Do vs. Make

Today we are going to look at the difference between DO and MAKE in English. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between these words as both can be defined by the Italian verb fare. But there is an important difference! The verb do is typically used for actions to describe the process of and action or to describe responsibilities. Here is an example:

  • I do my homework every night.
  • I do all the cooking in my family.

Conversely, the verb make is typically used we we describe a process that directly produces something or for phrases were we want to emphasize the outcome of our action rather than the action itself! Here are some examples:

  • I am making a sweater. *** notice the product—the sweater— is the emphasis of the sentence.
  • I made a decision. *** decision is the emphasized product of the action.

But the difference is not always clear and it could be a good idea to memorize if a noun takes on the verb do or make. To help you get a start here are some commonly used English nouns that take on the word do:

  • Favour
  • Laundry
  • Test
  • Shopping
  • Exercise
  • Cooking
  • Homework

Here are some commonly used English nouns that take on the verb make:

  • Apology
  • Mess
  • Phone call
  • Sound
  • Coffee
  • Bed
  • All meals
  • Effort
  • Change


As a bonus side note on the translation of the verb fare into English, in the phrase “fammi sapere” in Italian, a correct translation into English would be “let me know” rather than do or make!


Do vs. make quiz

Now as an exercise to practice I am going to give you some example sentences and you have to decide if you think the noun takes do or make as the verb!

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