To Do and To Make definitions

Two of the most commonly used and confusing verbs in English are 'To Do' and 'To Make'. Many languages only use one verb for both. In their basic meaning, they are very easy to use correctly. But, like everything in English, there are a lot of exceptions, where we use the opposite to what would make sense.

In this online exercise, we will look at how to use 'to do' and 'to make' in their basic meaning and then give you examples of some of the most commonly used exceptions in English.

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Exercise: Basic meaning

The basic difference between the two verbs in English is that 'to do' means to perform an action, whereas 'to make' means to create or build something. Look at the below examples. If you focus on both the context and the subject of the verb, it will explain how to use the two verbs in English:

A Teacher makes an exam
A Student does an exam

An Employee does a job
An Employer makes a job

These are the main meanings of the verbs 'to do' and 'to make'. For example, 'you make a cake, not do a cake' and 'you do yoga, not make yoga'.

Exceptions

But many times in English, we use 'to make', when it would make more sense to use 'to do'. Or the reverse. This depends on what the object of the sentence is. An example of this is 'to make the bed'. Although it would make more sense for 'make' in this sentence to mean you create or bulid the bed, it doesn't mean that.

In English, 'to make the bed' means to simply perform a task where the sheets of the bed aren't disorganized. The only way to learn these exceptions is through memorizing them. Welcome to English!

So now do the below quiz to see if you are using 'to do' and 'to make' correctly when you write or speak in English.


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Quiz: How to use 'to do' and 'to make'

In the following quiz fill the gaps in the 12 sentences with either to do or to make. In some cases you will need to use the basic meaning of the verbs, while in others, you will need to use the reverse. Focus on the context and the object of the verb when deciding. Also, make sure that the tense and conjugation of your answer is correct for the sentence.

Now choose the form of 'to do' or 'to make' from the question's selection box which you believe is correct for the sentence. You can use the answers in the selection box more than once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. He told me on Tuesday, that they are going to be a decision next week!           

Making a decision:
(verbal phrase) Can also be used with 'to take', but 'to make' is more common. In Spanish: "tomar un decisión".

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Making a decision:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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2. I can't attend the meeting, can you me a favour and go instead of me?            

Do me a favour:
(verbal phrase) The infinitive is 'To do someone a favour'. It means to help someone. In Spanish: "hacer un favor a algn".

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Do me a favour:

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3. Sorry, I know you've been waiting. But I need to a call first.            

Make a call:
(verbal phrase) This is commonly used. You can also use 'I need to call/phone somebody'. In Spanish: "hacer una llamada".

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Make a call:

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4. I've just an appointment to see the doctor at 5.15pm on Wednesday.            

Made an appointment:
(verbal phrase) 'To make an appointment', means to 'ask for' or 'request' an appointment. An appointment is the noun used for a visit to the doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers etc... But we don't used it in romantic situations, where it's called a 'date'. In Spanish: "pedir una cita".

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Made an appointment:

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5. Peter, I'm out of the office until Friday. So, can you the arrangements for next week's meeting?           

Make the arrangements:
(verbal phrase) It is used with the meaning of organizing things like trips, meeting etc... In Spanish: "hacer planes".

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Make the arrangements:

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6. I'm a report for the finance director on costs.            

Doing a report:
(verbal phrase) This is one of the exceptions. Although you are creating something, we use 'to do'. You can also use 'to write a report' and it has the same meaning. In Spanish: "hacer un informe".

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Doing a report:

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7. I'm busy on Wednesday, I'm a presentation in Leeds.            

Doing a presentation:
(verbal phrase) It means to actually perform the presentation in front of people. We use 'to write a presentation', when you are actually creating a presentation. 'To make' is never used with presentations. In Spanish: "hacer un presentación".

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Doing a presentation:

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8. I'm surprised they still haven't an offer for the Glasgow contract yet.            

Made an offer:
(verbal phrase) It is used in business when you actually give an offer to somebody or a company. In Spanish: "hacer una oferta".

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Made an offer:

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9. Can I a suggestion? Can we have a break now?            

Make a suggestion:
(verbal phrase) A polite way to ask for something or give an opinion. In Spanish: "proponer algo".

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Make a suggestion:

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10. The company business all over the world.            

Does business:
(verbal phrase) In this context, it means a company is involved (sells goods or services) in a market or country. In Spanish: "negociar".

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Does business:

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11. Last year, the company a profit of $2.6 million less than the year before.           

Made a profit:
(verbal phrase) It means to make money. The opposite is 'to make a loss', to lose money. In Spanish: "obtener beneficios".

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Made a profit:

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12. I a project in China last year?            

Did a project:
(verbal phrase) It can be used in the sense of both performing or creating a project. In Spanish: "hacer un proyecto".

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Did a project:

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Practice

Now that you understand the above 'to do' and 'to make' phrases, practice them by creating your own sentences with them in English.

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