Fare = Make or Do (?)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You Italians are lucky. Fare means to make or to do and using it is no problem if you’re speaking Italian, but what about English? Do you use make or do?

Do can be an auxiliary verb (Do you like horses?) or a main verb (I did my laundry yesterday). As an auxiliary verb, it has no meaning; it is necessary only for the grammatical structure. As a main verb it has a meaning which often expresses a general activity or work.

Make is always a main verb (I made a skirt for my daughter). Its meaning usually expresses construction or creation.

Let’s compare:

  • Do a favor. (We don't really create anything. We just "do" an activity).
  • Make some coffee. (We really create something).
  • Now please do something for me. Make me a sandwich. I’m hungry.

    ps: There are some standard expression for make and do that I recommend learning. You’ll sound like a native speaker--I guarantee it!

    DO: do badly, do business, 
 do the dishes, 
 do a favor, 
 do good, 
 do harm, 
 do time - (to go to prison), 
 do well
, do your best
, do your hair, 
 do your nails, 
 do your worst

    MAKE: make arrangements, 
make believe - (to pretend), 
make a choice, 
make a comment, 
make a decision, 
make a difference, 
make an effort
, make an inquiry, 
make an excuse, 
make a fool of yourself, 
make a fortune
, make friends, 
make a fuss, 
make a journey, 
make a mess, 
make a mistake, 
make money, 
make a move, 
make a noise, 
make a phone call
, make a plan
, make a point, 
make a profit, 
make a promise, 
make a remark, 
make a sound
, make a speech, 
make a suggestion, 
make time, 

make your bed - (to prepare the bed for sleeping in)

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