Make or Do

Make or do1. I made a mistake!

2. I did a mistake!

Which of the above would you say?

Number 1. is the right choice. When to use the verbs make or do can often be an area of uncertainty for English language learners.

A general rule of thumb is to use make when you have created something, and use do when you are talking about an activity. There are always exceptions to this and you must just memorize those.

Make or do in a sentence

  • Make

Examples:

I made a cake last weekend.

Can you make me a cup of coffee, please?

The children made a poster in art class.

After I’ve finished making lunch, I’ll go to the post office.

  • Do

Examples:

I did the dishes and now the kitchen is clean.

Have you done your homework?

I do sports every other day.

I’m going to do some shopping tomorrow.

There are many other expressions with make and do:

Make Do
Make an appointment / plan / arrangements Do business
Make a decision / choice Do your hair / makeup / nails
Make the bed Do the laundry / cleaning / washing
Make friends Do research
Make a mistake Do homework
Make a joke Do sports / yoga / pilates 
Make a phone call Do work / paperwork
Make money / a profit Do badly / well
Make a difference Do taxes
Make time / space for something / someone Do time (in jail or prison)
Make art / poetry Do a project