The Uses of Verb "To Do" - Quynh Huong Center for Foreign Language Translation & Education

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8 Oct 2014

The Uses of Verb "To Do"

  • [Vn] used to refer to actions that you do not mention by name or do not know about: What are you doing this evening? The Company ought to do something about the poor service. There's nothing to do (= no means of passing the time in an enjoyable way) in this place. There's nothing we can do about it (= we can't change the situation). What can I do for you (= how can I help)?
  • [V + adv. / Prep.] Do (as) to act or behave in the way mentioned: Do as you're told! They are free to do as they please. You would do well to (= I advise you to) consider all the options before buying.
  • [V + adv. / Prep.] Used to ask or talk about the success or progress of sb/sth: How is the business doing? She did well out of (= made a big profit from) the deal. He's doing very well at school (= his work is good). Both mother and baby are doing well (= after the birth of the baby). (Informal) How are you doing (= how are you)?
  • [Vn] to work at or perform an activity or a task: I'm doing some research on the subject. I have a number of things to do today. I do aerobics once a week. Let's do (= meet for) lunch. (Informal) Sorry. I don't do funny (= I can't be funny).
  • [Vn] used with nouns to talk about tasks such as cleaning, washing, arranging, etc.: to do (= wash) the dishes to do (= arrange) the flowers. I like the way you've done your hair.
  • [Vn] do the ironing, cooking, shopping, etc. | do some, a little, etc. acting, writing, etc. to perform the activity or task mentioned: I like listening to the radio when I'm doing the ironing.
  • [Vn] (usually used in questions) to work at sth as a job: What do you do (= what is your job)? What does she want to do when she leaves school? What did she do for a living?
  • [Vn] to learn or study sth: I'm doing physics, biology and chemistry. Have you done any (= studied anything by) Keats?
  • [Vn] to find the answer to sth; to solve sth: I can't do this sum. Are you good at doing crosswords?
  • Do sth (for sb)/ do (sb) sth to produce or make sth: [vn] to do a drawing / painting / sketch. Does this pub do (= provide) lunches? Who's doing (= organizing and preparing) the food for the wedding reception? [Vn, vnn] I'll do a copy for you. I'll do you a copy.
  • [Vn] to perform or produce a play, an opera, etc.: The local dramatic society is doing "Hamlet" next month.
  • [Vn] to copy sb's behaviour or the way sb speaks, sings, etc., especially in order to make people laugh: He does a great Elvis Presley. Can you do a Welsh accent?
  • Have / be done | get sth done to finish sth: [v] Sit there and wait till I've done. [V _Ing] I've done talking - let's get started. [Vn] did you get your article done in time?
  • [Vn] to travel a particular distance: How many miles did you do during your tour? My car does 40 miles to the gallon (= uses one gallon of petrol / gas to travel 40 miles).
  • [Vn] to complete a journey / trip: We did the round trip in two hours.
  • [Vn] to travel at or reach a particular speed: The car was doing 90 miles an hour.
  • [Vn] (Informal) to visit a place as a tourist: We did Tokyo in three days.
  • [Vn] to spend a period of time doing sth: She did a year at college, but then dropped out. He did six years (= in prison) for armed robbery.
  • [Vn] to deal with or attend to sb/sth: The hairdresser said she could do me (= cut my hair) at three.
  • Do (for sb/sth) | do (as sth) to be suitable or be enough for sb/sth: [v] These shoes won't do for the party. "Can you lend me some money?" "Sure - will $20 do?" The box will do fine as a table. [Vn] (Especially BrE) This room will do me nicely, thank you (= it has everything I need).
  • [Vn] to cook sth: How would you like your steak done?
  • [Vn] [usually passive] (BrE, Informal) to cheat sb: This isn't a genuine antique - you've been done.
  • [Vn] (BrE) do sb (for sth) (Informal) to punish sb: They did him for tax evasion. She got done for speeding.
  • [Vn] (Informal) to steal from a place: The gang did a warehouse and a supermarket.
  • [Vn] (Informal) to take an illegal drug: He doesn't smoke, drink or do drugs.
Be / have to do with sb/sth: To be about or connected with sb/sth: "What do you want to see me about?" "It's to do with that letter you sent me."
Have (got) something, nothing, a lot, etc. to do with sb/sth: Used to talk about how much sb/sth is connected with sb/sth: Her job has something to do with computers. "How much do you earn?" "What's it got to do with you?" Hard work has a lot to do with (= is an important reason for) her success. We don't have very much to do with our neighbours (= we do not speak to them very often). I'd have nothing to do with him, if I were you.
It won't do: (Especially BrE) used to say that a situation is not acceptable and should be changed or improved: This is the third time you've been late this week; it simply won't do.
Not do anything / a lot / much for sb: (Informal) used to say that sth does not make sb look attractive: That hairstyle doesn't do anything for her.
Nothing doing: (Informal) used to refuse a request: "Can you lend me ten dollars?" "Nothing doing!"
No you don't: (Informal) used to show that you intend to stop sb from doing sth that they were going to do: Sharon went to get into the taxi. "Oh no, you don't," said Steve.
That does it: (Informal) used to show that you will not accept sth any longer: That does it, I'm off. I'm not having you swear at me like that.
That's done it: (Informal) used to say that an accident, a mistake, etc. has spoiled or ruined sth: That's done it. You've completely broken it this time.
That will do: Used to order sb to stop doing or saying sth: That'll do, children - you're getting far too noisy.
What do you do for sth?: Used to ask how sb manages to obtain the thing mentioned: What do you do for entertainment out here?
What is sb/sth doing?: Used to ask why sb/sth is in the place mentioned: What are these shoes doing on my desk?
Do away with sb / yourself: (Informal) to kill sb/yourself
Do away with sth: (Informal) to stop doing or having sth, to make sth end. SYN abolish: He thinks it's time we did away with the monarchy.
Do sb/sth down: (BrE, Informal) to criticize sb/sth unfairly
Do for sb/sth: [Usually passive] (Informal) to ruin, destroy or kill sb/sth: Without that contract, we're done for.
Do sb / yourself in (Informal)
  • To kill sb/yourself.
  • [Usually passive] to make sb very tired: Come and sit down - you look done in.
Do sth in: (Informal) to injure a part of the body: He did his back in lifting heavy furniture.
Do sb out of sth: (Informal) to unfairly prevent sb from having what they ought to have: She was done out of her promotion.
Do sb over: (Informal, especially BrE) to attack and beat sb severely: He was done over by a gang of thugs.
Do sth over:
  • To clean or decorate sth again: The paintwork will need doing over soon.
  • (NAmE) to do sth again: She insisted that everything be done over.
  • (BrE, Informal) to enter a building by force and steal things: He got home to find that his flat had been done over.
Do up: To be fastened: The skirt does up at the back.
Do sth up
  • To fasten a coat, skirt, etc.: He never bothers to do his jacket up. OPP undo
  • To make sth into a package. SYN wrap: She was carrying a package done up in brown paper.
  • (BrE) to repair and decorate a house, etc.: He makes money by buying old houses and doing them up.
Do yourself up: (Informal) to make yourself more attractive by putting on make-up, attractive clothes...
Do sth with sb/sth: (Used in negative sentences and questions with what): I don't know what to do with (= how to use) all the food that's left over. What have you done with (= where have you put) my umbrella? What have you been doing with yourselves (= how have you been passing the time)?
Do with out (sb/sth): To manage without sb/sth: She can't do without a secretary. If they can't get it to us in time, we'll just have to do without. [+ -Ing] (Ironic) I could have done without being (= I wish I had not been) woken up at three in the morning.
Auxiliary verb
Used before a full verb to form negative sentences and questions: I don't like fish. They didn't go to Paris. Don't forget to write. Does she speak French?
Used to make question tags (= short questions at the end of statements): You live in New York, don't you? She doesn't work here, does she?
Used to avoid repeating a full verb: He plays better than he did a year ago. She works harder than he does. "Who won?" "I did." "I love peach." "So do I." "I don't want to go back." "Neither do I."
Used when no other auxiliary verb is present, to emphasize what you are saying: He does look tired. She did at least write to say thank you. (BrE) do shut up!
Used to change the order of the subject and verb when an adverb is moved to the front: Not only does she speak Spanish, she's also good with computers.
Household jobs: Do or Make?
To talk about jobs in the home you can use such phrases as wash the dishes, clean the kitchen floor, set the table, etc. In conversation the verb "do" is often used instead: Let me do the dishes. Michael said he would do the kitchen floor. It's your turn to do the table. Do is often used with nouns ending _Ing: to do the shopping / cleaning / ironing / vacuuming.
The verb "make" is used especially in the phrase make the beds and when you are talking about preparing or cooking food: He makes a great lasagne. I'll make breakfast while you're having a shower. You can also say get, get ready and, especially in NAmE, fix for preparing meals: Can you get dinner while I put the kids to bed? Sit down - I'll fix supper for you.

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