“Make” vs “Do” – Part 1

The use of verbs “Make” and “Do” sound so natural and easy for native English speakers. However, “Make” and “Do” can be confusing in some languages such as Portuguese and Spanish. Sometimes “Make” and “Do” have the same meaning, they both mean “fazer” in Portuguese and “hacer” in Spanish.

I found several definitions that explain when to use “Make” or “Do” as main verbs in a sentence. Some words go after “Make” and others after “Do“. See below my conclusions and the list of some words with “Make” or “Do“.

Examples of expressions with “Make

Make – used to create, construct or produce something new.

1. Food, drink and meal:

  • make breakfast
  • make a sandwich
  • make cookies
  • make bread
  • make ice-cream
  • make a cup of coffee

2. Speaking and sounds:

  • make a noise
  • make a sound
  • make a phone call
  • make a call
  • make a speech
  • make a campaign
  • make a comment
  • make a confession
  • make a remark
  • make a request
  • make a joke
  • make a comedy
  • make a show
  • make a suggestion
  • make a statement
  • make an enquiry
  • make an announcement

3. Money (to earn money)

  • make money
  • make a fortune

4. Plans and decisions

  • make a plan
  • make a decision
  • make a choice
  • make an arrangement
  • make an agreement
  • make up (one’s) mind (= make a decision)

* one’s = my, your, her, his, our or their

5. Produce a reaction

  • make (someone) smile
  • make (someone) happy
  • make (someone) cry
  • make (someone) sleepy
  • make (someone) rich
  • make (one’s) eyes water

* someone = me, you, her, him, us or them

6. Product material/ origin

  • made of leather
  • made in Japan
  • made by me
  • made from milk
  • made from apple

7. Ability

  • make a dress
  • make a scrapbook
  • make a composition
  • make a film
  • make a video
  • make toys
  • make furniture


More expressions with “Make

The following words are generally used with “Make“:

  • make love
  • make war
  • make peace
  • make a wish
  • make a friend
  • make a visit
  • make yourself at home
  • make a journey
  • make a trip
  • make a reservation
  • make a move
  • make room
  • make a scene
  • make time
  • make a date
  • make a line
  • make a list
  • make a bet
  • make a discovery
  • make an effort
  • make an application
  • make sense
  • make clear
  • make a connection
  • make a demand
  • make possible
  • make a difference
  • make famous
  • make a change
  • make a backup
  • make alterations
  • make advances
  • make progress (= make way)
  • make a living
  • make sales
  • make a profit
  • make a payment
  • make a deal
  • make an offer
  • make a prediction
  • make a promise
  • make a point
  • make sure
  • make a loss
  • make an escape
  • make an emergency landing
  • make a mistake
  • make an error
  • make an excuse = make up an excuse
  • make it up to
  • make amends for one’s behaviour
  • make trouble
  • make believe (to pretend)
  • make a complaint
  • make an exception
  • make a guess
  • make an attempt
  • make an appointment
  • make an observation
  • make an impression
  • make a lasting impression (on someone)
  • make fun of someone
  • make a fool of someone
  • make a face
  • make a mess
  • make a fuss


If you want to see the expressions with “Do”, click  on “Make” vs “Do” – Part 2.

I found these two interesting websites about “Make” vs “Do“: http://www.vocabulary.cl/Intermediate/Do_Make.htm and http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv2.shtml

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