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martes, 26 de julio de 2011

Similar but not the same: Make y Do

Those two verbs are very similar and sometimes it´s diFFicult to know wich is the correct one in a sentence. The best thing to do with this two is to learn the whole expreSSion as they usually go always together. That phenomena is called collocation.

Collocation: Some words in English need each other like best friends.
For example: I made a cup of tea. The verb 'make' and 'cup of tea' need each other to be correct. Using another verb such as 'do' would be incorrect. These words that go together are called collocations. There are strong collocations and weaker collocations, but it's a good idea to learn these words together as you´ll never find it separated and if you use another verb or preposition in that expreSSion, that will be incorrect.


-We use the verb 'do' when someone performs an action, activity or task.

do the ironing/ the laundry/ the washing up/ do the dishes/...

-'Do' is often used when referring to work of any kind.

do your work/ your job
do homework/ housework
do business

(Always activities that do not produce a physical object!).

-For general ideas: when speaking about things in general. To describe an action without saying exactly what the action is. That´s why is often used with the words 'something, nothing, anything, everything,…

I'm not doing anything today.
He does everything for his mother.
She's doing nothing.

-Expressions with 'Do': standard expressions that goes always with 'do'. 

do a favour
do good/ do something badly/ do well/ do your best!
do harm (hacer daño)
do time (to go to prison)
do your hair/ nails


You use make for activities that create something physical, that you can touch!

-For constructing, building or creating.

make a dress
make food
make a cup of tea / coffee

-'Make' is often used when referring to preparing food of any kind.

make a meal/ breakfast / lunch / dinner

-Expressions with 'Make'.

make amends (enmendar).
make arrangements (planes, acuerdos)/ an agreement (acuerdo)
make a plan
make believe (to pretend)
make a choice/ a deciSion/ a promise/ a comment/ a remark (comentario, observación)/ a suGGestion/ a speech

make a difference
make an effort/ a progreSS
make an enquiry

make an excuse/ an exception
make friends/contacts
make a fuss (make a mess: montar un lío)
make a journey/ a trip
make love

make a mistake
make an oFFer/ money/ a fortune/ a profit
make a move / a noise/ a sound
make a phone call/ a visit
make an attempt (intento)/ a complaint (queja)
make use of something
make sure (asegurarse)
make a living of something (ganarse la vida)

i.e: Remember Jack? He used to make all sort of paints. Well, it happens that (resulta que) he has make a living of that. He lives in Paris now, he´s made a fortune.

make it (hacer algo, conseguir algo)

i.e: He thought he wouldn´t be able to pass that exam but he made it!

3 comentarios:

  1. You must know the diference between "make friends" and "do friends" if you don't want to have any problems. "do friends" means sexual things and you should be careful when and where you use this expression.