The Difference: Do & Make (Exercises & Guidelines)

Language Focus: common collocations for the verb make and do

Download: make-do-difference-worksheet.docx

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The verbs do and make are easy to confuse in English. Here are some guidelines and exercises to study.

Guidelines for the Verb Make

`To make' something is to create something. Something wasn't there, and then you made it. For example, you make a mistake. There was no mistake and then you created it; you made it. To make is to create something that did not exist before.

The children made a mess.

The children made a mess.

Common Expressions with the Verb Make

You make…

  • an excuse
  • friends
  • plans
  • a joke
  • an effort/attempt
  • an offer/request
  • a choice/decision
  • a mistake/error
  • money
  • a profit
  • a fire
  • a mess
  • a phone call
  • a reservation
  • a wish
  • progress
  • a bed (this means to put the sheets on a bed neatly)

Guidelines for the Verb Do

We use do for actions and tasks. For example, we do our homework. Who makes your homework? Your teacher does. S/he creates it (makes it). And then you do it.

Do …

  • your homework
  • work
  • your job/duty
  • your best
  • a favour
  • well/poorly
  • research
  • damage
  • your share/part

We use do for household chores and beauty.

You do…

  • chores
  • the laundry
  • the dishes (this means to wash the dishes)
  • your hair (this means to style your hair)
  • your makeup
  • your nails
  • the ironing
  • the washing

We also use do for activities (like sports) that do not have their own verb.

You do…

  • exercise
  • yoga
  • karate / taekwondo / judo
  • karaoke

These guidelines can be helpful, but there are exceptions. For example, to make a bed means to put the sheets on the bed neatly. But this is not really an act of creation (we aren't creating a bed). So why do we use make? Probably because this is how people decided to speak a long time ago. The best way to learn the differences between the verbs make and do is to practice. Try these practice exercises.

Practice Exercises: Make or Do?

  1. John didn't get the job because he  a mistake on his application.
  2. The hikers decide to  a fire at the side of the lake.
  3. Students can  research in the library.
  4. The company  a profit last year, thankfully.
  5. When their parents were away, the children  a mess.
  6. Kate  her friend a favour yesterday. She drove her to the airport.



  1. The negative advertising campaign  damage to the company's reputation.
  2. We didn't feel like  dinner, so we decided to  a reservation at our favourite restaurant.
  3. Olivia  her best to  yoga every morning.
  4. I wanted to work for the company, but they did not  me an offer. So I'm still unemployed and not  any money.
  5. Mike  friends easily. In fact, yesterday when he was  karate, he met a funny guy named Ricardo.
  6. The little boy  a wish and then blew out the candles on his birthday cake.


  1. Johnson is worried that her son isn't  progress at school. He's not  well. He doesn't  his homework regularly. He needs to  an effort to improve. Otherwise, he will fail his classes.
  2. Alan's daughter is hardworking. She  her share of the housework. For example, yesterday she  her bed,  the dishes,  the laundry, and she  the ironing. She even  coffee in the morning.



  1. Roger isn't a good worker. He  a lot of jokes at work. When his boss asks him why he isn't  his work, he always  an excuse. Often he  phone calls to his girlfriend at the office. I wish he would  his job. When we hired him, I think we  a bad decision.
  2. Last night, Brenda  plans to go to a dance club. Before she left, she  her hair, she  her makeup, and she  her nails. She left some dirty dishes in the sink because she didn't want to  the washing. After dancing, she and her friends  karaoke until 3 a.m.



I hope these exercises have helped you learn the difference between make and do. We have many other pages on the differences between difficult words in English. To view them, go to the Grammar menu above and select Word Differences.

If you have a question about this lesson or find a mistake, please leave a comment below.

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21 comments on “The Difference: Do & Make (Exercises & Guidelines)

  1. sharad kumar soni (Posted on 7-29-2017 at 23:28) Reply

    Do and make undersand completly

    Thank you sir

  2. Maria (Posted on 9-11-2019 at 11:35) Reply

    Part 2 – sentence 3: Olivia MAKES (=forces) her friend DO yoga every morning! (It’s a complex object structure – to make smb do smth). Am I wrong?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 9-11-2019 at 14:16) Reply

      Hello. I think you’ve misread the sentence. The word ‘friend’ isn’t mentioned. The sentence you wrote is a causative sentence structure (Active Causative). I don’t think it’s a Complex sentence, however, since there is only one clause and no subordinating conjunction.

      1. Maria (Posted on 9-11-2019 at 15:50) Reply

        I am sorry. I did misread it.
        Thank you for your explanations!

      2. Mara Tais (Posted on 11-9-2022 at 02:14) Reply

        excellent questions

  3. Nicole (Posted on 2-23-2021 at 05:30) Reply

    it’s nice and we can learn how to put the correct words or verbs in the sentence….

  4. Abdilahi (Posted on 4-16-2021 at 09:23) Reply

    This exercise very knowledgeable for students. I learned a lot of things.

  5. Tatek (Posted on 4-22-2021 at 01:27) Reply

    The exercises are interestig.10q very much!

    1. Mekdi (Posted on 1-17-2024 at 11:06) Reply

      Thank you !! I am from Ethiopian and it support me for exam

  6. youness (Posted on 6-12-2021 at 03:27) Reply

    thank you so mush ,frankly I have had a lot of difficulties to differciate between these two expressions , Now because of I developpe my launguage

  7. lucy (Posted on 11-17-2021 at 04:05) Reply

    idk why but I can´t check my answers

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 11-17-2021 at 15:38) Reply

      Can you try again? A plug-in was causing problems with the site. It should be fixed now.

  8. Chanthabou (Posted on 11-26-2021 at 06:52) Reply

    I love this. It useful and help me alot

  9. Lilya Shindyan (Posted on 5-3-2022 at 15:27) Reply

    I learned a lot. Thank you

  10. Mia (Posted on 5-19-2022 at 14:40) Reply

    I did well on this test.

  11. Sakuraa (Posted on 8-25-2022 at 08:36) Reply

    Thanks a lot . I have khown by doing this exercise.

  12. Alcira Patricia Achata Paiva (Posted on 10-28-2022 at 11:15) Reply

    Hello. Excellent examples to learn the difference between do and make.
    Useful sentences that help us to see the difference according to the rules we studied
    Thank you very much

  13. Pilar de la Mata (Posted on 3-15-2023 at 00:40) Reply

    Thank you for the exercises.

  14. Win (Posted on 8-20-2023 at 09:08) Reply

    These exercises help me a lot to understand the difference between make and do
    Thanks a lot

  15. Kevin Hernández Trujano (Posted on 2-16-2024 at 17:29) Reply

    Toda la encuesta estuvo bien ya que se realizó correctamente y es muy entretenida

  16. Karla Daniela Chávez Román (Posted on 3-14-2024 at 16:04) Reply

    Makes, did, made, make

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