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Make Do vs. Make Due

This article is about Make Do vs. Make Due — enjoy your reading!

  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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When plans go awry, sometimes we are forced to make the best of it, even if the circumstances are less than perfect. Giving up is usually not an option, and when it is an option, it is probably not the best option. Carrying through even when things go wrong is something we all have to do, and in English, there are several ways to describe this unfortunate situation. One of the simplest is to make do. Both make do and an alternate form of this phrase, make due, have appeared in print over the past 200 years or so, but only one is correct in Modern English. Is it make do or make due?

In this article, I will compare make do vs. make due. I will use each of these words in some example sentences, so you can see how they appear in context. Plus, I will show you a mnemonic device that helps when choosing either make due or make do.

Make-do as adjective:

The word make-do is used as an adjective which means makeshift; temporary.

Make-do shelters dotted the landscape.

Make do as phrase:

The phrase make do means manage with the limited or inadequate means available.

Dad would have to make do with an old car.

In the 21st century, make do is the predominant version of this phrase in published works.

Use of Make due:

In Modern English, the variant make due is considered a spelling error. Interestingly enough, however, it was actually more common until roughly the 1940s, but, today, it is considered substandard.

Make Do vs. Make Due


In addition to dealing with insults, threats and health woes, Scott was forced to make due with inferior equipment. []

The crowd would have to make due with a lesser intoxicant. [New York Observer]

Others make due with less effective treatments. [USA Today]

She pins and tucks them in the back in a make-do tailoring effort. [The Wenatchee World Online]

We put together some strong cardboards and sacks and created a make-do kennel. [Hindustan Times]

He said he’s also worried the Transportation Department would try to make do with less equipment. [CTV]

Last week, while the French slobbered over Kate’s breasts, a genteel British media made do with studying her womb. [New Zealand Herald]

Make do or make due:

Make do is a verb phrase that means to use what’s available in non-ideal circumstances. Make do is the correct spelling. Make due is a historical variant that is no longer accepted. Today, make do is the only standard variation of this phrase. Make due is a historical form that, although popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, is no longer used. Since do is a verb that means perform an action, and making do is performing an action using available resources, use the meaning of the word do to remind yourself that make do is the standard version of this phrase.

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