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Using Collocations with Do and Make

Ask students if they can explain the difference between do and make. Try to elicit that we generally use do for activities that we perform and make when we create something that did not previously exist. Explain that there are many exceptions to this general rule and that it is important to know some common collocations with make and do.  

Give students a copy of the chart below which includes some common make and do collocations. Then have students do the practice exercise and conversation questions.


make a choice
make a comparison
make a complaint
make a connection
make a contribution
make a decision
make a demand
make a difference
make a fortune
make a living
make a mess
make a mistake
make a noise/sound
make a point
make a profit
make a promise
make a request
make a suggestion
make a telephone call
make an appointment
make an attempt
make an effort
make an exception
make an excuse
make an offer
make changes
make clear
make ends meet
make money
make payments
make plans
make progress
make the best of something
make the most of something
make time
make sense
make sure
a job well done
do a crime
do an experiment
do business
do damage
do good/bad
do harm
do research
do right/wrong
do someone a favor
do something/anything
do well
do your best
do your duty
do your part
do your share


Practice Exercise

Have students try this do vs. make practice exercise.


Conversation Questions

Discuss the following in groups.  Be sure to use the correct “make” and “do” collocations.

1. Have you ever tried to help someone at work but ended up doing more harm than good? What happened? Tell your group about it.

2. Tell your group about a difficult choice you had to make. What decision did you end up making? Why did you make that choice?

3. What’s the biggest professional mistake you’ve ever made? What were the consequences of making this mistake?

4. Tell your group about a time you did your best but it wasn’t good enough.

5. Did you have to do a lot of group projects when you were in college? Did everyone always do their part?

6. Have you ever done someone a really big favor? What was it? Did the person appreciate it?

7. What are some things business professionals can do to make sure they are able to make time for their loved ones?

8. Tell your group about a time you thought you did something well but other people didn’t agree with you.

9.  Benjamin Franklin said “He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.” Agree or disagree. Explain your position to your group.

10. Did you have to write a thesis when you were in college? If so, what did you do your research on?

11. What changes have you made recently in your personal and professional life? How have these changes affected your life?

12. Agree or disagree:  Everyone, regardless of their income, should make charitable contributions.  Tell your group your opinion.

13. Is it harder to make ends meet now than it was 20 years ago? Explain.

14. What things are prohibited at work? Does management ever make exceptions? Explain.