Staff nurse made error in recording patient's name in a book. Or staff nurse did error in recording patient's name in a book.

Which one of these is correct?

  • 1
    Neither. Where are your articles (the, an, etc?) Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 13:30

2 Answers 2


make and do are tricky for learners.

  • make a mistake or make an error

  • make a cake

  • make dinner

  • do work or do a translation

  • do a task

Those are a few to get you started.

The staff nurse made an error when recording, etc.

  • 1
    This also has to do one's native language. My native language (Malay), for example, consistently uses 'melakukan kesalahan' (literally 'do mistakes'). I negatively transfered this feature when learning English. Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 14:02
  • 1
    @user178049 Not every language has two verbs for make. Some only have one...French and Spanish only have one....:) No worries.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 14:06

Make means to create or cause.

I'm going to make a cake.

I'm going to make this car run again.

Do is used when you want to talk about an action but don't have a name for the action, or don't want to repeat the name for the action). It's also used for emphasis.

I'm not sure what to do. (unknown action)

A: Who set this here? B: Alice and Bob did. (B doesn't want to be repetitive by saying "set this here" again).

I did talk to Mary. (emphasis)

If something is being created or caused, then that's your name for that action, and thus you should use make.

Made an error in X is very idiomatic in English.

Spanish uses hacer to mean both do and make, English uses separate words.

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