Do as a general-purpose verb

As a general purpose verb, do can refer to almost any kind of activity.

  • What are you doing in the evening?
  • Don’t waste time. Do something.
  • Who will do the dishes?
  • All I did was to give him a little push.

Do is used in cases where it is not necessary to use more precise action words.

Do for indefinite activities

We use do when we do not say exactly what activity we are talking about. Do, for example, is commonly used with words like thing, something, nothing, anything, everything and what.

  • What did you do then?
  • I like doing nothing.
  • What he did was a really strange thing.
  • Why don’t you do something?

Do can be used to talk about work and jobs.

  • I have finished the phone calls; now I am going to do the letters.
  • Who will do the shopping tomorrow?
  • He hasn’t done his homework.

Do can be followed by an –ing form to talk about activities that are repeated.

  • I did a lot of swimming during the holidays.
  • He does a lot of reading.

Common fixed expressions with do.

  • Do good
  • Do harm
  • Do business
  • Do one’s best
  • Do a favor
  • Do sport
  • Do exercise
  • Do one’s hair
  • Do one’s teeth
  • Do one’s duty