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zuò
v. do, make; write, compose
Discussion of 作
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In this post, we discuss these two Chinese verbs: 做 and 作. They both have the meaning “to do (something)”. What are their differences then?
Generally speaking, 做 indicates a concrete action, while 作 indicates a more abstract action.
1-做 is followed by specific, concrete notions (usually in the form of a noun), e.g. 做饭、做菜、做作业、做鞋子、做一件事情...
2-作, on the other hand, is followed by something that is more abstract, something that lacks the nature of a concrete action. (usually in the form of a verb/noun). E.g. 作贡献,作报告,作决策 (when the context allows, 贡献, 报告 and 决策 can be used as a noun or a verb )
*With the explanation of number 1 and 2 above, we won’t find it difficult to understand the examples listed below in 3 and 4:
3- In some words and fixed terms (such as idioms), only 作 can be used: e.g.工作、作战、作古、作罢、敢作敢当、胡作非为、自作多情、作奸犯科,etc.
4- In some other words (which are usually used in informal contexts), only 做 can be used. E.g.做梦、做买卖、做手脚
lisaC
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