How to Teach MAKE and DO: 4 Clear Tips

How to Teach MAKE and DO
4 Clear Tips

Andrea Pesce
by Andrea Pesce 53,670 views

For most students there are two wicked little verbs, DO and MAKE, that cause quite a confusion.

Does this look familiar? “Every morning I make my homework”. It is an all time classic mistake most students make at some point. We correct and correct but often, the confusion persists. So why don't we take a look at some killer examples and explanations that will definitely help them see the difference between do and make and when to use each one!

When Do We Use MAKE?

Though make is similar to do, it is used in a slightly different way. Generally, we use it for producing, constructing, creating or building something new, something that did not exist before.

  1. 1

    To talk about the materials that are used to make something.

    This statue is made of bronze.
    She lived in a cabin made of wood.
    The toy was made of plastic.
    The sheets are made of cotton

  2. 2

    When something produces an action or reaction.

    Romantic movies make me cry
    The news made her so angry.
    There is too much dust and it is making my nose itch.

  3. 3

    When we talk about meals and foods

    Can you make me a cup of coffee?
    I made dinner last night but you never came.
    It's your turn to make lunch tomorrow.
    My Dad makes the best sandwiches.

  4. 4

    With nouns about speaking and certain sounds:

    She made a joke when she saw what her sister was wearing
    Don't make a sound! Jane is coming and we want to surprise her.
    Please don't make any comments about my haircut.

When Do We Use DO?

  1. 1

    Activities in general without specifying (something, nothing, anything, everything etc.)

    Look! There is a fire! Do something!
    Are you doing anything tomorrow?
    She just wants to watch TV and do nothing.

  2. 2

    Jobs, work or tasks (these jobs and tasks don't produce any physical object). 

    She usually does the cleaning in the morning
    Did you do your homework?
    I need a babysitter. Do you know anyone who does that?

  3. 3

    The meaning of a verb is obvious we can replace it with DO (quite informal).

    Who is going to do your hair for the party?
    You do the glasses and I'll do the dishes.

Help Them Remember!

OK, so let's imagine you go the extra mile to teach your student something challenging like how to use make and do for instance. Is that it? Will they automatically remember everything on their own from then on? Sadly, the answer is no. Despite your amazing use of teaching techniques and preparation, students just forget. Well, in their defense they do have a lot to remember. Here are some great activities that can help your student retain what they have learned.

Activity 1: Prepare cards or strips of paper. On each there should be a sentence using either do or make. Some sentences should be incorrect. Place all the cards on a table and have them identify which are correct and which aren't.

Activity 2: Provide short texts for students that have one or two example of do and make. Have the students read the text and ask them to find the examples. When they are done they can exchange texts with other students to work on finding examples in other texts.

Activity 3: They can do this activity at home. Write a list of activities on the board and and assign one or two to each student. The first task for them is to decide is whether to use make or do. After that they have to write a sentence with each.

Your students will face many challenges while learning.

Keep in mind that what we do can make things much easier for them. The trick to learning anything new is practice. Always provide as much practice as possible and your students will be ready to use what they have learned confidently. As they say, practice makes perfect.

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