Make and do

This unit deals with make and do, two verbs that many learners have problems with. If you remember that the basic meaning of make is about producing something and the basic meaning of do is about performing an action, then the collocations on this page may seem more logical.

collocation example
make arrangements for The school can make arrangements for pupils with special needs.
make a change / changes The new manager is planning to make some changes.
make a choice Jill had to make a choice between her career and her family.
make a comment / comments Would anyone like to make any comments on the talk?
make a contribution to She made a useful contribution to the discussion.
make a decision I’m glad it’s you who has to make the decision, not me.
make an effort Joe is really making an effort with his maths this term.
make an excuse I’m too tired to go out tonight. Let’s make an excuse and stay at home.
make friends Karen is very good at making friends.
make an improvement Repainting the room has really made an improvement.
make a mistake They’ve made a mistake in our bill.
make a phone call I’ve got to make some phone calls before dinner.
make progress Harriet is making progress with all her schoolwork.
collocation example
do your best All that matters in the exam is to do your best.
do damage The storm did some damage to our roof.
do an experiment We are doing an experiment to test how the metal reacts with water.
do exercises We’ll do some exercises practicing these collocations tomorrow.
do someone a good turn / do someone a favour Scouts and guides are supposed to do someone a good turn every day.
do harm Changing the rules may do more harm than good.
do your hair No, I’m not ready. 1 haven’t done my hair yet.
do your homework My son has to do his homework straight after school.
do the ironing/shopping/ washing, etc. I’ll do the washing if you do the ironing.
do some work We’ll do some work on our project and then we’ll go to the cinema.