No, we are not going to talk about the Book of Common Prayer, by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury but:


We are always wondering (at least I do…) when we should use one or other verb. OK, here’s how. Yes, it’s a long list, but try to use them in a situation, ask your husband to do the dishes, ask your children to do the English exercises, ask your best friend to do your nails and do your best to remember as many situations as possible with “do” and “make”. And, in case you want to make a contribution to this page, feel free to do so.

DO is used for actions, obligations, and repetitive tasks and generally refers to the action itself.

  • Do the housework
  • Do the laundry
  • Do the dishes (also “wash the dishes”
  • Do the shopping

BUT: MAKE the bed

  • Do work
  • Do homework
  • Do business
  • Do a good/great/terrible job
  • Do a report (OR write a report)
  • Do a course (OR take a course)
  • Do exercise
  • Do your hair (= style your hair)
  • Do your nails (= paint your nails)
  • Do anything / something / everything / nothing
  • Do well
  • Do badly
  • Do good
  • Do the right thing
  • Do your best

MAKE is used for creating or producing something, and for actions you choose to do. It usually refers to the result.

  • make breakfast/lunch/dinner
  • make a sandwich
  • make a salad
  • make a cup of tea
  • make a reservation

make money
make a profit
make a fortune
make $_______ as in: I made $250 selling my old fridge on the internet.

make friends
make love (= have sex)
make a pass at (= flirt with someone)
make fun of someone (= tease / mock someone)
make up (= resolve a problem in a relationship)

make a phone call
make a joke
make a point
make a bet
make a complaint
make a confession
make a speech
make a suggestion
make a prediction
make an excuse
make a promise
make a fuss (= demonstrate annoyance)
make an observation
make a comment

EXCEPTION: ask a question make a question

make plans
make a decision/choice
make a mistake
make progress
make an attempt / effort (= try)
make up your mind (= decide)
make a discovery
make a list
make sure (= confirm)
make a difference
make an exception

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