for yourself?
  • What’s the biggest mistake that you have made?

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English