Chinglish 4 (Part II): ‘make’ and ‘do’


In the last post, I looked at the English verbs ‘do’ and ‘make’. Say in Chinese:

do something’

make a cake’

… and you will notice you are using the same verb (sounding a bit like ‘dwoor’). Yet in English there are two verbs.

The difference between do and make is hard to explain, so let’s continue with the second post about these verbs. Remember, knowing which of these goes with the following noun shows ‘a sense of ‘collocation’ – and this phrase is mentioned in the IELTS Band Descriptors (public version) for both Speaking and Writing under Band Score 7!

So, once again, here’s some more practice with these two verbs. Try working which of the following 10 nouns goes after ‘do’ or ‘make’.

Do we do or make

1 some work?

2 a lot of money?

3 something / anything important?

4 up your mind about sth. [ decide]?

5 a tiring activity?

6 your bed?

7 some progress in your career?

8 a difficult task?

9 a service for someone?

10 a phone call?

The answers are:

do is for 1, 3, 5, 8, & 9;

make is for 2, 4, 6, 7, & 10.

And now, try to do some speaking. Ask yourself (or someone else) the following 10 questions:

When did you last do/make 1–10?    


I last did/made 1–10 … [when?] …          

… or …

I have never done/made 1–10 because … [Reason] …           

By the way. See the picture at the top. I made that cake for you, but I want you to do me a favour in return, okay?