Do and make are two verbs frequently confused in English. Both are translated as “hacer”, but there are some differences in meaning. In general, with do what it is considered is the action itself, and
with make we refer to the result of the action.



We use do for actions, activities and works. It is used in the wide meaning of “achieve” or “carry out”. In general, these actions and activities do not produce an object.



  • do homework
  • do a job
  • do the dishes
  • do housework
  • do exercise


We use do when we talk about things in general, when we do not say exactly the activity. In this sense, it is widely used with indefinite pronouns “something”, “anything”, “nothing”, …



  • What are you doing today? I'm not doing anything.
  • He's always doing nice things for his girlfriend.
  • Are you doing anything important right now?





Make is used with the sense of “manufacture”, “produce” or “create”. It is used for activities in which you create something you can touch, an object.



  • make breakfast
  • make a dress
  • make furniture

There are many expresions that use make in which you do not the sense is not “manufacture”, “produce” or “create”, and “do” seems more appropriate, but they are collocations that use “make” and you have to study them.




For the housework:  DO + the + -ing

the cleaning

hacer limpieza

the cooking


the gardening

arreglar el jardín

(my, your, his...) homework

hacer los deberes, tareas

the housework

hacer las tareas de la casa

the ironing


the silver

limpiar la plata

the shopping hacer las compras
the washing [UK]/ the laundry [US] poner la lavadora
the washing-up [UK]/ the dishes [US] fregar


(possessive) best (to) hacer todo lo que (sujeto) puede (para)
(possessive) hair arreglarse el pelo
business (with) hacer negocios con)
a course (in - on) hacer un curso (de) 
some damage / harm (to) hacer daño, perjudicar  (a)
a deal (with) [UK] hacer un trato (con) 
a degree (in) [university] hacer una carrera [universitaria] (en)
some dictation hacer un dictado
drugs tomar drogas
a drawing, a portrait, a sketch hacer un dibujo, un retrato, un boceto
justice hacer justicia
(possessive) duty cumplir con (posesivo) obligación
an exercise hacer un ejercicio
research investigar
an experiment hacer un experimento
someone a favour (for) hacer un favor a alguien
good / evil hacer (el) bien / (el) mal 
(possessive) hair / teeth / nails... arreglarse el pelo / lavarse los dientes / hacerse las uñas...
a good / bad job hacer un buen trabajo
an outline, a diagram hacer un esquema, diagrama
an operation (sum, multiplication, division...) hacer una operación (suma, multiplicación, división...)
something over again volver a hacer algo
overtime hacer horas extra
a problem / a puzzle hacer un problema / puzzle
a project hacer un proyecto
research (on) hacer investigaciones (sobre)
the right thing hacer lo correcto
wrong hacerlo mal, algo incorrecto
sport hacer deporte
+ studies (Italian, maths...) hacer + estudios (italiano, mates...)
someone (for) multar a alguien (por)
a translation (into) hacer una traducción, traducir (al)
something well / badly hacer algo bien / mal
some work hacer un trabajo (una tarea)
wonders hacer maravillas


that will do it esto vale 
to be done estar acabado (algo) / ser engañado (alguien)
to have nothing to do with ... no tener nada que ver con ...


an accusation (against) hacer una acusación (contra)
an agreement (with, about) hacer un acuerdo (con, sobre)
an announcement (to) hacer un comunicado (a)
an appointment / a date (with) concertar una cita  formal / informal (con)
arrangements / plans (for) hacer preparativos / planes (para)
an attempt (to + infinitive)) hacer un intento (de + infinitivo)
the bed hacer la cama
believe (that) hacer creer, fingir (que)
breakfast, dinner, a sandwich, ... hacer el desayuno, la comida, un sandwich, ...
a change (in) hacer un cambio (en)
choice elegir
a clean copy pasar a limpio
something clear (to) dejar algo claro (a)
a comment (about) hacer un comentario (sobre)
a complaint (about) presentar una queja (acerca de, sobre)
a confession hacer una confesión
a deal (with) [US] hacer un trato, negociar (con)
a decision (about) decidir, tomar una decisión (acerca de , sobre)
a difference (to) haber diferencia con)
a discovery hacer un descubrimiento
a down payment dar de entrada, dar una señal
an effort (to) hacer un esfuerzo (para)
an estimate (of) hacer una estimación, cálculo (de) 
an exception hacer una excepción
an excuse (for) poner una excusa(para)
a fire encender un fuego
a fool of oneself hacer el tonto
friends hacer amigos
friends (with) hacer amistad (con)
fun of hacer burla de , ridicularizar
a fuss (about, over something) armar jaleo (por algo)
a fuss (over someone) mimar, consentir (a alguien)
gestures / faces (at) hacer muecas (a)
a good/bad impression (on) causar buena / mala impresión (a / en)
a guess (at) [UK] intentar adivinar
an impression causar una impresión
some inquiries (into) pedir información, informarse (sobre)
an investment (in) invertir, hacer una inversión (en)
an interview (to) hacer una entrevista (a)
a journey, a trip, a voyage un viaje, un viaje corto, un viaje por mar
a list (of ) hacer una lista de
a living (with / doing) ganarse la vida (con /haciendo)
love (to) hacer el amor (con)
a mess hacer un lío 
mistakes (in) cometer errores
money / a fortune  ganar dinero / hacer una fortuna
a movement hacer un movimiento
noise / a sound hacer ruido / un ruido
an offer (for) hacer una oferta (por)
oneself at home ponerse cómodo
a payment (for /of) hacer un pago (por / de)
peace firmar la paz
a phone call (to) hacer una llamada (a / para)
a plan hacer un plan
a profit (on / out of) obtener una ganancia, unos beneficios (de)
progress (in) hacer progresos (en) 
a promise (to) hacer una promesa
public hacer público
a recommendation (to) hacer una recomendación, sugerencia
a remark (about someone / on something) hacer un comentario, una observación (sobre, acerca de alguien /algo)
a request (for) pedir algo
a reservation (for) hacer una reserva
a resolution tomar una decisión
room (for) hacer sitio (para)
a scene hacer una escena
sense (to) tener sentido (para) / terner significado
a speech (to) hacer un discurso (para)
a statement (to) hacer una declaración (a), una afirmación
a suggestion hacer una sugerencia
sure (about) asegurarse
make time encontrar tiempo
trouble crear problemas
up a story, an excuse inventarse una historia, una excusa
up one's mind decidirse 
war  hacer la guerra
way abrirse camino, progresar
a wish pedir un deseo


make someone + adjetivo hacer / poner a alguien + adjetivo
make someone + verb (in infinitive)



PLAY, GO and DO 


Go + sport means there's movement (locomotion) in the sport, that it's not done all in one place. Sports verbs where the actual activity is the verb also take "go".

cycle / go cycling
ski / go skiing
swim / go swimming

surf / go surfing

sail / go sailing

Even with non-sport activities done in one place, there is the feeling that you must go somewhere to do them, like,

go fishing

go hunting

Note, in general, these are "singular" sports, although they can be competitive, but not so much on a team level.

do + sport is for sports done in one place,

do boxing*
do body-building*
do archery

*As you can see, the go + ~ing rule mentioned normally isn't entirely accurate.

"Do" is also normally used for particular recreational activities, especilly those of a singular nature, and not so much for sports.

 I do (practice) yoga.
Mr. Smith does crossword puzzles

play + sports normally involve a ball or some such object (puck, birdie, disc etc.). Also take "play" the names of sports that do not describe the particular "action" of the sport.

play tennis
play soccer/football
play basketball
play lacrosse
play rugby

Note, in these sports, there is a sense of competitiveness, that at the end of the day, there will be a winner and a loser in the match and/or game.

Tiger Woods plays golf.
My brother-in-law goes golfing on the weekends.

I go swimming to keep fit*

I swim competitively*

* Be careful

One notable exception is golf, which can use several forms.

Mr. Jones golfs every Friday afternoon.
My husband plays golf when the weather is nice.  In fact, he is going golfing with his friends this weekend.