What is the difference between these words?


"How to make something" "How to create something"

Is there any trick i can use to know which one is the more appropriate for the context?

closed as off-topic by Mick, Drew, curiousdannii, Mari-Lou A, Skooba Nov 20 '17 at 21:49

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One rule of thumb, at least for you as a native speaker of Portuguese, is that English make is a quite commonplace word which often works like Portuguese fazer or sometimes preparar or construir, whereas English create is a very slightly fancier word that more closely corresponds to Portuguese criar.

Try it and see whether that “Lusophonic” trick doesn’t help you out here. You should also be ready to use the English verb do in non-auxiliary ways instead of make.

  • Tenho uma outra dúvida: foi apropriado usar "to know which one" ou eu deveria ter usado "for knowing which one"? Essa é outra questão que me confunde bastante. Se puder responder, eu agradeço. De qualquer forma, te dei a melhor resposta, tá? Obrigado. – Seu Madruga Nov 18 '17 at 20:59
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    @SeuMadruga Ambas as versões ("trick to know which one" e "trick for knowing which one") funcionam bem neste caso, mas a verdade é que depende do verbo. – tchrist Nov 18 '17 at 21:32
  • I think “trick to know which one” sounds slightly more natural, in this case. – G Tony Jacobs Nov 18 '17 at 23:28
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    This is a great answer, but requires specific knowledge of Portuguese. Could you please edit in a description or usecases? – OldBunny2800 Nov 19 '17 at 0:05
  • Please don't answer questions like this that so blatantly do not meet the site standards. – curiousdannii Nov 19 '17 at 11:22

First, "make" and "create" can both mean the same thing when people are speaking offhandedly:

make: to bring into being by forming, shaping, or altering material

create: to bring into existence


but there are some subtle differences when a speaker is trying to be precise.

  • If you "create" something, you are making something that you concieved of or designed yourself.

  • If you merely "make" something, you are fashioning or putting together something from someone else's design.

"Make" at the most basic level is a more general word, from the Old English verb macian,

"create" entered Middle English much later, in the 14th Century, and usually refers to a special kind of making:

  • to make or bring into existence something new
  • to produce through imaginative skill
  • design


The Latin verb creare's path into English isn't entirely clear, but it probably follows a common path of such later borrowings: court French or ecclesiastical Latin, or general snootiness.

(Etymological info comes from etymonline)

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