Make a cake...or do a cake?

I made a cake, so now I need to do some exercise because I ate it all!

So English strikes again. In both Spanish and Italian, and probably every other language on Earth, there is only one verb for both English verbs do and make. This of course makes it very difficult for you to understand when to use which, so I'm going to help you out and give you a pretty little chart to help you out a bit. So, let's do it!

 

Make vs. Do

Logically, these two verbs are different, here's an explanation that will help you most of the time, and the chart below will help you when English isn't so logical (so 99% of the time).

  • To make: to create something from nothing

  • To do: to carry out an action

Essentially, when we use the verb to make, we mean to create something. Now that works when we say things like: make a cake, make some coffee, make dinner, but it doesn't make any sense when we say make the bed...I don't need to create the bed, I just need to put the blankets on it and make it look nice.


The same goes for the verb to do. Generally we use do when we talk about doing an action. For example, do yoga, do homework, do the laundry. It makes less logical sense however when we say, do a favor or do business.


So, for all the random abstract words that don't fall into these categories, here's a handy dandy chart to help you out. There's also a PDF that you can download at the end of this post with more detailed explanations if you so desire.

​To make

To do

  • an appointment

  • breakfast, lunch, dinner

  • a change

  • a choice, decision

  • a complaint

  • a difference

  • an effort

  • an exception

  • an excuse

  • a fortune, money

  • friends

  • love

  • a mess, a mistake

  • a noise, a sound

  • a phone call

  • plans

  • progress

  • the bed

  • a wish

  • badly, well

  • [your] best, worst

  • business

  • a course, an exam

  • damage, harm

  • the dishes, the washing up

  • exercise

  • a favor

  • good

  • [your] hair, make up

  • homework, housework

  • a job

  • the laundry

  • research

  • [something] right, wrong

  • something, anything, nothing

  • the shopping

  • sport

  • work


 

So that's all folks, if you want more information or more detailed examples, go ahead and download this free PDF. Be a good student and do your homework! And if you're still confused, why not make an appointment to have a lesson with me?!



Make vs. do
.pdf
Download PDF • 186KB

 

Glossary

  • let's do it: informal for - let's begin, let's go

  • do the laundry: to wash clothes

  • handy dandy: convenient

  • do the shopping: to buy food


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