1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. Machen vs Tun? Can somebody p…


Machen vs Tun? Can somebody please explain

Hello everyone,

I was wondering what the exact difference is between Machen and Tun.

Could somebody please explain, perhaps with a little example to each?

Thank you.

October 10, 2012



They both have too many idiomatic uses to make broad sweeping statements and you'll probably have to memorize a bunch of them, but I think of machen as more involving creation, power, force, and tun as involving doing, affecting, etc. Some common examples involving each

die Macht (comes from machen) - power

aufmachen - to open

zumachen - to close

Die Tat (from tun) - deed

es tut mir leid - I'm sorry (literally: it does me pity)

es tut mir weh - It hurts/is painful (literally: it does me woe)

Das tut gut - that's good


sich daran machen, etwas zu tun - to go about doing something

Here's a decent discussion of the difference between tun and machen: http://books.google.com/books?id=XTDE5Tmf5VAC=PA96

It's the entry for "do" in Farrel's "Dictionary of German Synonym's". It should take you to the bottom of pg. 96, and the whole discussion should be there.

Hope all that helps :)

[deactivated user]

    The verb "tun" is always used in the following sentence: "Was kann ich für Sie tun?", which means "What can I do for you?/How can I help you?". "Machen" has a closer meaning to the english verb "make".

    Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.