The verbs make, do and take often cause problems for English learners. The best way to learn them is in context with nouns and phrases. Here, we explain the different uses of each verb.

What is Mrs Fisher doing? She is making a chocolate cake. Her husband is doing something in the garden.

The hand mixer makes so much noise that Larry can’t do his homework.

If he doesn’t study, he won’t make progress. Tomorrow his class is taking an exam.

When the cake is finished, Mrs Fisher takes a photo of it because it looks so delicious. Then she does the washing up.



  • produce or create something, usually with your hands
Mrs Fisher is making a cake.
  • cause something to happen through your actions
The hand mixer makes a lot of noise.
  • here is a list of things you can make:
make +
make an appointment/arrangement/a plan
make the bed
make a choice/decision
make a drink (tea/coffee/cocktails etc)
make friends
make an impression
make a joke
make a meal (breakfast/lasagne/a sandwich etc)
make a mistake
make money/a fortune
make a phone call
make progress
make time for somebody/something


  • use do with tasks and activities that are undefined
What is Mrs Fisher doing?
  • use do with something, anything and nothing
Mr Fisher is doing something in the garden.
  • use do with activites and tasks
She sends her son upstairs to do his homework.
Larry can’t have any cake until he does the washing up.
  • use do in connection with jobs and professions
What does Mrs Fisher do? = What is Mrs Fisher’s job?
  • Here is a list of thing you can do:
do +
tasks at home
do the cleaning
do the dishes
do the ironing
do the washing
do +
do aerobics
do dance classes
do martial arts
do +
do business
do a course
do your hair/nails/make-up
do your homework
do paperwork
do research
do well/badly


  • use take with particular nouns
Mrs Fisher takes a photo of the cake.
Tomorrow, Larry’s class is taking an exam.
  • here is a list of some things that you can take in English:
take +
take a break/rest
take an exam/a test
take a course/class
take a nap
take notes
take a phone call
take a photo/picture
take a trip