Tu cita con el inglés (vol. 7) – Make, Do & Mend

Para la mayoría de los estudiantes de inglés, el dominio adecuado del uso de los verbos “do” y “make” es algo que suele hacerse bastante complicado. Normalmente, tendemos a asociar el “do” con las cosas más intelectuales y el “make” con las más manuales; aquellas que hacemos con nuestras manos. Es una regla que ayuda bastante, pero hay importantes excepciones que es importante conocer, en las que la lógica de lo que se hace con las manos vs lo que requiere un esfuerzo intelectual, como por ejemplo “do the dishes” al referirse a “fregar los platos” no se aplica.

Para sacarnos de dudas e iluminarnos con las expresiones que debemos conocer para hacer un uso correcto de estos importantes verbos, el profesor Ronan O’Donnell nos trae esta semana un interesante artículo sobre el tema, donde combina un poquito de historia con teoría y práctica; pues nada mejor que “make some exercises” para aprender y recordar… ¿o es “do some exercises“?

The last London Olympics took place in 1948 and were known as the Austerity games due to the economic climate of the time. During this pre-Primark/Argos/Ikea era people used to repair torn items of clothing or broken appliances rather than purchasing a cheap replacement. This was due to the lack of basic raw materials and the effects of post World War II rationing.  In an effort to support the population the Government of the day published a famous booklet called ‘Make Do and Mend’ giving tips on how to recycle, repair and reuse everyday articles and materials.

The title of this Government booklet contains two verbs that second language speakers of English often find difficult. To ‘make do’ as it is used in this sense means to manage a situation with whatever means are available or it can also be used to describe a substitute for something that is unavailable.

It is advisable to memorise the following ‘make’ and ‘do’ expressions using written examples. Hopefully this week’s make, do and mend article will give you some tips on how to use the verbs ‘make’ and ‘do’ correctly.

Do is used to describe general tasks, jobs or activities.

    – To do the laundry/ the shopping/ the dishes

    – He did a great job of cleaning the kitchen. 

               And    to talk about general actions and ideas

                             – What are you doing at the weekend?

                             – She never does anything.

Expressions with do

Your best/ your hair/ your nails

An exam/ a test/ a course/ a job

The cleaning/ the cooking/ the housework/ the laundry/ the dishes/ homework/ the shopping/ the gardening/ the washing/ the ironing

Exercise/ somebody a favour

Anything/ nothing/ something

Well/ badly


Make is usually used to describe the action of producing, constructing or creating something.

She is making coffee/lunch/dinner.

This Ford factory makes cars.

Expressions with make

An enquiry/ an excuse/ an arrangement/ an appointment/ an impression/ an exception/ an effort/ an attempt/ an offer/ an observation

A mistake/ a reservation/ a prediction/ a suggestion/ a complaint/ a point/ a fuss/ a choice/ a decision/ a scene/ a difference/ a mess/ a promise/ a comment/ a discovery/ a fool of yourself/ a noise/ a fortune/ a bet/ a plan/ a cake/ a sandwich/ a phone call/ a profit/ a loss/ a joke/ a confession/ a list/ a speech/ a remark/ a move

Your bed/ your mind up

Friends/ fun of someone/ progress/ money/ time / love/ war

Test yourself 

  1. I will do/make dinner.
  2. They are always doing/making fun of his accent.
  3. Excuse me. Could you do/make me a favour?
  4. Jane makes/does a lot of money.
  5. The company made/did a loss again last year.
  6. John does/makes a lot of exercise.
  7. I know it’s difficult. At least do/make an effort.
  8. I would like to do/make an appointment for Wednesday.
  9. I am doing/making my driving test tomorrow.
  10. Can I do/make a suggestion?

I almost forgot, ‘mend’ means to restore something to its previous condition but it can also mean to correct, improve upon or make better and hopefully that is what you have done with your use of ‘make’ and ‘do’.

Answers: 1. make, 2. making, 3. do, 4. makes, 5. made, 6. does, 7. make, 8. make, 9. doing, 10. make

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