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ESL Lesson: Make or Do?

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Make or Do? or "Doing Time"

In this story you will see many examples of how the two phrasal verbs make and do can be used. Both verbs are often confused as they can be very similar in meaning. Please compare the following two sentences:

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"They do a very good lunch at this restaurant." — "Have you made dinner yet, darling?"

The first sentence describes an activity that takes place on a regular basis:

"They do (offer) a good lunch every day in this restaurant."

The second sentence focuses on a one time situation:

"Have you made dinner yet?"

Make and do are Phrasal Verbs which means they can have a great variety of meanings and often you simply have to learn these phrases.

Now read the short story and try to work out what the expressions in italics mean.

"Doing Time"

There is nothing worse than making a mistake in public. If you make one in private, that''s not so bad. Unfortunately I did it in public, made a mistake I mean. And it all had to do both with my car and also with my very bad sense of direction.

I just do not remember which direction I have taken before I go into a building. When I come out, I make a complete fool of myself because I am not sure whether to turn right or left. In the end I make the best of it and do what I can without making a fuss and just keep walking. A situation like this of course doesn''t do any harm to anyone and with a bit of luck I make it back to the place where I started from before the day is done. But then there are other times when you make the wrong decision and then you run the risk of doing time for your actions. You can easily make someone angry if you don''t do the right thing. Take what happened last week. I really did it that day. It was a beautifully sunny morning and I had been doing about 60-70 miles an hour on the motorway on my way to buy a desk at a special shop where they did special designs and made wonderful pieces of furniture.

Fortunately there was a large car park. The difficulty for me was that it was enormous and there did not seem to be any room left so I had to make for the back, which was a long way from the shop. By the time I had reached the entrance, I felt quite exhausted and as they did a good lunch there, I decided to eat first and at the same time do my homework and look through the catalogue in order to make the right choice. The man who owned the shop and the adjoining small factory had once designed a piece of furniture for a member of the Royal Family and that had made him. He did a fair price nevertheless and once I had seen the display of all the desks available, I quickly made my mind up and chose the one that I thought would do for my small study. As it happened, this particular model was available to take away then and there and in no time at all I had done the necessary and was pushing my new desk back to the car park on a large trolley. Finding the car park was the easy bit. The problem was to try and recall where I had left the car, a large green estate that badly needed a wash.

It was very hard work negotiating up and down the rows of cars and I made a face at one driver who seemed determined to do for me but then to be honest I hadn''t made it easy for him because I wasn''t visible behind the desk. At long last I saw my big dusty green car waiting patiently by the hedge where I had left it. As I came closer, I was surprised to see a man with very long hair walking round the car and, I thought, making an attempt to break into it. I decided not to panic, slowed right down and made as little noise as possible. Within a few feet of the car I shouted out, "What do you think you''re doing?" but my words could not really be made out above the noise of the desk sliding off the trolley and stopping within inches of the car. As I bent down to rescue it, I caught sight of the number plate and realized I had done it again. It wasn''t my car and the "car thief" turned out to be the actual furniture designer himself.

I made my apologies and explained that I had mistaken his car for mine. Fortunately, Mike, as he asked me to call him, thought the whole thing was a good joke and made light of the matter. He insisted I come back to the workroom in order that he could make good the damage that had been done to the desk when it fell off the trolley. By the time Mike''s staff had done the necessary repairs, it was quite late and that''s what made finding the car easy.

You see, mine was the only one left in the car park.

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Next:ESL Lesson: Make or Do? (2)

Author: Alan Townend

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