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Suppose the context is a guy going to a store to buy something:

  1. He made a run to the store.
  2. He took a run to the store.
  3. He made a walk to the store.
  4. He took a walk to the store.

"Take a walk" is definitely standard English. But, is there anything wrong with the "take a run", "make a run", and "make a walk" patterns?

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There's nothing wrong with the patterns of "take a run", "make a run", and "make a walk", but each specific phrase may or may not have precedents that describe going to the store. Specifically:

He made a run to the store. [This is the normal way to say it!]

He took a run to the store. [This sounds strange. Usually "take a run" means to run for exercise, not to perform a chore.]

He made a walk to the store. [This sounds very strange. There is no precedent for "make a walk" to mean walking. So, when you combine "make" and "walk", the listener is forced to think that "walk" means something like a concrete sidewalk, which you could make. If you say "make a walk to the store", your meaning is clear, but it sounds foreign.]

He took a walk to the store. [This sounds strange in the same way that "take a run to the store" sounds strange. Normally, if you "take a walk", you are walking for exercise or you are quitting something abruptly. You might "take a walk around the block", but there's little precedent for "take a walk to the store".]

There is no grammatical rule for any of this. You just have to learn from experience how new phrases echo familiar phrases. Some more information about how phrases play a role in English comparable to individual words is here and here.


By the way, a well-known precedent for "take a walk" occurs in this song.

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To make a run usually means to travel to a nearby location, buy something or perform an errand, then typically return." It implies it's done rather quickly - typically for the purpose of getting one or a few items that are needed right away (it's a run so it's supposed to be quick).

E.g. you might make a run to pick up some soda for a party starting in an hour (and might even call that a soda run), but you wouldn't make a run to do your monthly shopping with your mother-in-law. That's more of a trip - though "make a trip" can be used to describe the same things as "make a run."

Anyway, unless you want to come off as being sarcastic, this doesn't work with walk. Make a walk is not a well-known expression - a walk is not something that's made when it is performed.

Take a walk does mean to go walking leisurely for a time, and take a walk to X does mean to walk to X, often implying that its for leisure. When you make a run, you are NOT travelling for leisure (your purpose is to get something and come back), you are travelling for a well-defined purpose, so take a run does not work to express the same thing.


Now, take and make are "low-level" English words that can be used to express many things, albeit without precision. Make can often mean something similar to perform, to bring about, or to manifest and take can often mean something similar to consume.

So there may be situations where a speaker might be compelled to say take a run - if the "run" is something that can be "consumed". E.g. - let's say the speaker is at an event where there are limited opportunities to run - "taking a run" would be appropriate to say there - "Hey, you can go take your run now" or "Hurry up and take your run before you lose your spot."

And there is also situations where the act of walking could be performing - it would not be out of place for a fashion model's boss or manager to say "It's time to make your walk now" to tell them to stroll down the catwalk.

But make a run and take a walk are well-known phrases and you can't switch run and walk between them without sounding awkward to a native speaker.

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    Good. But you might want to explain that making a run does not typically involve actual running. Making a run (or going _on a run ) are completely separate idioms from going for a run. (And then there's "take a run AT IT", something altogether different.) – Brian Hitchcock Jun 17 '15 at 8:16
  • Yep ... now that I think of it, there's also make a run for it which means to quickly get away from something ... – LawrenceC Jun 17 '15 at 12:21

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