yes, therapy helps!
What is the difference between 'do' and 'make'?

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

June 12, 2024

Do . This verb can have a large number of fields of application and different connotations, although its meaning will almost always be linked to the activity.

For a Spanish speaker it may be easy to use such a verb, especially considering that we use it for a wide variety of situations. However, when speaking another language we can find a complication: meet different words for aspects that our native language unifies.

This is what happens with the verb to do and the make, which in a wide variety of situations can have an almost identical meaning when they refer to making an action. ** "Doing something" or "Making something"? What is the difference between "to do" and "to make"? **

  • Related article: "The 80 best short sentences in English (with translation)"

Main differences between the verbs "do" and "make"

The verbs "to do" and "to make" are similar in many ways . Both are irregular verbs that can be translated into Spanish as "to do", and that imply the development of some type of activity. It is not uncommon for speakers of other languages ​​to confuse both verbs.

However, although it can be confusing and complicated to understand for a non-native speaker, the truth is that the verbs "to do" and "to make" have a series of characteristics that make them distinguishable. Below and throughout this article we will try to determine what these differences are.

1. Focus

Theoretically, The main difference between both verbs is that the verb "to do" is used to talk about carrying out an activity , focusing on the fact of having carried it out, or to express general ideas. The use of "to make" is closer to the idea of ​​creating or making something , focusing more on the outcome of the action. It is important to keep in mind that this is not always true, but it does express the general trend. Some examples are the following:

  • I'm doing sport (I'm doing sport)
  • I made the effort to come and think I was sick (He made the effort to come despite being sick)

2. Level of specificity

Another major difference can be found in that, as a general rule, the verb "To make" refers to a specific act or action , while the "to do" refers to general and not very specific activities. Some examples are the following:

  • Do some thinking (Think a little)
  • I'm making some furniture for my house (I'm making some furniture for my house)

3. Product or not product?

In both cases we are talking about the realization of some kind of action . However, it is sometimes possible to observe that while the verb "to do" refers to the fact of doing an action in itself, which usually does not end with the creation of something, the verb "to make" is used in those actions which have a tangible result in the form of some kind of product of the action, which may be physical or not (we can, for example, talk about compromises and / or symbolic elements). For example:

  • She's going to do some research (Will investigate)
  • We once made a boat (Once we made a boat)

4. Auxiliary

The verb "to do" is often used as an auxiliary verb in other sentences in that it does not have the real meaning of "doing" . It is frequently used in interrogative phrases, placing more emphasis on the concrete action that will be carried out than on the fact of doing it in itself. In fact, if we try to translate many sentences in English into Spanish, the verb "to do" is often lost. The verb make usually has more prominence, and when it is used it is usually done to emphasize the fact of having performed an action or created something. Two examples of this are the following.

I'm making a promise "(I'm making a promise) Did you know that? (Did you know?)

5. Knowledge of what is happening

Linked to the level of specificity or generality, we can find that the verb "to do" can be used when speaking of those actions of which we have no previous knowledge, the activity itself is not indicated or that have not appeared in the conversation until then. The verb "to make" usually refers to much more concrete elements that are marked in the conversation (Even at the same time as the sentence is pronounced). To exemplify it we leave two sentences:

  • She's making money with this situation (She's making money with this situation)
  • I do not know what to think about it (I do not know what to think about it)

6. Reference to social aspects

The verb "to make" usually appears in phrases that are talking about an interaction between two people or beings , whether or not they are conversational elements. For example promises, commitments, discussions ... are some examples of situations in which the verb "to make" is usually used. The "to do" usually talks about ideas, acts and more individual elements. Three phrases, for example, could be the following:

  • I'm going to make a speech (I'm going to make a speech)
  • We have a suggestion to make (We have a suggestion to make)
  • I'm gonna do the dishes (I'm going to do the dishes)

Learn English: MAKE or DO? (June 2024).

Similar Articles