Follow US:

Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to Use Make and Do in English

Difficulty: 0

Hi, Im Martin.

Welcome to Oxford Online English!

In this lesson, you can learn how to use the verbsmakeanddoin different


Youll see the differences betweenmakeanddo’, and all the meanings of each


Youll also see phrasal verbs and collocations withmakeanddo’.

Heres a question: have you visited our website yet?

If you want to learn English, we have many resources to help you, as well as teachers

you can take online lessons with if you want!

Oxford Online English dot com.

Let's look at our lesson.

What's the difference between 'make' and 'do'?

What are you doing?

Im making a shopping list.

I need some stuff to make dinner.

What are you going to make?

I think some kind of stir-fry.

I have to do some work, too, so I need something quick.

Sounds tasty!

Why do you have to work?

I have to make a presentation for our meeting tomorrow, and I need to check through what

Ive written, and maybe change a few things.

By the way, can you do the washing-up before I get back?

Id like to start cooking as soon as I get in.

I need to do everything and get to bed early.

Sure, Ill do it now.

Here, you saw three ways to usedoand three ways to usemake’.

Can you remember them?

Imagine youre an English teacher.

Could you explain the basic difference betweendoandmaketo someone?

How would you do it?

Think about it!

Domeans to perform an activity or a task.

For example, you do work, do the washing-up, or do everything.

Makemeans to create something and/or produce a result.

If you make a shopping list, make dinner, or make a presentation, then you create something;

theres a result at the end of the process.

Thats the basic difference betweendoandmake’.

In the rest of this lesson, youll learn aboutdoandmakein more detail,

but keep this basic idea in your head.

Whats that?

Im making a card for Sashas leaving party.

I thought it would be nicer to make it myself, rather than just buy something.

Hows it going?

Its a lot harder than I thought it would be!

This is my second attempt.

I made a lot of mistakes first time and I had to throw it away, but now I think Im

making progress.

What happened in the kitchen?

Did you make all that mess?



I need to make a cake, too.

I mean, Ive started making a cake.

Let me guess: ‘harder than you thought it would be’?


A little.

Im trying to make an orange and chocolate sponge.

Theres chocolate all over the walls!

What happened?

Well, the mixer was making a strange noise, so I took the lid off to see if there was

a problem, but I forgot to turn it off, so the chocolate mixture went everywhere.

Dont worry; Ill clean it up.

You can usemakewhen you create a result.

You can usemakefor things with a physical result, likemake a card’, ‘make a

cake’, ormake dinner’.

You can also usemakefor non-physical results, likemake a mistake’, ‘make

progressormake a noise’.

Heres a question: can you think of more examples like this?

Pause the video and try to find three more examples of phrases withmakewhich

describe *physical* results, and three which describe *non-physical* results.

Cant think of three?

Try to find one, or two!

Pause the video and do it now.


What did you get?

For physical results, its common to usemakewith food and drink, likemake

a sandwich’, ‘make a cup of coffee’, ormake pizza.’

You can alsomake a toy’, ‘make a chair’, ormake a shelf’, if you can do it yourself.

You can say that companies make things; for example, ‘Apple makes the iPhone’, orHonda

makes cars’.

For non-physical results, there are many possibilities.

You could saymake a joke’, ‘make a suggestion’, ‘make a friend’, ormake

an appointment.’

Its also common to usemakewith money words, likemake money’, ‘make

a profitormake an investment.’

Did you get any of these phrases?

Did you find examples that we didnt?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

Next, lets look at a slightly different way to usemake’.

Whats wrong?

Did something happen?


No, nothing.

You look sad.

Its my allergies.

At this time of year, they make my face really puffy.

Plus, they make my eyes water.

Are you taking anything?

Yeah, I take antihistamines, but they dont help that much, and they make me sleepy.

What are you allergic to?


I think so, but it makes me sensitive to other things, too, like dust.

Its bad, but it only lasts four weeks or so.

You can usemaketo meanproduce a reaction in someone.’

Similar to the last section, this could be a physical reaction, as in: ‘They make my

face really puffy,’ ‘They make my eyes water.’

The antihistamines make me sleepy.’

You could also use it for emotional reactions.

For example: ‘The news made him angry.’

Thinking about what he said made me happy.’

Finally, you can usemakefor reactions which are both physical and emotional, like

this: ‘It was such a sad film.

It made me cry for hours.’

Hes so funny.

He makes me laugh all the time.’

OK, heres a task for you.

Look at three questions: Can you answer these three questions for yourself?

Pause the video, and make your answers.

You can write them down, say them out loud, or both.


Could you do it?

Of course, everyones answers will be different, but here are three suggestions: ‘Being outside

on a beautiful day makes me really happy.’

The last thing that made me laugh was a joke my colleague made in a meeting this morning.'

Someone not telling the truth could make me angry.’

Were your answers similar, or not?

Feel free to post your answers in the comments and share them with other learners.

Now, youve seen many ways to usemake’.

What aboutdo’?

Have you done the report for our sales meeting tomorrow?


I wont be here.

Did you not get my email?

What email?

I sent it to you last week.

Ive been doing a course on digital marketing, and tomorrow I have to do the final exam.

So, wholl do the report?

I dont know!

Is there no way you can do it?

Sorry, no.

Ive done most of my work for today, and then Im going straight home to do some

last-minute revision.

Remember thatdomeans that you perform a task or an activity.

You often use it to talk about things you do at work or school.

Look at three examples you heard in the dialogue.

Can you remember how to complete the missing words?

Can you get the answers?

Youll see them in a second.

So, you cando work’, ‘do business’, ‘do a deal’, ‘do a report’, and so


You can also usedowith other kinds of work, likedo houseworkordo


Also, you can usedofor many things connected with school and education.

Youdo research’, ‘do exams’, ‘do a course’, ‘do revisionanddo a


With some of these, you can use other verbs, too.

For example, you cando an exam’, ortake an exam’.

You can also usetakewithcourseorsubject’.

For example, you can sayI have to take four subjects in my first year of university,’

orI have to do four subjects in my first year…’

Theres no difference in meaning; it doesnt matter which you use.

Lets look at one more common way to usedo’.

Have you done anything about the washing machine?

No, not yet.

Well, when are you going to do something?

Its been a week.

Im running out of clean clothes!

You could do it too, you know.

I cant do everything around here!

What do you meando everything’?

Youve done nothing all day!

You spent the morning watching cartoons in your underwear!

Fine, Ill do it tomorrow.

You can usedoas a general verb in phrases likedo something’.

You heard three more phrases like this in the dialogue.

Can you remember them?

You heard, ‘do anything’, ‘do everythinganddo nothing.’

You can use these phrases in different ways.

For example: ‘I need to do something about my hair.

Its a mess!’

Do you want to do anything this weekend?’

Shes so lazy!

She sits in her office all day doing nothing.’

Theyre a very close couple; they do everything together.’

Easy, right?

To practise, try to make your own examples, too.

Lets do one more thing.

In our last section, youll see some common collocations and phrases usingmake


What did you make of the play?

It was interesting, but you could see that they were on a tight budget.

They could have done with better lighting, for one thing.

I could hardly see sometimes.

I know what you mean.

I thought they did a good job of making do with what they had, but obviously it would

have been better if theyd had more resources.

Yeah, they did their best.

Look at some phrasal verbs and collocations withmakeanddowhich you heard.

Can you remember how they were used?

Could you explain what they meant?

Make ofis mostly used in questions, when you want to ask someone for their opinion.

If someone asks youWhat did you make of it?’, they want to know what you thought.

For example, if I ask you, ‘What did you make of the concert?’, Im asking you

for your opinion; did you like it, or not?

Did you think it was good, or not?

Do withmeans to want or need.

Its conversational.

You might sayI could do with a cup of tea’, meaningI want a cup of tea.’

Do a good jobis easier to guess.

If you do a good job, you do something well.

It doesnt have to be about work; you could use it about many things.

You can also use different adjectives; for exampledo a bad job’, ‘do an adequate

job’, and so on.

Make dois harder to explain.

Look at an example: ‘I didnt have time to cook, so we made do with some snacks and

small things.’

Does this help?

If you make do with something, you dont have what you want, so you have to find a

way to use something else.

Heres another example: ‘After we moved, the furniture didnt arrive for a week,

so for a bed we had to make do with a mattress on the floor.’

This means that you didnt have the thing you wantedyour bedso you had to use

something else.

Do your bestmeans to try as hard as you can.

Its often used when you didnt get the result you wanted.

For example: ‘They did their best, but in the end they lost three-nil.’

I did my best, but there was no way I could

manage everything alone.’

There are many more phrasal verbs and collocations withmakeanddo’.

Can you think of any more?

If so, share your ideas in the comments, and make some examples to share your ideas with

other learners!

Thanks for watching!

See you next time!

The Description of How to Use Make and Do in English