Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
In this lesson, I'm going to talk about the differences between "make" and "do."
I'm going to talk about the key points, when we should choose which verb.
So I want to start by looking at the verb "make."
Let's look over here.
First, the most important point, I think, about this verb is that we use "make" to talk about creating something. So when we use "make," it's to talk about something that was not there before, so we are like creating something new. So when we use the verb "make," it's not just an action, but there's something new happening. There's some kind of creation-related activity happening.
So I want to look at a couple of very common examples ofโ€ฆ with the ways that we use the verb "make."
First, we commonly use it when we're "talking about cooking."
So, we can use this before like meal titles. For example, "make breakfast," "make lunch," or "make dinner," "make coffee" as well. We are creating something new, so we are making that thing, that's why we use "make" referring to creation. You can also use a specific food name here like "make pasta" or "make a cake," "make cookies." So, we use make a lot to talk about creating food or creating drinks like "make a cocktail" or "make a smoothie" as well. So something new is happening through our actions.
Another common one is the expression, "make an appointment."
So when we call or we, maybe make a reservation or make an appointment online, we are creating something new, so before that action, there was no appointment, now, there is an appointment, now, there is a reservation as well. So we make an appointment, we create an appointment.
The next one, "make a video."
So for kind of creative-related jobs, like for example now, I am making a video, I'm creating something. So when you write things or maybe post things online, you could say, I'm going to, like make some content or I'm going to make a video or maybe I'm going to make a photo gallery, for example, so you're creating something new.
If you want to talk about your writing, it does sound a little more natural to say, for example, "write a blog post" or like "write an essay." So, if you can be very specific about your verb choice, it's good to use that, like "write (something)," but in general, in these cases, like making, like photos or making a photo gallery, rather, you can use the verb "make" to talk about that, to make a video.
Okay, onto the next one, another common one, "to make a friend."
So this really means to make, like a friendship, but we use the expression "make a friend." So, when you meet a new person, you can say, "I made a friend."
Another one, "make an outline."
So I included this one because I was thinking about work-related expressions. So an outline is like a rough idea of something, the rough idea of like a presentation or a new project, to make an outline, to create an outline. You could use this, the same kind of phrasing with like presentations, like to make a presentation. You will also hear "give a presentation," but you might hear, "make a presentation." So, "make a presentation," "make an outline," "make a design for something," "make a template," so again, all of these refer to creating something that was not there before, so you're creating something new, you use the verb "make."
Next one is "make time," to make time.
This is an interesting and very common expression. So actually, this means, yes, we're, we're creating time, but not like time in space. We're creating time in our schedule. So that means if I have maybe a lot of things in my schedule, I have a lot of appointments, I made a lot of appointments, I made a lot of reservations, I cancel something or I find some time in my schedule to do an activity. So that's called "making time." I want to make time. So, I'm not actually creating time itself, but I'm creating time in my schedule, so opening some time in my schedule. We use the expression "make time" to talk about that.
Next one is "make preparations for ~."
This is kind of a formal expression, but we use this to talk about like periods before events or periods before like big projects, like we're making preparations for a party, we're making preparations for a presentation. So, "to make preparations for ~" means like you're getting everything ready to do something else. So, this is kind of a useful one, a useful expression when you have lots of little things to take care of and you don't want to express everything individually, you can just say, "make preparations for ~" or more casually, "get ready for ~" but this is nice for business, I feel.
Okay, the second point I want to talk about inside this "make" point is about "how we use the verb make to talk about actions caused by something else." So, you can kind of think of this, again, as like something is being created, yes. In this case, it's going to be like someone else's action is being created or someone else's emotion is being created. So, the pattern that we see here, in this case, I'm using "someone," "to make someone cry" here with the verb or "to make someone work." So, we can use a verb in this pattern like "to make someone cry" or "to make someone work" means to cause that person to cry or to cause a person to work, to force someone. So, these are kind of like, you can think of this as like actions that have been created, so one person caused another person to cry. It's like that was created. That's kind of how you can imagine "make" is being used here.
We can also use adjectives here, like "to make someone happy" or "to make someone sad" or "to make someone angry." Another way to say this is "to cause someone to be sad," "to cause someone to be happy," "to cause someone to be angry." So again, we're creating an emotion in another person. So, all of these examples relate to creating something. That's really a key point with this verb, with "make."
Okay, so, let's compare this then to the verb "do."
The verb "do" is used to talk about an action or an activity, but we're not actually creating anything. It's like we're going through a motion. We're just taking a simple action, but maybe, nothing new is coming from the action.
Let's look at some common examples.
Very useful for students and maybe for people working, "do homework," do homework, do homework or like "do reports," "I have to do some reports" or "I have to do some grading" if you're a teacher. "To do homework." Homework, maybe you can think, well, aren't they creating something? It's more like we're completing something. So, "do homework" is kind of a very general set expression. That's like just a task I have to do for school. So, "to do homework" or "to do a report," it's just like a set task. I need to complete this task.
So maybe, it's not like I'm creating anything. Maybe, if like, inside your homework, you have to make something, you can say that, like, "Oh, I need to do my homework. I have to make a model." You could be specific about your homework, but if you want to talk generally about your homework, just use "do," "do homework."
Okay, another common one is "do the dishes."
"To do the dishes" just means to wash the dishes. You can choose "do the dishes" or "wash the dishes." We do not use "make the dishes" here because to make dishes would mean to create the actual dish which is not the case. Here, we're just washing the dishes. So "to do the dishes" is a very common one. We use "do" a lot for household chores, actually, like "do the vacuuming" or like "do the washing," for clothes as we'll see a little bit later. So, you'll hear this for some everyday household tasks, as well.
Another one, "do a presentation."
"I'm gonna do a presentation about (something)."
You might also hear "give a presentation." I also mentioned over here like "make an outline," I mentioned, "make a presentation" too. When we use "make a presentation," it sounds more like creating the content for the presentation. Like if you use the verb "make," it sounds maybe like you're talking about creating the things you're going to say or like pictures, imagery, data. You're making your presentation content. And then when you have finished that, you can say, "I am doing a presentation tomorrow" or "I'm giving a presentation tomorrow about (this thing)." So maybe "make a presentation" comes first, "do the presentation" or "give the presentation" comes next like actually speaking. So you might hear "do" or "give" a presentation at work.
Another one is for sports, "do exercises."
You'll also hearโ€ฆ I've used exercises, yes. You'll also hear "do" used with sports like sports that don't use like a ball. So, for example, like, to do yoga. Yoga is like not a ball sport. It's kind of an activity-related sport, so we use "do" to talk about that. We do not use "do basketball" or "do soccer" or "do tennis." We use "play" for those. So, if you want to talk about those kinds of sports that maybe don't use a ball or it's not like a team sport, but it's just, like activity related like "do exercises" or "do aerobics" is another one, you can use "do" to talk about that.
Okay, another one, I've got two here actually, is "to do one's hair" or "to do one's nails."
So, "to do" in this case means to style one's hair like "to do your hair," but we imagine when we use "do" for hair that it's like your everyday style like you wake up, brush your teeth and do your hair. So, it just means you fix your hair to make it nice for the day. So, it doesn't always mean like a big fancy style, but it can just mean like your everyday hairstyle, "to do your hair."
For nails then, "to do your nails" means to paint your nails, usually. So, "do your nails" is quite common. We don't really say style your nails, actually. You can also use the verb "have" like "I'm going to have a manicure" or yet, "I'm going to get a manicure." So you can use that for your fingernails or your toenails, as well. "To do your nails" usually means color. To get a manicure can mean color or no color. So, this is common in beauty then too, so "to do your hair," "to do your nails."
Okay, another one is "to do a puzzle."
So, we might see this in, like games and other kind of activities related to that, "to do a puzzle." You might think that a puzzle will use "make" like "make a puzzle" because we're creating a picture, kind of, but we use "do" because it's like the puzzle has already been created. We're just putting the pieces together, so we are doing a puzzle. You can also use this for other, like word games like "to do a crossword puzzle." That's something else that we use this with, another game. So, if you like to do that kind of thing, you can use "do" to talk about it.
I mentioned then, "do the laundry," so I mentioned that this is commonly used with household chores. So, "do the laundry" is another example. So, I think maybe British English uses "do the washing." In American English, we use "do the laundry" which means "wash clothes," so to do the laundry is another "do" expression.
I want to end then with this point. To say thatโ€ฆ this is just like an example of how sometimes "do" could be used in a way that seems confusing. So, I talked over here about the expression, like "make breakfast," "make lunch," "make dinner," but another common expression is "do breakfast" or "do lunch" or "do dinner." So what does that mean? So, here, this question, the answer is, it means to go to a restaurant, so the speaker is not actually creating the food there. It's usually used for a meeting, so like you go to a restaurant or you go to a coffee shop and you have a meeting there and you can informally, casually invite someone to the meeting with you, by saying "do lunch" like "let's do lunch," "let's do coffee," "let's do dinner." It often sounds like some kind of informal meeting. So using "do" in this way kind of creates a casual feel and there's no like feeling of creating anything. It's more like an activity, so you can kind of imagine that "do" is more for activities, "make" is for creating things.
Okay, so this is an introduction to the key ways in which "do" and "make" are different. As I said, keep in mind, "make" is used to talk about creating things. There are other ways to use these verbs, yes, but I wanted to introduce some common examples of the ways that they are used in everyday life.
So, I hope that this was helpful, but if you have any questions or comments or if you want to practice making some sentences in the comment section of this video, please feel free to do so. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!


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Monday at 11:04 AM
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Hello Jair,

Great question! Thanks for getting in touch and asking!

So in reference to promises, yes - you should use 'make' instead of 'do.' For example, "Let's make a promise."

I hope this helps!



Team EnglishClass101

Monday at 12:47 PM
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Hi teachers, thanks for this lesson!

So, I have a question about promises

When we speak about promises, should we use do or make?

For example... "let's make a promise" or "let's do a promise"

Grettings from Mexico!

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Monday at 05:07 PM
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Hi there Cindy,

Thanks for taking the time to write to us! ๐Ÿ˜„

The words "make" and "made" are both verbs. The come from the phrasal verb "to make" which means 'to create.' "Make" is present tense and "made" is past tense.

Some examples: "I made a cake yesterday" (past) and "Today I am making/will make a cake."


ร‰va ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Team EnglishClass101.com

Saturday at 03:14 PM
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Hi Teacher,

I have a little confusing ,what are different from "make" and "made".and when we used for?

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Monday at 07:48 PM
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Hi there Willie, Monica, Daniel and Medi,

Thanks for getting in touch. @Willie - If you hear someone say "I'm gonna do..." it is an informal way of speaking.

@Daniel - Thanks for your feedback!

Please feel free to shoot through any questions you have throughout your studies.



Team EnglishClass101.com

Saturday at 09:46 PM
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In the last part, about the use of the word ''Do'' I was seeing a series and saw some people saying in the restaurant or bar '' I'm gonna do '' instead of saying'' I'd like '' for example, I saw someone saying, ''I'm gonna do a chai tea latte, with almond milk''

That's formal, informal, or old fashion expression?

Thank you, teacher

Friday at 12:36 PM
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Excelent!! Thanks ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘

Friday at 12:43 AM
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It's a very important lesson. I didn't pay intention on the difference between those two verbs before

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Please let us know if you have any questions.

Friday at 05:46 AM
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essantial information๐Ÿ‘

thanks a lot