I know we usually use backup as a verb, but if I wanted to use do/make, which one would be correct? I researched on google and found both usages, so I'm not sure which one is right

  • Since a backup is supposed to be a thing you are creating, use make. – user114 Aug 12 '13 at 13:10
  • I would also consider "running a backup", because backup is not only a word for the saved data, but also for the process. One certainly says "Please don't power the machine off, the backup is still running." – skymningen Aug 12 '13 at 14:15
  • 2
    I would do or run a "backup", but make a "backup copy" or "backup tape" or "backup file". – Hellion Aug 12 '13 at 14:46
  • Though it is not the ultimate aim of your question, I feel I should comment that "backup" is never (supposed to be) a verb. It should be written as "back up" in that case, as in "Back up that hard drive!" See the Wikipedia entry's first line. – Tyler James Young Aug 13 '13 at 23:07
  • "Please, do back up and park your car by the corner!" (Though I take it you mean the computer data kind of backup.) – user Aug 19 '13 at 19:35

According to Google Ngram, “make a backup” is by far the most common, but that's in part because it's often used in larger phrases such as “make a backup copy”. “Perform a backup” is less common but also possible. “Do a backup” and “run a backup” are even less common.

This meshes well with my personal experience: I'd normally use “make a backup” in casual speech or writing, or “perform a backup” to be more precise. I wouldn't do or run a backup.

  • I always say "take a backup". Not sure where I am taking it but it's definitely the one I use most. – Ste Aug 19 '13 at 7:28

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