English Expressions

One thing that can really help you to speak English fluently and naturally is: to learn English Collocations. These are common combinations of words.


For example in English, we say:

Do your exercise, and not: make your exercise
do your homework and not: make your homework.

Common English Expressions

  • do the housework.
    The woman had no time to do the housework.
  • make a payment.
    He went to the bank and made a payment.
  • do the laundry.
    The man was too lazy to do the laundry. All his clothes were dirty.
  • do the dishes
    Please do the dishes afterwards.
  • do the shopping
    The boy went to school and did the shopping afterwards.
  • Usually foreign students find it difficult to combine words the best way This is the reason why their English sounds "strange" or "unnatural."

    If you know common English expressions (collocations) you don't have to think about combining each individual word, but you can use the natural "chunks" that you've learned.

    Basic Difference between DO and MAKE

  • Use DO for actions, obligations, and tasks.
  • Use MAKE if you produce or create something.
  • DO refers to the action, and MAKE refers to the result.
  • To make a payment, the result is, you created a payment. To make a cake. Result: a cake was created.

    For example:

    ACTION

    DO the homework
    DO the shopping
    DO work
    DO exercise
    DO business
    DO a good job
    DO something
    DO nothing
    DO your best

    PRODUCE

    MAKE a cake
    MAKE a payment
    MAKE money
    MAKE a profit
    MAKE love
    MAKE a promise
    MAKE a sandwich
    MAKE a cup of tea

    Learn words that go together naturally in English, because in many cases there aren't specific rules for how to combine words. So you have to just memorize them.

    Common English Expressions with DO

  • do the shopping
    The husband went home and did some shopping afterwards.
  • do the housework
    He was single and had to do the housework himself.
  • do the laundry
    You better do the laundry now!
  • do the dishes
    The guest did the dishes after diner.
  • do work
    He has to do a lot of work this week.
  • do homework
    You can play when you've done your homework.
  • do business
    Don't do business with him, he is unreliable.
  • do a job
    Do your job and stop talking.
    (the word job does not always refer to work, but can also mean different activities, for example: painting your bathroom, etc.)
  • do damage
    This storm did a lot of damage to the house.
  • do a report
    I did a report about Germany last week.
    (writing a report = action)
  • do a course
    My son did a course at the college.
    (to take a course = action)
  • do exercise
    I dislike doing exercises.
  • do your hair (style your hair = action)
    Hurry up! Do your hair quickly.
  • do your nails (paint your nails = action)
    She did her nails ten minutes ago.
  • do anything / something / everything / nothing
    Are you doing anything?
    Doing something is better than doing nothing.
  • do crosswords
    My mother loves doing crosswords.
  • do well
    She did pretty well in the exam.
  • do badly
    We all did badly at work.
  • do well
    This man has done well at the casino last week.
  • do the right thing
    I called the police because I wanted to do the right thing.
  • do your best
    Do your best and you will get this job.


  • Common English Expressions with MAKE

  • make the bed
    The mother told the boy to make his bed after lunch.
  • make breakfast/lunch/dinner
    My mother is making dinner.
  • make a sandwich
    I don't like to make a sandwich now.
  • make a salad
    She made a salad for all of us.
  • make a cup of tea
    She made a cup of tea.
  • make a reservation
    The secretary made a reservation for him.
  • make money
    He makes a lot of money in his bank job.
  • make a profit
    The new company made no profit at all this year.
  • make a fortune
    To make a fortune you have to invest a lot of money.
  • make a million
    He made a million in the casino last night playing blackjack.
  • make friends
    You can't make any friends here.
  • make love (= have sex)
    This couple made love in the hotel.
  • make fun of someone (to tease)
    The other workers made fun of her because she was fat.
  • make a phone call
    Wait! She needs to make a phone call.
  • make a joke
    The driver made a joke but no one laughed.
  • make a point
    The manager made a good point during the meeting.
  • make a bet
    My brother made a bet with his friend to see who could catch more fish.
  • make a complaint
    The secretary made a complaint with her restaurant manager about the terrible food.
  • make a confession
    The boy made a confession to his teacher.
  • make a speech
    The nurse made a speech about health in the hospital.
  • make a suggestion
    Can I make a suggestion? I think you should do a course about German.
  • make a prediction
    It's nonsense to make any predictions about your future.
  • make an excuse
    When the boss asked him if he'd repaired the car, he started making excuses.
  • make a promise
    His uncle made a promise to help him to repair the car.
  • make a fuss (acting being annoyed)
    Don't make a fuss! He's late, so what?
  • make an observation
    The core skill of a scientist is to make an observation and draw conclusions.
  • make a comment University will not award honorary degree to woman because she has made comments critical of Islam.
    The neighbour made a critical comment about my look.
  • Exception:
  • ASK a question (not: make a question)
    I asked a question about getting married.
    How to ask questions the smart way?

  • make plans
    I made plans to travel to Thailand next summer.
  • make a decision
    She has made her decision about getting married.
  • make a mistake
    This woman made a serious mistake at work.
  • make progress
    He is not making any progress in life.
  • make an effort (try)
    I'm making an effort to quit smoking.
  • make up your mind (= decide)
    Should I buy this car or not? I can't make up my mind.
  • make a discovery
    The researchers have made an important discovery at a research lab.
  • make a list
    She makes a list of everything she needs for her trip to Vietnam.
  • make sure (confirm)
    Make sure that you get this job done before tomorrow.
  • make a difference
    I stopped smoking. This makes a big difference. I feel much better.
  • make an exception
    I'll make an exception and let you stay up as late as you want.


  • Exercises

    When you do these exercises then hover with your mouse over the marked area to see the solution.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Susan ...... (do, make) her best at the interview last week but she still didn't get the job.

    They ...... (do, make) a lot of noise at the party last night.

    The student ...... (do, make) a payment every month to pay off his car as soon as possible.

    You ...... (do, make) a mistake yesterday in your calculations.

    Hurry up! ...... (do, make) your move. It's your turn.

    He ...... (do, make) no profit in the casino last week.

    If you ...... (do, make) a loss then you get fired.

    Are you ...... (do, make) business with him?

    You are not allowed to ...... (do, make) business in this country.

    He ...... (do, make) a promise to his boss that he'd never drink again.

    She ...... (do, make) a reservation for five people.

    Don't ...... (do, make) any damage to the plants.

    I ...... (do, make) badly on the exam.

    He ...... (do, make) well and made a lot of money.

    Tom ...... (do, make) a mess of the kitchen.

    How are you ...... (do, make)?

    ...... (do, make) your call now!

    ...... (do, make) a course to study German.



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