Posts by Harvey:
The two verbs “make” and “do” are often confused. Spanish and Portuguese speakers use the verb “hacer” or “fazer” to mean make or do. In English the meanings are similar, but there are differences.
Here are some rules for MAKE:
1. We use the verb “make” when someone creates, constructs or builds something.
• Make a dress
• Make a cake
2. We often use “make” when we refer to preparing food of any kind.
• Make a meal
• Make a cup of coffee
• Make breakfast
3. When we “make” something, this activity usually creates something you can touch.
• Make a cake
Here are some rules for DO:
1. We use the verb “do” when someone performs an action, activity, or task.
• Do a crossword puzzle
• Do the cleaning up
2. We often use “do” when we refer to work of any kind.
• Do your work
• Do homework
• Do laundry
• Do your job
3. When we “do” something, this activity doesn’t usually produce a physical object.
• Do your job
However, there are some exceptions which must be learned which involve standard collocations (phrasal verbs) that are used in English.
• Make plans
• Make an exception
• Make arrangements
• Make a telephone call
• Make a decision
• Make a mistake
• Make noise
• Make money
• Make an excuse
• Make an effort
• Make friends
• Do your best
• Do good
• Do harm
• Do a favor for
• Do business
• Do your nails
• Do badly
Many native speakers have trouble with the verbs “to lie” and “to lay.”
(Note: We are not talking about to lie….to not tell the truth!)
To lie means to recline, or to take a horizontal position on a floor, bed, etc.
I am going to lie on my bed.
She lies on the floor every day and plays with her son.
To lay means to put or place something down on something.
I am going to lay my books on the table.
The hen lays six eggs every day.
One way to remember the difference is to think:
You lie down.
You lay SOMETHING down.
(For all you grammar lovers: to lie is an intransitive verb, while to lay is transitive.)
The next lesson will be on using the correct past tense and perfect tense of the verbs to lie and to lay.
Now try these:
1. Answer an opinion question in less than one minute at least once a day.
This can be with friends or family in a non-stressful situation. Tell them to allow you the time without interruption. If someone offers an opinion about something, respond with reasons to agree or disagree.
2. Talk about an important event in your past.
Try this at dinner or when you are together with friends. Keep it to less than a minute and don’t allow questions or discussion until after you are finished. Describe a gift you received, a person you remember, a toy that you owned, etc.
3. Read a short article and summarize it.
Read a 200 word article and outline it. Summarize the article out loud in 50 words or less.
4. Read a newspaper article and watch a news report about the same subject.
Compare the two and note any differences. Speak about those differences to a friend or relative.
5. Record yourself speaking.
Speak for one minute on any topic. Listen to yourself and note the following:
Am I clear?
Is my vocabulary correct?
Is my grammar correct?
Are my ideas organized?
Ask a friend or teacher to listen to your recording and answer the above questions.
If you diligently practice this exercises on a daily basis, I assure you will do well on the test. Keep me posted on how you did on the TOEFL test.