Scientific English as a Foreign Language
Answers to Lesson of September 12, 1997
Make and Do

"Make" and "do" are difficult for non-native speakers because often you use only one verb- e.g. "faire", in French and "machen" in German - to express the meanings of both "make" and "do".

It's impossible for me to list all of the different ways that "make" and "do" are used. "Make" is used more frequently in the sense of fabrication, or of successfully achieving a goal. "Do" is more often used for the sense of performing a task or used as an auxiliary verb.

Here are some examples of the most common usages.

Now, here's a test- Two LPM1 students are talking about their research project:

Student 1, "Have you made the sample?"
Student 2, "No, I'll make it tomorrow, then I'll do the experiment."
Student 1, "If you do the experiment, do you want me to write the lab report?"
Student 2, "Yes, I do. I hope that we can make Professor Benoit happy."
Student 1, "It would make me happy if we do."

While watching a cannonball's motion,
Galileo conceived of the notion
That natural laws,
Not mystical Cause,
Ruled the physical world's locomotion.

Though its own view was mostly confused,
The Church was not greatly amused
With this flaunting of Deo
By old Galileo
And ordered it quickly defused.

In spite of the Vatican's dissuasion
Galileo still rose to the occasion.
Though once deemed heretical,
He proved more prophetical
Than those of a clerical persuasion.

-M.J. Murphy

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Created May 11, 1998, by Nancy Burnham and Fred Hutson.