Verb Collocations

By: Mubarak Abdessalami



In case we want to teach our students word associations or collocations for the enrichment of their target language repertoire, I guess we have first to broach the collocations made up from the verbs «do» and «make» because they are very often confused and confusing. If there are any word associations that need such attentiveness and intensive concentrated practice will surely be the cases in which «do» and «make» are used to describe actions. Both of them work better and more authentically than each other because none of them dare replace the other in any domain supervised, predominated and controlled by each one of them. This is said, we have to take it for granted that both of the verbs almost describe the same action. It is this similarity between them which makes it imperative for us -teachers- to show our students the right use for the right reason of the word combinations with the verbs «to do» and «to make» "We'll make dinner provided that you do the dishes". Never can 'do' venture to do the job of 'make' or otherwise 'make' can make any choice concerning the job 'do' does. I simply mean that the verbs 'to do' and 'to make' have already made their decisions about the actions each of both has to handle. In the law of grammar, it is a transgression of the treaty of collocations to say for instance, - Everybody does mistakes.* - Everybody should make his best.* None of the two sentences are tolerated by the rules of collocation and no respectful language user would «make such mistakes». We -all of us- have to do our students a favour by making an extra effort so as to make progress noticeable. 1

You are learning English as a foreign language so you are supposed to be faced with the challenge of using the right word combination for both 'make' and 'do'. Don't forget that your mother language -with all its heavy cultural background- will affect your understanding of this duality of expressing the performance, accomplishment or exertion of an act or a deed in the English language. 'Make' and 'do' express the same thing but each one is used irreplaceably in combination with particular actions. It is easy but you need to continuously practice them so that these crucial details stick in your head. The following table will show you some frequent uses of the word combinations with both do and make. These collocations have to be learnt quite curiously so as not to be confused and therefore confusing. Don't forget that native speakers wouldn't understand you if it happens that you misused the combination.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + the shopping work homework housework the cleaning the cooking the laundry the salad the dishes gardening something nothing a good job business errands a favour a puzzle exercise an exercise science (at school) the washing the washing up a quiz

+ + + + + + +

a text good harm well fine wisely your best

+ progress + a mess + furniture + trouble + war + peace + a change + plans + arrangements + a telephone call + a deal + a scene + an effort + an excuse + a mistake + a noise + trouble + a phone call + a journey + an offer + a suggestion + a speech + a decision + a choice + the bed + a dress + money + a fortune + a profit + friends + food + a meal

+ + + + + + + + + +

breakfast lunch dinner a promise a list a cake a sentence an exception a cup coffee a glass of tea

Do it yourself now
# Write as many sentences with 'make' & 'do' as you can, taking the chart above for guidance.

Examples - We don't normally work on Sundays; but I'll make an exception for you. - The students are going to do the test soon.

- ________________________________________ - ________________________________________ - ________________________________________ - ________________________________________ - ________________________________________

*/ Fill in the blanks with the right word. Click 'do' or 'make' 4

01. Will you _____ me a favour, please? Write something first. 02. It's your turn to _____ the dishes today. 03. I will _____ a list of the things we need. 04. Ok! I will _____ an exception for you. 05. Please, don't _____ mistakes. 06. I need to go out now. It's urgent. I have to _____a phone call. 07. The good students always _____ their homework. 08. My father won't _____ the cleaning. 09. The workers I hire always _____ a good job. 10. My husband never helps me _____ dinner. 11. I always _____ the washing up myself. 12. The students don't like to _____ quizzes. 13. The menu was so good that it was difficult for us to _____ a choice. 14. The soldiers are obliged to _____ their beds every morning. 15. _____ an effort to finish the work before lunch time. 16. The doctor asked me to _____ exercise. 17. I don't know how people can _____ money without hard work. 18. The deadline is for tomorrow and we have to ____ a decision quickly. 19. They wanted to _____ an offer to build the bridge. 20. Can anybody _____ a suggestion? I am completely in the dark. ____________________________________________________________

1. do 2. do 3. make 4. make 5. make 6. make 7. do 8. do 9. make 10. do 11. do 12. do 13. make 14. make 5

15. make 16. do 17. make 18. make 19. make 20. make “Perfect Practice makes perfect” ____________________________________________________________________________ ©

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