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Make vs. Give: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 18, 2023
Make refers to create, construct, or produce something. Give refers to present, offer, or transfer something to someone.

Key Differences

"Make" implies creating or constructing something new, like making a meal. "Give," however, implies transferring something from one person to another, such as giving a gift.
"Make" can denote creating a plan or decision, like making a choice. "Give" is often used in the context of offering information or advice, like giving an opinion.
"Make" often refers to physical creation, like making a table, it can also mean to cause a particular situation or emotion, like making someone happy. While, "give" can also have abstract uses, like giving someone hope.
Both "make" and "give" are frequently used, but "make" is more versatile in describing various creation processes. "Give" is more about the act of transferring or bestowing something.
Common expressions with "make" include making a bet or making a promise, which imply initiating an action or commitment. "Give," in expressions like giving up or giving in, often indicates a transfer of control or yielding.

Comparison Chart

Primary Action

Creation or production
Transferring or bestowing


Constructing, preparing, causing
Presenting, offering, relinquishing

Typical Objects

Tangible items, plans, decisions
Objects, advice, rights


Making a decision, making a joke
Giving a speech, giving a chance

Abstract Use

Causing emotions or situations
Bestowing intangible elements like respect

Make and Give Definitions


To cause something to exist or happen.
The movie made her cry.


To provide or supply something.
Can you give me some advice?


To prepare or put together something, like food.
He is making dinner for the family.


To present or deliver something formally.
The CEO will give a speech at the conference.


To create or construct something.
She loves to make her own clothes.


To freely transfer possession of something to someone.
He decided to give his old books to the library.


To form by combining materials or elements.
Children love making sandcastles at the beach.


To yield or relent under pressure.
The door finally gave under the repeated blows.


To earn or acquire money or profit.
She makes a good living as a freelance writer.


To allow someone to have or use something.
She gave her friend permission to use her car.


To cause to exist or happen; bring about; create
Made problems for us.
Making a commotion.


To make a present of
We gave her flowers for her birthday.


To bring into existence by shaping, modifying, or putting together material; construct
Make a dress.
Made a stone wall.


To place in the hands of; pass
Give me the scissors.


What does 'make' mean?

'Make' typically means to create or construct something.

Is 'make' used in idiomatic expressions?

Yes, like "make up your mind" or "make ends meet."

Is 'make' used with decisions?

Yes, for example, "make a choice" or "make a decision."

Can 'make' refer to earning money?

Yes, in phrases like "make a living" or "make money."

Can 'make' mean to cause something?

Yes, like "make trouble" or "make someone happy."

Is 'make' used in business contexts?

Yes, such as "make a profit" or "make a deal."

Can 'make' indicate forcing someone to do something?

Yes, as in "The teacher made the students redo the assignment."

Can 'make' be used for preparing food?

Yes, e.g., "make dinner" or "make a sandwich."

Is 'give' used in expressions?

Yes, for example, "give someone a chance" or "give up."

Does 'give' relate to providing information?

Yes, like in "give advice" or "give an explanation."

Does 'make' imply success in its action?

Not always. It suggests an attempt or process, like "make an effort."

What is the basic meaning of 'give'?

'Give' primarily means to freely transfer possession of something to someone.

Is 'give' used in the sense of attributing?

Yes, as in "give credit" or "give blame."

Can 'give' refer to causing an effect?

Yes, like "give joy" or "give pain."

Can 'give' mean to concede in an argument?

Yes, in phrases like "give in" or "give ground."

Does 'give' apply to physical actions?

Yes, in contexts like "give a hug" or "give a handshake."

Is 'make' used in the context of arriving on time?

Yes, as in "make it to a meeting on time."

Can 'give' imply flexibility?

Yes, as in "The rope will give a little."

Is 'give' used in the context of hosting?

Yes, as in "give a party" or "give a dinner."

Can 'give' mean to yield under pressure?

Yes, in phrases like "the bridge gave under the weight."
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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