Do vs. Make

When I started learning Spanish, I realised that there is only one word for these two verbs in English: ‘hacer’. It made me understand more easily why some English learners get these two verbs confused.

Here is my tip to remember when to use which:


Do is used for taking action to achieve something. To participate in intangible activities, work and exercises.
For example:

  • Work, study, a course, business, a good/bad job
  • Housework, Laundry, Dishes, Shopping (Exception: You ‘make’ the bed!)
  • An action in general: to do well, do badly, do your best, do the right thing.

I like to do exercise in the morning.
Stop talking and do your work!
Sorry I can’t come out, I have to do a lot of work. (Or “I have a lot of work to do”.)

  • You can also use the word ‘make’ to discuss achieving a goal or objective.

I did it!
Don’t give up, you can do it!


This is used when you are preparing, producing, constructing, or building something. ‘Make’ usually refers to the result of your actions. For example:

  • Food (a salad, a sandwich, a cup of tea, a coffee, breakfast, a snack)
  • Objects (if you construct/build them yourself)
  • Music
  • Money
  • Friends
  • A call
  • A joke
  • A decision, suggestion, recommendation, comment, observation

I’m need to make a phonecall.
I made the decision to change my course
He made four sushi rolls for dinner.
On Mothers Day, the boy made a card for his mother.
He made suggestions on how to improve my English.
My father made this house with his own hands.

Does this word confuse you? In what situations have you been confused by these words in the past? Comment below!

The Cookie Chef.


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