Do & Make: Usage & Collocations

Do & Make: Usage & Collocations

“If I can do it, anyone can do it.”

Dawn Steel, a Scottish actress

“Do” and “make” are among some of the most commonly used English verbs. The problem with them is that in some languages there is one verb which can mean what “do” and “make” often mean: performing an activity or creating something. That’s why it’s so important to understand the similarities and differences between the meanings. It’s also important to memorize certain collocations which may look slightly or totally illogical. But before we get down to the collocations, let’s review the basics:

Do Make
1.       To performYou should do something to solve this problem. I have always done washing-up and cleaning. Let’s do this exercise together.

2.       To achieve or completeThis car did 100 000 miles. He did 10 years in jail.

3.       To act or behave in a specified way: You are free to do as you please. Our local team is doing so badly.

4.       To be suitable or acceptable:  One night of good sleep will do.


1.       To form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; to createWill you make a shirt for me? This fence is made of stone.

2.       To cause (something) to exist or to come aboutThe drips made a pool on the floor.

3.       To compel (someone) to do something: This film always makes me cry.

4.       To constituteKnowledge and patience make a good teacher.

5.       To gain or earn (money or profit): How much money will we make out of this contract?

6.       To manage to arrive at (a place) within a specified time, or catch (a train or other form of transport): I’ll make it on time.

Of course, there are numerous collocations with “do” and “make” which you’d better memorize:


  1. Do (sb.) a favor
  2. Do business
  3. Do damage (to the crops*)
  4. Do exercise (sport)
  5. Do sb. good/bad (the country air will do you good*)
  6. Do (sb.) harm (I will do you no harm*)
  7. Do homework
  8. Do housework
  9. Do paperwork
  10. Do chores (around the house*)
  11. Do a crossword
  12. Do nothing
  13. Do the dishes
  14. Do the accounts
  15. Do one’s best (to learn English*)
  16. Do one’s duty
  17. Do one’s hair / have one’s hair done
  18. Do one’s nails / have one’s nails done
  19. Do one’s job
  20. Do one’s makeup
  21. Do a course (on how to avoid procrastination*)
  22. Do a project (on pollution*)
  23. Do a test
  24. Do research (into the effectiveness of the program*)
  25. Do an internship [‘ɪntɜːnʃɪp]
  26. Do a concert
  27. Do one’s teeth 
  28. Do the laundry 
I’m doing the laundry…


  1. Make a booking (for tonight*)
  2. Make a bundle (of money on the car*)
  3. Make a call 
  4. Make a choice (between red and blue*)
  5. Make a comment (on the article*)
  6. Make a complaint (about the quality*)
  7. Make a compromise (between never and later*)
  8. Make a deal (with him*)
  9. Make a decision (to move to New York*)
  10. Make a difference (to the future*)
  11. Make a fire 
  12. Make a fool (of yourself*)
  13. Make a fortune (writing books*)
  14. Make a fuss (about nothing*)
  15. Make a habit (of getting up early*)
  16. Make a move
  17. Make a reservation (for a restaurant*)
  18. Make a promise (to give up smoking*)
  19. Make a remark (on the reform*)
  20. Make a sound
  21. Make a speech (at the wedding*)
  22. Make a translation (of the speech to the audience*)
  23. Make a threat (to society*)
  24. Make a visit (to the country*)
  25. Make amends (for the worry I have caused*)
  26. Make an appearance (at a party*)
  27. Make an appointment (with the doctor*)
  28. Make an attempt (to get in touch with them*)
  29. Make an inquiry (about a matter*)
  30. Make an exception (for disabled drivers*)
  31. Make an excuse (about being late / for not coming on time*)
  32. Make a connection (between the missing money and our partner’s new car*)
  33. Make friends (with a kid*)
  34. Make fun (of a classmate*)
  35. Make corrections (to the essay*)
  36. Make love (with somebody)
  37. Make money (out of a product*)
  38. Make noise
  39. Make peace (with your past*)
  40. Make a plan (to go outside the city*)
  41. Make a profit (out of the product*)
  42. Make a loss
  43. Make a living (out of a hobby*)
  44. Make progress (with your English*)
  45. Make sense (of what is going on*)
  46. Make sure/certain (you know the meaning*)
  47. Make a statement (by wearing vintage style clothes*)
  48. Make a suggestion (on how to cut the onions / that we should do it together*)
  49. Make time (for the children/to spend more time with the children*)
  50. Make trouble
  51. Make breakfast/lunch/dinner/a meal
  52. Make a mess (of his career*)
  53. Make a mistake (with/in my English pronunciation*)
  54. Make the bed
  55. Make use (of resources*)
  56. Make a bet (of 5 dollars that he can do it*)
  57. Make a change (to the world*)
  58. Make the effort (to pass the exam*)
  59. Make an impression (on me*)
  60. Make a joke (about Chris*)
  61. Make a list (of things to buy*)

* for example


We are making a meal.

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