DO or MAKE ? Common English Collocations
- DO is used for actions, obligations, and repetitive tasks
- MAKE is used for creating or producing something, and for actions you choose to do
- DO generally refers to the action itself, and MAKE usually refers to the result
If you “make breakfast,” the result is an omelet!
If you “make a suggestion”, you have created a recommendation.
Common English Collocations with DO
- do the housework
After I got home from the shop, I was too tired to do the housework.
- do the laundry
I really need to do the laundry – I don’t have any clean clothes left!
- do the dishes
I’ll make dinner if you do the dishes afterwards.
(you can also say “wash the dishes”)
- do the shopping
I went to visit Anne, did some shopping, and mailed a package at the post office.
EXCEPTION: make the bed = putting blankets, sheets, and pillows in the correct place so that the bed looks nice and not messy
WORK / STUDY
- do work
I can’t go out tonight – I have to do some work on an extra project.
- do homework
You can’t watch any TV until you’ve done your homework.
- do business
We do business with clients in ten countries.
- do a good/great/terrible job
Joanne did a good job organizing the party.
(in this expression, “job” doesn’t necessarily refer to work. It simply means the person did something well)
- do a report
I’m doing a report on the history of Polish foreign policy.
(you can also say “writing a report”)
- do a course
We’re doing a course at the local university.
(you can also say “taking a course”)
TAKING CARE OF YOUR BODY
- do exercise
I do at least 20 minutes of exercise every day.
- do your hair (= style your hair)
I’ll be ready to go in 10 minutes – I just need to do my hair.
- do your nails (= paint your nails)
Can you open this box for me? I just did my nails and they’re still wet.
GENERAL GOOD OR BAD ACTIONS
- do anything / something / everything / nothing
Are you doing anything special for your husband birthday?
You can’t do everything by yourself – let me help you.
- do well
I think I did pretty well in the interview.
- do badly
Everyone did badly on the test – the highest grade was 58.
- do good
He has done a lot of good in the community.
- do the right thing
When I found someone’s wallet on the sidewalk, I turned it in to the police because I wanted to do the right thing.
- do your best
Don’t worry about getting everything perfect – just do your best.
Common English Collocations with MAKE
- make breakfast/lunch/dinner
I’m making lunch – it’ll be ready in about 15 minutes.
- make a sandwich
Could you make me a chicken sandwich?
- make a salad
I made a salad for the family picnic last week.
- make a cup of tea
Would you like me to make you a cup of tea?
- make a reservation
I’ve made a reservation for 8:00 at our favorite restaurant.
- make money
I enjoy my job, but I don’t make very much money.
- make a profit
The new company made a profit within its first month.
- make a fortune
She made a fortune after her book hit #1 on the bestseller list.
- make $_______
I made $300 selling my old books on the internet.
- make friends
It’s hard to make friends when you move to a big city.
- make love (= have sex)
The newlyweds made love on the beach during their honeymoon.
- make a pass at (= flirt with someone)
My best friend’s brother made a pass at me – he asked if I was single and tried to get my phone number.
- make fun of someone (= tease / mock someone)
The other kids made fun of John when he got glasses, calling him “four eyes.”
- make up (= resolve a problem in a relationship)
Mark and Joanna made up after the big fight they had last day.
- make a phone call
Please excuse me – I need to make a phone call.
- make a joke
John made a joke, but it wasn’t very funny and no one laughed.
- make a point
Hanna made some good points during the meeting; I think we should consider her ideas.
- make a bet
I made a bet with Robert to see who could do more push-ups.
- make a complaint
We made a complaint with our internet provider about their terrible service, but we still haven’t heard back from them.
- make a confession
I need to make a confession: I was the one who ate the last piece of cake.
- make a speech
The company president made a speech about ethics in the workplace.
- make a suggestion
Can I make a suggestion? I think you should cut your hair shorter – it’d look great on you!
- make a prediction
It’s difficult to make any predictions about the future of the economy.
- make an excuse
When I asked her if she’d finished the work, she started making excuses about how she was too busy.
- make a promise
I made a promise to help him whenever he needs it.
(you can also say, “I promised to help him whenever he needs it.”)
- make a fuss (= demonstrate annoyance)
Stop making a fuss – he’s only late a couple minutes. I’m sure he’ll be here soon.
- make an observation
I’d like to make an observation about our business plan – it’s not set in stone, so we can be flexible.
- make a comment
The teacher made a few critical comments on my essay.
EXCEPTION: Don’t say “make a question.” The correct phrase is “ask a question.”
PLANS & PROGRESS
- make plans
We’re making plans to travel to New York next year.
- make a decision/choice
I’ve made my decision – I’m going to go to Poznań University, not Wrocław University.
- make a mistake
You made a few mistakes in your calculations – the correct total is $234, not $224.
- make progress
My students are making good progress. Their spoken English is improving a lot.
- make an attempt / effort (= try)
I’m making an effort to stop smoking this year.
- make up your mind (= decide)
Should I buy a desktop or a laptop computer? I can’t make up my mind.
- make a discovery
Scientists have made an important discovery in the area of genetics.
- make a list
I’m making a list of everything we need for the wedding: invitations, decorations, a cake, a band, the dress…
- make sure (= confirm)
Can you make sure we have enough copies of the report for everybody at the meeting?
- make a difference
Getting eight hours of sleep makes a big difference in my day. I have more energy!
- make an exception
Normally the teacher doesn’t accept late homework, but he made an exception for me because my backpack was stolen with my homework inside it.
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