Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

I’ve talked before about typical mistakes I hear on a (near) daily basis when I’m teaching and how to avoid them. I might even have covered one or two classic errors I’m going to mention today. But bear with me, as this is an important one. In fact, I need to break it up into two weekly posts so that it’s not too long.

Let’s begin by looking at this tiny but very important two-letter verb - DO - and next week I’ll be back to look at the verb more often used by my students – MAKE.

So, when do we use DO?

Of course, the verb DO isn’t one we want to use often in correct German and maybe that’s the reason students find it hard to learn when to use it. But generally speaking, we use DO for common activities, jobs, tasks and work. We usually don’t produce any physical object when we DO something – we are referring to the activity itself – and often DO things without being specific. 

Examples would be:

            What do you DO? (remember that this question always refers to your job)
            I spent the whole evening DOING my homework! It was really hard.
            We decided to DO the dishes together to save time.
            I heard he lost his job! What is he going to DO?
            The children were bored, as they had nothing to DO.
            She DID really well in the test and passed with distinction.
            They’ve DONE a great job with that building they’ve renovated. It looks super.
            You’re soaked! Have you been DOING the gardening in the rain?

We also use the verb DO in more colloquial situations to represent a verb when the meaning is clear by the context:

            Just give me five minutes; I need to DO my hair. (brush, comb, style my hair)
            I’ll DO the bathroom tomorrow. I’m too tired this evening. (clean the bathroom)
            Let me just DO this. I’ll be with you in a minute. (complete or finish the task)

Don’t forget that DO is sometimes the auxiliary verb for negative and question sentences.

            I DIDN’T go to the cinema at the weekend after all. I stayed in and watched TV.
            DO you go away to Italy every summer?
            What DO you DO in your spare time? (auxiliary and main verb)

We have many standard collocations with the verb DO that are useful to learn:

            Do business
            Do your job / work / tasks
            Do well / badly
            Do your best / worst
            Do your homework
            Do a test / an exam
            Do you good (something is good for you)
            Do time (go to prison – informal)
            Do a favour
            Do damage
            Do keep fit / exercise
            Do the housework
            Do the shopping (food shopping)
            Do the laundry
            Do the gardening / weeding / chores
            Do something / nothing / anything

So, I hope that I did a good job of showing you that DO isn’t as bad as maybe you thought it was! Maybe you can practice using DO by doing some exercises online or in your course book and doing some homework, which will definitely do your English a lot of good!


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ