I have trouble choosing between make and do in a sentence. Could someone please explain them to me?

closed as off topic by tchrist, James Waldby - jwpat7, Mitch, Kit Z. Fox Mar 13 '13 at 0:17

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    If you are an English Language Learner — someone whose first language is not English — who’s looking for the sort of thing an ESL student needs in this regard, then I hazard that you would probably do better on the English Language Learners StackExchange site. In contrast, if you are looking for a seven-page discourse by a linguistics professor on the idiosyncrasies of these two verbs in contemporary and historical English and their cognates in neighboring tongues, then you’ve come to the right place — but your question is too brief. – tchrist Mar 12 '13 at 20:27
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    Alessio, this is a question that you could ask on our new proposal English Language Learners (ell.stackexchange.com). Please, take a look. Thank you. (Downvote is not mine) – user19148 Mar 12 '13 at 20:28
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    Alessio, welcome to ELU. As I said earlier, this site is likely geared toward a different set of questions than this one. But I would like to remark that your question is a fairly common one coming from speakers of Romance languages who are learning English. That’s because there’s no pair of verbs in those languages that correspond in a one-to-one fashion to English make and do. Rather, there is for the most part just one single verb — like IT fare, FR faire, PT fazer, ES hacer. But English make and do each have many special properties beyond even those, too much to write here. – tchrist Mar 12 '13 at 20:49
  • I agree that this is an excellent question for ELL. To stay here, it needs much more context and a much more specific question. – Kit Z. Fox Mar 13 '13 at 0:18

As a native speaker of English (no linguist), I can give a simple answer:

  1. "Make" usually denotes creation of a "new" product or result. Examples: Mother will make dinner. The accident made a lot of noise. Don't make me angry! Exceptions seem to be in informal uses of "make": How did you make out? (This usage means to ask about the quality of one's experience or level of success.) He's on the make. (This is an idiomatic usage)

  2. "Do" is used to denote engagement in a specific task; the product or result (if any) is less important than engagement in the task. Examples: The student must do the homework. My husband hates to do laundry. I have nothing to do this evening. Informal usages: The killer did him in with an ax (murdered). He wants to do her (have intercourse).

Hope this helps.

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