Just Do It (or Make It)?


Photo: He decided to do it, but will he make it?

Knowing what to do with "make" and "do" can make a big difference.

If you follow the basic rules when choosing between the verbs do and make, you will make very few mistakes and generally do well.

Basic difference between DO and MAKE:

To DO is less creative and usually means simply executing very predictable actions.

Example: After you do laundry, your clothes will be clean.

To MAKE is more creative and usually means creating something or producing results more unique to the maker's choices.

Example: When you “make lunch,” you create a meal.

Sometimes Americans say, "We should do lunch sometime soon!" What do they mean?

"Do lunch" means to meet and have a lunch that is made by someone else, such as at a restaurant. Do is used here to mean to complete a task in a simpler sense.

Do is broader and more general. It covers almost everything and can be used as a default over "make." It could refer to capability or availability--or whether or not something is possible at all.

  • I hope there is a job that I can do.

  • We do a few things around the house on the weekends.

  • What does she want to do about this problem?

Sometimes American's say "I can't make it." How is this different from "I can't do it" ?

The phrase "can't make it" means unable to arrive at some point at the right time or for the right result.

  • He can play the piano very well, but he can't make it (arrive) this evening to play for us. (He could do it, but he can't make it.)

  • He needed to answer 80% of the questions correctly to pass the test, but without studying, he did not make it (achieve). (He could have done it, but he didn't make it.)

  • His health was very now, so although he wanted to travel in the spring, he did not make it through (survive) the cold winter. (He wanted to do it, but he did not make it.)

Do and make often appear together.

Here are some examples:

  • We will do (engage in) business together if we can make (create) a contract.

  • When he didn't want to do (complete) all of his exercises, he made (invented) excuses.

  • We will make (decide on) the priorities and try to do (complete) most of the work today.

We made it! We are done.

Thanks for reading. What will YOU do-- and make-- today?

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