English for Portuguese Students – Fazer


Make’ versus ‘Do’

In Portuguese you have a very useful word ‘ fazer’ which can mean a few different words/verbs in English.

Brazilian speakers however, normally struggle with two specific meanings/verbs; ‘to make’ and ‘to do’

In English “fazer” can mean both “make “ or “do”. But in English “make” and “do” are not interchangeable, in other words, they do not necessarily mean the same thing.

You have to learn when to use ‘make’ and when to use ‘do’.

Let’s look at some general rules:

We normally use the verb “do” to express daily activities or routines,


  • to do housework
  • to do dishes
  • to do homework
  • to do the cooking

With these examples you see that nothing is ‘made’ or constructed (construir) It is simply the completion of a chore.

Now look at the following examples

  • Hyndai makes cars
  • Please make some tea

Note: We use the verb “make” when something is made/produced/manufactured (construir).

The following two simple sentences will illustrate the differences clearly:

“They do the dishes” and “They make the dishes”

In the first sentence they ‘clean/wash’ the dishes, and in the second sentence they ‘manufacture’ them.

There are of course exceptions to this rule with some general expressions, but, unfortunately, you must simply learn them, for example:

  • To make a telephone call.
  • To make an appointment.
  • To make plans for the weekend.
  • To make a decision, or
  • To make up your mind.
  • You can also make mistakes (but your teacher can ask you) to do the corrections.

Note the following:

In Portuguese you say: Faz uma prova “Do” or “make” a test? What do we say in English?

  • We take a test – in the USA
  • We write a test – in England
  • We take or write a test in Canada or South Africa.

Here are a few other translations of ‘fazer’ in English.

  • Fazer uma pergunta – Ask a question.
  • Fazer algum dinheiro – Make some money
  • Tente fazer algo – Try to do something
  • Fazer uma pausa – Take a breather/break
  • Fazer anos – (to make years) to celebrate a birthday
  • Fazer a barba – (to make a beard) to shave
  • Fazer compras – (to make purchases) to shop/to do the shopping
  • Fazer as pazes – to make peace.

Please read our blog regularly. During the month of March we will look at some more problems that Brazilian speakers have when they learn English.

Do try and practice your English with a native language speaker – everyday! Take care!


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