How should I use make and do? -

How should I use make and do?

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“Do” and “make” are two of the most common verbs in English. They are also two of the verbs that generate the most confusion, perhaps because of how much they are used. Many expressions in English cannot be modified, such as ” make the bed “, ” do homework” etc.

You simply have to memorize when “do” is used and when ” make ” is used. In this article, we are going to guide you on How and when should you use make or do in English?

Differences between make and do

We know that both verbs can be translated as “do”, however, there are certain differences in their meaning. We can simplify it by saying that “do” deals more with the action, while by using “make” we will be referring more to the objective or result of the action.

Rules to keep in mind when using “do”

Our advice is to use “do” when talking about acts that are not clear or not sufficiently defined. Specifically, we refer to talking about things in general when the ending “-ing” is used, as in the words: “something”, “anything”, “nothing” etc.

We use the verb “do” when it comes to carrying out actions, activities, and jobs. It is used in a broad sense, such as “to perform” Keep in mind that in general, these actions and activities do not produce a physical object.


  • Do homework.
    Hacer los deberes.
  • Do a job.
    Hacer una tarea.
  • Do the dishes.
    Lavar los platos.
  • Do housework.
    Hacer las tareas domésticas.
  • Do exercise.
    Hacer ejercicio.

What’s more…

You should also use ” do” when we refer to things in general and when we do not specify exactly what activity. In this case, it is used a lot with indefinite pronouns such as “something”, “anything”, “nothing” etc.


  • What are you doing now? Now I’m not doing anything.
    ¿Qué estas haciendo ahora? Ahora no estoy haciendo nada.
  • He likes to do good things for people.
    Le gusta hacer cosa buena para la gente.
  • Are you doing anything important right now?
    ¿Haces algo importante ahora mismo?


  • Do good.
    Hacer el bien.
  • Do right.
    Hacer bien.
  • Do wrong.
    Hacer mal.
  • Do damage.
    Hacer daño.
  • Do one’s best.
    Hacer lo posible.
  • Do a favor.
    hacer un favor.
  • Do justice.
    Hacer justicia.
  • Do research.
  • Do harm.
    Hacer daño.
  • Do business.
    hacer negocios.
  • Do one’s hair.
    Arreglarse el pelo.
  • Do wonders.
    Hacer maravillas.


As for those that “make” refers to, it is used when the action has the character of “manufacture”, “elaborate” or “create”. It is therefore used in certain activities in which something that can be touched is built, that is, a physical object.


  • Make breakfast / lunch/ dinner.
    Preparar desayuno / almuerzo /cena.
  • Make a dress.
    Haz un vestido
  • Make furniture.
    Hacer mueble


It should be borne in mind that many expressions that use “make” do not have the meaning of “make” or “do” and it is common that “do” seems more appropriate for this purpose, in any case, they are established expressions, for this reason, you have to memorize them.

  • Make a decision (tomar una decisión).
  • Make a choice (hacer una elección).
  • Make a plan (trazar/hacer un plan).
  • Make arrangements (hacer preparativos).
  • Make an appointment (pedir cita/hora, concertar una cita).
  • Make a mistake (cometer un error).
  • Make money (ganar dinero).
  • Make an excuse (dar una excusa).
  • Make an effort (hacer un esfuerzo).
  • Make an attempt (hacer un intento).
  • Make fun of (reírse/burlarse de).
  • Make progress (hacer progresos).
  • Make an offer (hacer una oferta).
  • Make [a] noise (hacer [un] ruido).
  • Make peace (firmar la paz).
  • Make war (hacer la guerra).
  • Make a phone call (hacer una llamada).
  • Make an exception (hacer una excepción).
  • Make a confession (hacer una confesión).
  • Make a discovery (hacer un descubrimiento).
  • Make a change (hacer un cambio).
  • Make amends (reparar el daño [causado al alguien]//desagraviar a).
  • Make a comment (hacer un comentario).
  • Make a statement (hacer una declaración/afirmación).
  • Make a speech (pronunciar/hacer un discurso).
  • Make a difference (hacer diferencias/marcar la [una] diferencia).
  • Make friends (hacer amigos).
  • Make love (hacer el amor).
  • Make a fire (encender un fuego).
  • Make an impression (causar impresión).
  • Make a mess (hacer un lío).
  • Make a point (dar un argumento concreto).
  • Make a promise (hacer una promesa).
  • Make a suggestion (hacer una sugerencia).
  • Make time (encontrar tiempo).
  • Make the bed (hacer la cama).

To conclude, a clarification:

To make a decision instead of to make a decision. Although to make a decision exists in English (especially in British English), this construction comes from French and is used very rarely (and expresses an idea of ​​choice between several decisions to be made). Therefore, mainly used to MAKE a decision, which is the true equivalent of ‘make a decision:

  • I made the decision to sell the company.
    Tomé la decisión de vender la compañía.
  • After interviewing all the applicants, we took the decision to hire the second candidate.
    Después de ver a todos los candidatos, decidimos contratar al segundo de ellos.
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