Make vs do

Make vs. do is difficult to teach. Teachers sometimes say that ‘to make’ means ‘to create’ (e.g. ‘to make a cake’), while ‘to do’ expresses an activity (e.g. ‘to do exercise’). In practice, there are so many exceptions to this rule, it doesn’t hold water.

Instead, you could teach that ‘to do’ means ‘school‘. For example, ‘to do your homework, exercise, research, an investigation, a test or trial.

‘To do’ also means ‘home‘ with, ‘to do housework, a chore, the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning, the shopping and the ironing. The exception to this is ‘bed’ because it is, ‘to make the bed.’

After that, it’s down to memory.

As tutors, we can help with this task by teaching a few collocations during lessons and reviewing them every now and again with a short quiz.

There are, of course, many other collocations using verbs such as ‘to have‘, ‘to take’ and ‘to tell.’

This list contains over 100 collocations, divided by verb rather than vocabulary set to make them easier to memorise.

PDF download 100 collocations

There is also a PDF download to give to your student, to help them study.

100 common collocations

To be

To be scared.

To be in a hurry.

To be hot/cold.

To do

To do your best.

To do a chore.

To do the dishes.

To do homework.

To do housework.

To do an investigation.

To do the ironing.

To do a job.

To do research.

To do a test or trail.

To do the shopping.

To do the washing/laundry.

To make

To make an appointment

To make an announcement.

To make an arrangement.

To make the bed.

To make a choice.

To make a change.

To make a decision.

To make a discovery.

To make an effort.

To make an excuse.

To make a fortune.

To make an impression.

To make a list.

To make a living.

To make a mistake.

To make a noise.

To make an offer.

To make progress.

To make a phone call.

To make a promise.

To make a pact.

To make a request.

To make a reservation.

To make sense.

To make a speech.

To make trouble.

To give

To give an example.

To give someone a fright.

To give someone a hand.

To give a hug.

To give a kiss.

To go

To go bad.

To go bald.

To go bankrupt.

To go blind.

To go broke.

To go on a diet.

To go deaf.

To go mouldy.

To go lame.

To go out of date.

To go on strike.

To go viral.

To go wrong.

To have

To have an argument.

To have an affair.

To have a conversation/chat.

To have food and drink (breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee).

To have a good time.

To have a party.

To pay

To pay attention.

To pay a compliment to someone.

To pay a visit.

To take

To take action.

To take into account.

To take charge.

To take a day off.

To take a day off sick.

To take for granted.

To take a nap.

To take an exam.

Take a holiday.

To take a look.

To take an order.

To take pride in something.

To take place.

To take a photo.

To take a risk.

To take a seat.

To take something seriously.

To take turns.

To tell

To be able to tell.

To tell the difference between two things.

To tell a joke.

To tell a lie.

To tell a secret.

To tell the time.

More collocations

To ask a question.

To ask someone out on a date.

To burst into laughter.

To burst into tears.

To call a meeting.

To commit a crime.

To earn a living.

To hold an election, referendum.

To run a company.

To run a bath.

To show a film.

Final thoughts

What important collocations have we missed? Write your suggestions in the comments section below.

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