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What are the differences between ‘do’ and ‘make’ ? I’ll try to be as concise and short as possible so let’s have a quick look. Rules and an elaboration on ‘do’

  • We use ‘do’ to talk about jobs and tasks:

Can you do what I asked please? (Implies a task)

Did you do you homework last night?

You’re doing odd things right now.

  • We use ‘do’ to talk about all activities, anything that we don’t have a name for:

What is she doing?

I don’t like what she’s doing.

Did you do a noise?

What would you like to do?

  • We use ‘do + gerund’ (verb + ing) to talk about activities that take some time to complete (Determiners are usually used with this construction):

Have you done any cycling today?

I did some running yesterday.

One should do a lot of reading, it’s important.

Let’s do some writing.

  • We use ‘make’ to talk about ‘constructing’ or ‘creating’:

We just made a new pastry in the kitchen.

Are you making a house?

Let’s make a cake, hmm.

My step brother is making a new apartment building.

Apart from the rules, we also have a few exceptions to the rules that are fixed and need to be learnt by heart:

  • Do: exercise, sport, business, good, harm, one’s duty, one’s teeth, one’s hair, one’s best, x amount of Km, a favour
  • Make: money, a noise, a journey, an offer, a decision, an attempt, love, peace, war, a profit, a fortune, an exception, a mistake, an excuse, a suggestion, a fire, progress, a phone call, an effort, arrangements



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