Make/do collocations


NoteThis is a very common mistake made when translating from German into English!
Tip: If you can, try to find an alternative verb when translating machen:
Er macht sein Zimmer sauber – He is cleaning his room
In German the word “machen” is used to show both activities and products
Er macht seine Hausaufgaben (activity)
Ich mache einen Kaffee (product)


In English we make a difference between make and do:
Make is used if there is a product – I am making a coffee
Do is used to show an activity – He is doing me a favour


Some words are linked to the word do. This is called collocation. Here are some example words that are linked with do:

business – We do business with France
gardening – I’m doing the gardening
homework – He did his homework
your best – I’m doing my best (Ich tue mein Bestes)
fine – We are doing fine (uns geht es gut)
well – Are you doing well? (geht es Dir gut?)
shopping – Did you do the shopping this morning?

Here are some example words that are linked with make:

mistake – Whoops! I’ve made a mistake.
change – I’ve made a change to the programme
plans – Sorry, I can’t come with you. I’ve made plans for this weekend.
arrangements – Have you made arrangements for next week?
telephone call – Tom’s busy. He’s making a telephone call.
deal – We made a brilliant deal with the Japanese company yesterday
trouble – They’re always making trouble! It’s very annoying.
decision – We’ll have to make a decision soon. The deadline’s nearly up!
profit /loss – The idea of business is to make a profit and not a loss.

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