Learn English: MAKE or DO?


"To be or not to be?" that is the qu-...

No, it's not the question.

You are here to learn a lesson.

Hi. I'm James from engVid, and today's lesson is going to be on "do" or "make".

Well, why am I doing this lesson?

Many students make a mistake with these two verbs.


And the problem is native speakers almost never make this mistake, and as soon as you

make this mistake we will know that you are just learning English or low-level English.

So this lesson will help you fully understand how to use it so that you can start speaking

like a native speaker right away.

Now, in order to do that we have to clearly know what the difference is between "do" and "make",

and then give examples of how we use them.

I'll also give you collocations.

Collocations are words that go with "do" and "make" regularly so you know even if you're

having a difficult time, when you say something like: "cake", you're going to say "do" or "make".

Let's find out in five seconds, shall we?

Let's go to the board where I'll break down what "do" is and give you examples; what "make"

is, give you examples; then I'll give you those collocations and a short quiz.

All right.

E, what is it, "do" or "make"?

When I makes me a cake, do I do me a cake or make me a cake?

Well, let's find out.

If an action is repetitive, something you do on a regular basis, we're going to use

the verb "do".

Now, I should note very quickly here I am not going to talk on the auxiliary, like:

"Do you like that?"

I'm not going to ask these questions.

We have other videos, so please go to engVid, go check them out, and they'll clearly do...

Do, [laughs].

Show you the uses of "do" as the auxiliary. Okay?

This is specifically how you understand it.

If something is done repetitively, we use "do", which is true for most simple present verbs.

When we talk in the simple present it's about repeated actions.

So, "do" is no different from that.



An obligation might be something like I do homework every night.

It's a thing I must do.


So we use it for obligation.

Multiple actions.

Now, listen to me carefully.

"I do the dishes."

I'll give you a visual representation or a visual picture of it in a second, but I want

you to understand the concept.

A lot of times in English we use what's called "shorthand".

Instead of saying every verb that I'm going to do, what I do is I use...

Or I even said it here, replacing verbs.

We put the verb "do" in and it talks about several actions in one go.

Here's an example for you: When I do the dishes, I wash them, I dry them, I put them away.

Notice there are three verbs.

I don't want to say when someone says, like E goes: "Did you do the dishes?"

Go: "Yes, I wash the dishes, I dry the dishes, I put the dishes away."

They'll go: -"You new to Canada, correct?"

-"Yes, very correct."

Okay, so I said: "I'll do the dishes" or "I do the dishes".

So, even under obligation I said: "I do the dishes every night", that's my obligation.

And it's these actions I'm talking about.

Repetitive because I do it every night, I repeat it.


Multiple actions, so I've just went through, and replacement of verbs.

This is similar to multiple actions, but you can use the verb "to do" to replace one verb,

like: "Hey, man. I got to do my hair tonight."

That means "fix", that might be cut my hair, it might be wash my hair, but when I got to

do my hair, I got to do my hair, and do my nails.

That means cut and clean.

It's not saying multiple verbs.

It's just replacing one verb, but we can put "do" in there and it replaces that verb, and

we understand what it means.

Is there something you have to do?

Okay, I've killed that.


So why don't we go to "make"?


"Make" is create, when you create something.

Creation comes from it didn't exist and now it does.

You create.

That's making.

And when I say "create", there's a big difference between the two.


Notice when we talked about "do" we talked about repetitive, obligation, multiple actions,


It's a verb of action and so is "make", but the difference is this: When I talk about

"do", you can't see it.

Sorry, you can see it, but you can't touch it.

You can see me washing, but you can't touch me washing the dishes.

It doesn't make sense.

You can see me washing the dishes, but you can't touch and go: "Now I have dry."

It's like: You can't have dry.

It's the action that I'm actually doing. Okay?

So when you keep these...

This in mind, yes, they're verbs of action and that's why you get confused, I understand,

but just keep in mind generally speaking with "do" you can see it, but you can't touch it.

And why am I bringing that back up?

Because with "make" it's almost the opposite.

When you create something it's in your hand, I can touch it, like this pen.

I made this pen, you can see it.

If you said: "Do you do this pen?"

It doesn't make sense to me.

I'm like: "It's in my hand, man.

I made it. It's done."


How do you make a pen?

That's different. All right?

Something you choose.


You choose.

Make a decision already!


You got to choose it. Right?

Make a decision.

I have to put this one in here because you go: "Ah, well, you make a decision, I don't see it.

I don't see any decision."

But yeah, I have made up my mind, I've made a decision to make one path instead of another

one, and that will follow through.


Produce, well, similar to "create", but you know, when you make cars, it's regularly doing

it but you can see products coming out, like we make pens.


So it's not...

"Create" is like the first time you created something.

The guy who made the first Apple computer.


He created it.

It was the first one, created.

But now he's producing them, he's making them, he's making many of them, more of them and

you can see them.

Speaking. Are you like a dog?

"Roof, roof". No.


It's been a little while, but there was a guy called Obama, Barack Obama.

Don't know if you've heard of him.

Anyway, he made a speech, and he said: "Yes we can" in the speech.

Notice how I said: He didn't do a speech, he made a speech.


Because he produced ideas.

There comes that word again, another word going back.

As he spoke, these ideas were produced and people could understand them.

He even created a new environment.

So when we use "make" we can use it for speaking.

"Hey, don't make a noise."



Or: "Did you make a comment?"

In each of these cases you cannot say "do", you have to say "make" because something is

created or something is produced.

In this case, a sound.

So that's why we talk about "make" as in creating something for the first time; choosing something,

make your mind up, make a decision.

Producing, continually making something.

So after you've created the first one, we keep producing them, keep making them.

And speaking because noise is a sound and make it, and is a product.

It may not be physical you can touch, but it's something that's there.


All right, and that's difference from just seeing the actions from "do".

Generally speaking, when you make something you can touch it.

I have to say generally because when I'm speaking like making a speech now, you can't touch

my words, but you can catch the sound. Right?

That's how we record things.

So, when we look over here, you can touch it, you make a cake.

Birthday cake, you make one.

You don't do it.

You make money.

I got no money.

I was looking for some.

I haven't make any money.

I might have to do something to make some money.


Notice how I used that?

Do something, several actions in order to get money, make it so I can show it to you

which I can't right now.

I need you to remember this before we go to the next board where I'm going to show you

some common collocations.

Okay? And collocations are basically words that go together.

There are words that go with "do" and there are words that go with "make", and this will help you.

Remember I said I want you to understand?

This will help make it easier for you that when you hear this word, you go:

"This is the word that goes with 'make'", or "This is the word that goes with 'do'", okay?

And you'll soon master our language.

So give me a sec and we'll get up there.

And don't forget native speakers always get this right, and so will you in about two seconds.


And time to do collocations.

Collocations, as I mentioned before-remember?-it's words that usually go together.

In this case I picked a few that I know you'll hear once you learn English or if you're in

an English-speaking country, you'll hear people use these words a lot.

So let's go to the board.

I'll start off with "do" and housework.

Another word for "housework" is "chores".

You might hear a young kid say: "I got chores to do tonight, man.

I can't come out and play."

Or you go: "My household chores takes so long."

Chores is basically a job you have to do and you don't get paid for it.

So if you hear about chore, it's in your house or something you do, and you don't get paid for.

You don't have chores at work.

Keep that in mind. Okay?

Just a new vocabulary word for you.

And let's go to the board.

"Do the dishes".

Do you remember when I said that if you do something and you repeatedly have to do it,

repetitive manner, you do the dishes and I showed you wash, dry, put away?

That's an example of multiple verbs.

"Do the laundry" is the same thing.

You put the clothes in the washing machine, you wash them, you put them in the dryer or

you hang them up, then you fold them and put them away.

You'll notice that I said: "put", "fold", different verbs, another replacement.

"Do the yard work".



I'm not a pirate.

Yard, we call it the yard as in the backyard.

When you have a house...

I'm sure it's the same most places, but we can't say it's everywhere.

You have your little house here, okay?

You have some land here and here.

This is in the front, this is in the back.

Each part is called the yard.

Front yard.

Right? Where you usually have grass, maybe a tree.

If you're lucky, an apple tree if you're George Washington.

But you'll have a tree, some grass, and you can play.

The children can play soccer or football, or what have you.


When you do the yard work sometimes it's cutting the grass, or it's playing with the flowers,

or you know, playing...

You know, you're playing with the flowers, pulling out weeds, you know, things from the


Doing yard work means to clean this area to make it look good.

It's like getting your hair done.

You know what I'm saying?

Okay, anyway, so you clean your house, the front and the back is to "do the yard word".

This is for housework, but you don't just live in your house, you also work.

And when we work...

Oh, sorry, I've got one before I forget, I put it in orange.

This is not for "Robin and Batman".

This is for "Ronnie".

Here's one we got called "make the bed", this usually goes with housework, but it actually

sits on the "make" side.

I'd love to go into great detail on it.

Actually, I'll give you my simple explanation in a second, but what I want to point out

is if you need further information on some of these, go check out Ronnie's video on housework,

and "do" and "make", okay?

My idea for make the bed I'll tell you when we get here with "make".

Now we go back to work.

Remember work?

Okay, work.

You "do homework", that's for school.


I do my homework.

It means I write, I read, I think, I remember, I bring the work back to school and give it

to the teacher.



"Do business".


"Do business", it's not what you think.

It's not do a business.

When you do business it means you work with someone.

I really want to do business with Elon Musk, I think that's his name.

He's the guy who makes the cars.


I really want to do business with Bill Gates.

It means work with them.

I don't do business a lot in England.


It means I don't work with people in England.

So, it's work with. Right?

So we're using "do" to replace this verb "work with", "work".


Same example here, but we're going to replace a verb "write".

"Do a report".

"Johnson, that trip you went to Africa was amazing.

We loved the papers.

Can you do a report on that?"

I want you to write a report.

In this case, "do" replaces "write", write a report.


And your body.

Remember I said earlier: "Got to do my hair"?


"Got to do my nails".

In this case it means clean or fix.

Clean or fix my nails, and that's "do".

These are all actions that you see people do.

You'll see me cutting them.


Cleaning my nails or cutting my hair, but you won't actually be able to hold on to these things.

So now let's go to "make".


So there's common collocations for this here, and let's look for some common collocations-hard

to say "common collocations" over and over again-for "make".


We can communicate with "make".

I told you about making a noise before, but there are some more practical ones, such as:

"make a call".

You're going to be on your cellphone: "Excuse me a second.

I have to make a call, talk to a friend of mine."


Perhaps Mr. E. "Make excuses".

You know when you're late or you don't do something and somebody asks you a question,

you're like: "Uh, the dog ate my homework", that's making an excuse.

It means to give a reason for not doing something, but people don't believe it's a true one or

a good enough one.


So when you make an excuse, I or someone else doesn't think it's good enough.

It's not a good reason.

"Make a complaint".

Have you ever gone to a restaurant, and you're eating something and you don't know what it is, and you say:

"Hey. I asked for the chicken in my Chinese food, and I don't know what this is."


You can make a complaint to the manager or the waiter, and they will have to fix it.

I don't know what you're eating either, don't ask me.

"Make a complaint", that's to say something is wrong.

"I don't like it. I'd like it fixed in some way."

Make a complaint.

Next ones...

Or, oop.

Food, "make dinner". But "make dinner" is easy.

We make dinner, we make lunch, we make breakfast, that's just to create a meal, produce a meal.

"Make some coffee".

In the morning I know when I get up and I'm really tired, I'm just going to go:

"Hey, dude. Can you make me some coffee?"


That means I want a cup of coffee produced for me.


You can ask somebody to "make up your mind", decide.

Make a decision.

Give me something, one way or another, A or B, up or down.

"Make a list".

-"So what do you want to do on your vacation?"

-"Oh, blah, blah, blah."

-"Hey. Why don't you make a list?"-that means write it out for me-

"And then I can look at it later on and make a decision on that."

My favourite one here is "make an exception" or "make an example".


Okay, everyone's going into the nightclub tonight.

Okay? Everyone's going to dance, have some fun.


And what happens is...

Did you hear that?

Doo-doo-doo-doo, I think you got lucky, you get to come in.


So you get to come to the nightclub and we invite you in.

Your friend comes and go: "Hey, sorry. He's not allowed."

You go: "Hey. He's my brother. I love this guy."

They go: "Okay, we'll make an exception."

It means you're going to be able to do something that nobody else is allowed to do.

We're going to let you do this, but no one else can do it because you're an exception.

So, if you come to a school and you want to go to Harvard let's just say and your...

Was it IELTS score is really low or your TOEFL score is low?

But you're really good looking and you're really, you know, pretty and you're dressed

well, they might go: "We'll make an exception for you, you can come to our school.

Normally we wouldn't let people in if they have low marks, but you're good looking."

Like me.

Okay, not like me.

Brad Pitt.

Here's the better one, though, you might like this.

Sometimes you've got a classroom situation where there's one student who's talking, talking,

talking, talking, and they're taking what we call all the airtime, not letting anyone

else say anything.

And half the times they're wrong and the teacher doesn't like it.

So the teacher might make an example of them.

What do you mean?

Well, they might just say: "Hey, Harris, you seem to know everything.

Why don't you teach the lesson today?

I'll make an example of you and everybody will know not to do that in my classroom."

To make an example of someone...

A better one might be this.

When the policemen sees four of you and you're all drinking on the street, and you're smiling

and laughing, and one guy says: "Unh the police."

The police go: "Okay, no problem.

I'm going to make an example of you.

You're going to jail tonight.

Not your friends. Just you."

To make an example of someone means to put them in a bad situation so everyone can see

it, and they will go: "I don't want to do that.

That's way too much trouble.

I don't want that kind of problem."


That can happen with the law, that can happen in the classroom, that can happen in any situation

in which you're doing something people don't like and they want to make sure everybody

sees what they do to you, which is usually something negative.

You got to be careful.

To have someone make an exception for you is a good thing.

To be made an example of is a bad thing.

And these are common collocations that go with "make".


All right, so before I go I want to talk about make the bed, and the reason why I said I'd

come back to this and I mentioned Ronnie's video is this is a really weird one.

Really, it's repetition, it's obligation, it really should be on the list of here, on

the "do" side. Right?

Under housework, but for some reason in English we say "make" goes on the...

Sorry, "make the bed" goes on the "make" side.

First off, I don't know why.

It's English.

Welcome to English.


I don't know.

Anyone who tells you differently, they don't know either.

They're just making it up.

But I'm going to give you my best guess as to why we put it over here.

Do you remember when I said produce and create?

Well, when you sleep in your bed, you get out, it's a mess.

It's all over the place and it just doesn't look good.

So then you take the sheets and you put them up, and you organize them.

Okay? And then...

So you got the sheets on, then you put the pillow up and it looks nice.

You've produced something nice.

I'm thinking that's the reason.

And the reason why I'm explaining it and even saying it, because you're going:

"Why are you telling me?" because I need you to know something: Even though I told you that English

people almost never make this mistake, it doesn't mean we didn't make mistakes when

we created the language.


It doesn't make sense that it's there, but we say it like that.

And this is a collocation you've got to be really careful on because it's commonly said

every morning, like: "Did you make the bed?"


So you got to know it.

And if you go: "Yes, I do the bed."

They're going to go: "You did what with the bed?

I'm going to clean the bed right now.

I don't know what you did in there."


But before I go, the common collocations, because we have one more, a little quiz, you

know I like doing quizzes at the end - we have a resource page, and I'd like you to

go to the resource page where you'll find these ones plus many more examples of common

collocations that you could learn, memorize, and sound like native speaker right away.


Anyway, two seconds we do the quiz.

You ready?


Okay, quiz time, as you know I love to do quizzes.

And we're going to do a quick quiz of five questions, but before I do,

let's go to Mr. E because I haven't used him enough and he wants to give you a reminder.

So, what do you got to say, E?

"Remember", okay.

"Do" generally talks about the action itself.

Remember I said earlier when we talk about "do" you see me doing it, but it doesn't actually

produce anything.

When we want to do that, we go to the verb "make".

"Make" talks about the result.

So when you think about the actions of, you know, doing something, at the end you will

make something.

That's how they're related and that's why they're verbs of action.


But when you think "make", think of: "I should have something in my hand I can touch", and

"do", I can see you doing it, see you with my eyes.

Are we good?

So we put our senses with our verbs.

That should help us remember, right?

See for "do", "make" you can touch.

Time for the quiz.

Are you ready now?

I'm sure you are because now you're going to be an expert at English and speak like

a native, right?

So let's do number one: "I usually _______ the dishes after dinner."

Would you say "do" or "make"?

Think: Is it repetitive?

Is it an obligation?

Are you producing? Are you actually making dishes?

You know, making, creating?

"Do", "I do the dishes". Right?

And I helped you by telling you it was repetitive and obligation.

We do the dishes.

Are you ready for number two?

"Can you _______ a lot of money at your job?"

Did I hear you say: "I want the dollar, dollar, dollar"?

Want dollars?


You can "make" money, because money is good in your hand.

Right? Remember we talked about looking and touching, that's a physical thing.

You get the money.

What about number three?

I didn't make it easy.

I changed the tense, but let's see how good you are:

"I _______ the laundry yesterday."

That's right, I used that example earlier on, didn't I?

Do you remember when I talked about household chores and I said chores are jobs and these

are things you have to do?

I knew you'd get it.

"I did the laundry yesterday."

Right? I didn't make it.

That means you'd have to sew the clothing, that's different.

How about number four?

Tricky one, remember.

"I _______ my bed every morning."

That's right, I made that special speech and I told you: Go see Ronnie's list, and she'll

explain it a bit more to you about

making the bed.

It's the weird one, the exception.


"I make the bed every morning", it's something you repeat, but we use "make".

And finally, this is for you experts out there, okay?

We're using both of the verbs and I want to see if you get it right.

Good luck.

"I _______ everything I can to _______ you happy!"


Remember native people would never get this wrong.

That's right: "I do everything I can to make you happy!"

And: "Why?" you might ask.

"Do", okay?


You can see all of my actions.

"Make" is the final result.

Remember I talked about result?

The result is you are happy.

So even though I can't touch this one, what is the result of all my doing?

You will be happy.

Hey, listen.

You've done a very good job and I'm impressed.

Actually I'll be more impressed when you go to our website, engVid.

Remember? www.engvid.com.

And I'm sure right now you're going to touch that screen, click it, or whatever you got

to do to go and do the quiz.

And then you can show me you're a really good student.

Thanks a lot.