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Make and verbs that mean make


The Cambridge Learner Corpus shows that some of the most frequent collocation errors made by candidates in advanced English exams relate to the use of make. Here are some typical errors and their corrections.



I would like to do/give some suggestions (WRONG) --> MAKE some suggestions

I think that I could have/give a contribution to the project (WRONG) --> MAKE a contribution

I expect you to give a formal apology (WRONG) --> make a formal apology

There is still some way to go and lots of improvements to do (WRONG) --> improvements to MAKE

Thank you very much for doing these arrangements (WRONG) --> MAKING these arrangements


Sometimes candidates use make where another verb is required. For example:

We’re going to MAKE a party on Saturday --> HAVE a party

Lana MADE some-interesting -research into her family roots --> DID some interesting research

Other expressions with make

It’s a good idea to make a habit of switching off the lights when you leave a room.

If you always say exactly what you think, you’ll make a lot of enemies.

The team made several attempts to climb the mountain before they finally succeeded.

I hope that they’ll make a success of their new restaurant business.

I have to go to a party for a colleague after work but I will try and make an early escape.
Our research team has made an important discovery about how whales communicate.
When doing your accounts, try to ensure you make all the calculations correctly.

If we move the sofa closer to the window, it’ll make room for the piano.

I first made his acquaintance when he moved in next door, (formal: got to know him|

The house we looked at is just what we want and we’ve decided to make an offer on it.
As no one else has any ideas, I’d like to make a proposal, [make a formal suggestion!

We must make a stand against the casino they propose to build here, [protest about|


Other verbs that mean make




create a good/bad impression

Wear your grey suit to the interview if you want to create a good impression.

slightly more formal than make an impression

create a (+ adj.) atmosphere

The lanterns in the garden create a romantic atmosphere.

more formal than make for a romantic atmosphere

stage a protest

The students staged a protest against rising tuition fees.

= make a formal protest

lodge a complaint

Several people have lodged a complaint about the bank managers rudeness.

= make a formal complaint

rustle up a meal

It took Sam ten minutes to rustle up a meal.

(informal) = make a meal very quickly

run up curtains

This weekend I'm going to run up some curtains for my new room.

= make quickly using a sewing machine

turn in a profit

This month our company should turn in a profit for the first time.

slightly more informal than make a profit

coin a phrase


I wonder who coined the term 'blogging'.


= invent / make up a new phrase


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