In this lesson we’re looking at using the verbs MAKE and DO in English.

There is lots of confusion between MAKE and DO in English, let’s look at how to use both of these verbs with objects, phrasal verbs, and expressions.

Have fun with the lesson, and don’t forget to try the quizzes.

– James.

Lesson Contents

MAKE or DO?

The verbs MAKE and DO are very similar in English, but they are not the same. Generally speaking, MAKE means create something and DO means complete something, there are lots of examples that do not follow this rule, however.

MAKE

DO

a good impression

business

arrangements

research

a decision

your best

a difference

a good job

a profit / loss

a degree

a start / a move

somebody a favour

something clear

something nice

an effort

an online course

Choose either MAKE or DO to complete the sentences.

Phrasal verbs with MAKE and DO

As well as being regular verbs, MAKE and DO are also common in phrasal verbs.

  • UP

Make something up 
create something imaginary 

make up for something 
apologise by doing something nice

Do something up 
renovate

  • OFF WITH

Make off with something 
escape with something

X

  • AWAY WITH

X

do away with somebody / something 
fire / evict / destroy

  • WITHOUT

X

do without somebody / something 
continue despite not having somebody / something

  • OUT

Make something out 
see something that is unclear

X

  • OUT WITH

Make out with somebody 
kiss somebody

X

Read the sentences that use phrasal verbs, and complete them with either MAKE or DO.

Expressions with MAKE and DO

There are also plenty of expressions that use MAKE and DO.

My Japanese is ok, I can make myself understood
It’s enough for basic communication

My cousin’s starring in a film next year! She’s really made the big time
She’s become famous

I won €20 on the lottery, it really made my day
Made me happy for the day

Do you need to borrow €10? – Yes, €10 will do fine
It’s enough

There’s so much traffic, I don’t think we’ll make it on time. 
Arrive somewhere

What do you do
What is your job?

That does it! I’ve had enough
That’s the last straw!

Match the halves of the sentences that use MAKE or DO in expressions.

All Quizzes