My daughter's teacher (a Canadian in Italy) gave the class an exercise. They had to choose among make, do, take, run, keep and give, and insert the correct response in front of "a laugh". We are American and we were mystified. Is here a correct choice?

  • 2
    In google Ngrams, "make a laugh" is the clear winner, but in the time frame 1820-1900. Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 11:23
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    The 'correct' choice would appear to be None of the above Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 13:49

3 Answers 3


I believe they're looking for give a laugh.

Though I wouldn't use that phrase by itself, I've frequently seen usages like "he gave a hearty laugh."

  • 3
    I should add that the exercise itself might be flawed. I've taught English abroad and often saw (and still see) mistakes in the textbooks themselves, as they're written by non-native speakers.
    – user13141
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 8:25
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    I agree. I think "give a laugh" is literary, rather than vernacular.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 11:13

I agree with the two previous posters that only ‘give’ comes close.

One the teacher might have inclued is ‘have’, as in

You’re ‘avin’ a larf, incha?

  • 1
    Very British but thank you...I had a laugh when I read it.
    – Susan
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 15:04

Something hilarious might 'give' you a laugh.

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