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044 Business Collocations with Make & Do

Business collocations with do and make

Hi there and welcome back to another episode of the Art of Business English. Today I have a great episode for you. We are going to focus on business collocations with Make and Do. Remember, if you haven’t taken a look at the episode on the difference between make and do then check it out. It is one of our most popular episodes and it is really useful. We will put a link to it in the show notes.

Many people struggle with collocations, so if you’re one of them, then you’re going to love today’s episode. Furthermore, we are going to be looking at one of the most difficult collocations. Deciding whether you should use make or do.

In today’s episode we are going to cover the following four points:

  1. A quick review of the difference between make and do
  2. Business collocations with make
  3. Business collocations with do
  4. Example sentences with some of these collocations in context

So, let’s kick things off by reviewing the differences between make and do.

The difference between make and do


OK, so firstly we need to be aware that the confusion lies in the fact that there is no distinction between Do and Make in Spanish, the verb is the same hacer. Here is where many Spanish speakers run into trouble. This is because trying to choose between make and do is a lottery.

Remember, collocations are fixed expressions so they generally can’t be changed. We have strong collocations and weaker collocations. Strong collocations means that there is only one possible verb that can go with a word to form a collocation, while a weaker collocation may allow two or more verbs to collocate with it. Usually make and do are strong collocations.

A quick example would be:


To make the bed


To lay the table / To set the table


Let’s take a look at how we generally differentiate between make and do.




In English, we use Make as a verb that is related to construction, fabrication, planning or production. So, when we use it, we need to try and remember it in this context. For example, “Make arrangements”. To make arrangements means to make plans or to organise something.




Regarding Do, basically, do is used when talking about performing actions. For example, “Do your homework”. As you can see, this is a task that is being performed.

So, now that we understand the difference between make and do, as well as what are strong and weak collocations, let’s move onto the common business collocations. First, we will look at do.

What I have done is given you the collocation in English and then the translation.


Business collocations with do


accountsHacer las cuentas
a job well doneHacer un buen trabajo
business            Hacer negocios
a crimeCometer un delito
a dealHacer un trato
due diligence Hacer [algo] con la diligencia debida
paperworkHacer papeleo
researchBuscar/hacer una investigación
an experimentUn experimento
damageHacer daño
good/well/badHacerlo bien/mal
right/wrongHacerlo bien/mal
someone a favorHacer un favor a alguien
your bestHacer lo mejor que puedas
your dutyCumplir con tu deber/obligación
your partHacer tu trabajo
your shareHacer tu parte


So, those are some business collocations with do. So, let’s move on and take a look at some business collocations with make.


Business collocations with make


a choiceTomar una decisión/elegir
a complaintHacer/presentar una queja
a decisionTomar una decisión
a demandexigir
a differenceHacer la diferencia
a requestHacer una petición
a profitHacer/sacar ganancias
a fortuneHacerse millonario/ forrarse
a livingGanar un sueldo
make ends meetLlegar a fin de mes
make the most/best of somethingSacar lo mejor de algo
a dealHacer un trato
a suggestionHacer una sugerencia
an offerHacer una oferta
an appointmentPedir cita/hora


Right, well now that we have our list of common business collocations, let’s look at some of them in context.


Example sentences in context


Here we are putting these sentences into a meeting context. Again, I will give you the sample sentence and then the translation.

His boss told him to do the accounts by the end of that week.Su jefe le dijo que hiciera las cuentas esa semana.
After seeing the numbers for the trimester, their boss congratulated the team for a job well done Después de ver los números de ese trimestre, su jefe los felicitó por haber hecho un buen trabajo.
She is the best in our team to do a deal. Es la mejor del equipo para hacer un trato.
Nobody likes doing paperwork, but he actually doesnt mind. A nadie le gusta hacer el papeleo, pero a él no le importa.
Before launching a product, you must do a little bit of researchAntes de lanzar un producto, debes hacer un poco de investigación.


He made the wrong choice and the company had to fire him.                 Tomó una mala decisión y la empresa tuvo que despedirle.
She made a complaint to her boss explaining why she should have got the promotion and she got it!Presentó una queja a su jefe explicando porqué ella debería haber conseguido el ascenso, ¡y se lo dieron!
She is luckier than most because she makes ends meetTiene más suerte que muchos porque llega a fin de mes.
He is always so positive, he makes the most of everything!¡Es tan optimista, siempre saca lo mejor de todo!
As a client, I made a suggestion so they could improve their service. Como cliente hice una sugerencia para que mejoraran el servicio.


Final thoughts


Well there you have it my friends, common business collocations with make and do. As I am sure you will have heard before, especially if you have been listening to my podcast for a while, the best way to learn these is by choosing two or three of your favourites and start by consciously using them in your next interaction. You can start by trying to pop them into your next business meeting in English or you could write them in an email. Once you feel that you have internalised these expressions, come back and grab a couple more. You will have them perfect in no time.

Well, that is all we have time for today. I hope you have found this vocabulary interesting and above all useful. Make sure you head over to the AOBE website and grab your free month of premium access to your platform. There you will find the transcripts, quizzes and weekly coaching.

In the meantime, have a great week and I look forward to seeing you all next week.



Are you looking to expand your knowledge of English vocabulary and expressions? 

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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