Should you use the phrase make do or make due? Some of the best writers can make the mistake of using the phrase incorrectly.
“Make do” means that you will manage to get something done or manage to get along with what you currently have. Make do is the proper phrase and is the only version that should be used.
Make do is an idiom used as a verb phrase that means to use what is on hand or to persevere in circumstances that are less than ideal.
The word “make” in this phrase can be conjugated just like the word would if it was singular. For example:
We/I make do is first person singular or plural present tense.
You make do is second person singular or plural present tense.
It/she/he makes do is third-person singular present tense.
They make do is the third person plural present tense.
Making do is the present participle of the phrase.
Made do is the simple past tense of the phrase.
Make do can also use a hyphen to make it one word (make-do). This word then becomes an adjective that is referring to something momentary or short-term. For example, a tent that you throw up quickly is considered a make-do tent.
I can’t find most of the supplies, but I’m sure we can make do with what we have.
Sadly, the team has to make do without their best player for the game.
We’re short on money this month, so we will have to make do.
I didn’t have room for the clothes in my closet, so I made do with some totes.
Make due is a variant of the phrase that is considered to be incorrect. Today, it is considered a common misspelling of the phrase, but it was actually commonly used in the 1940s.
How to Remember the Difference
It is pretty easy to remember which to use when you understand that there is only one right use of the phrase. Do is a verb that refers to an action that is being performed and make do is an action being performed with only available resources.
This means that make do is the only proper form of the phrase and make due is just a common misspelling. Make-do is also acceptable, but it is one word and not a phrase.