<Take> <Do> <Make> a selfie

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e.teacher3

New Member
French
Hi there,
I am grading papers and wondering if you can actually say "DO a selfie" or even " MAKE a selfie" instead of "TAKE" a selfie? o_O
Thanks for the help!
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    "Take a selfie" is the usual collocation. :)

    "Do..." is a usable alternative, but "Make..." comes across to me as mis-translated from another language where the equivalent verb would be correct - but it's not in English.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Take a selfie" is the usual collocation. :)

    "Do..." is a usable alternative, but "Make..." comes across to me as mis-translated from another language where the equivalent verb would be correct - but it's not in English.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    A selfie is a photo, of course, and we take photos.

    This indeed seems to an example of the pitfalls of translating word for word from one's native language.

    ... and a BIG welcome to the forum.:):)
     

    HajiSahib

    Banned
    Punjabi/Urdu - Pakistan
    "Take a selfie" is the usual collocation. :)

    "Do..." is a usable alternative, but "Make..." comes across to me as mis-translated from another language where the equivalent verb would be correct - but it's not in English.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    A selfie is a photo, of course, and we take photos.

    This indeed seems to an example of the pitfalls of translating word for word from one's native language.

    ... and a BIG welcome to the forum.:):)
    Hello Donny and sdgraham,

    Please could you tell me whether "do a selfie" is idiomatic?
     
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    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hello Donny and sdgraham,

    Please could you tell me whether "do a selfie" is idiomatic?
    Maybe -- but I don't use it. I think Donny's "usable" pretty well describes it.

    As a generality, it seems to me that the use of "do" is more prevalent in younger generations.
     

    HajiSahib

    Banned
    Punjabi/Urdu - Pakistan
    Thanks sdgraham,
    I want to hear from some other BE speaker about the use of "do".
    Donny's reply was somewhat confusing!
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    “I got one of the cabin crew to translate for me and asked him if I could do a selfie with him,” Innes, 26, told the Sun. “He just shrugged OK, so I stood by him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap. It has to be the best selfie ever.”
    When is a selfie not a selfie?

    Innes is 26, he uses "do". It wasn't really a selfie, however, since he didn't take the snap himself:rolleyes:. For me that indicates that he doesn't have much feeling for his own language.


    (I'm too old for that sort of thing myself, but I think I've got a Brownie box camera in an old trunk up in the attic.)
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    When I photograph something, I take a picture. Therefore, I would take a selfie.

    However, I also eat lunch. But if I was speaking to someone, informally, about arranging a time to meet, I might say "Let’s do lunch." Or, if we were deciding how to spend time together, I might say "Do you want to do a movie?"

    In the same way, I might say, "Let’s do a selfie."
     

    e.teacher3

    New Member
    French
    "Take a selfie" is the usual collocation. :)

    "Do..." is a usable alternative, but "Make..." comes across to me as mis-translated from another language where the equivalent verb would be correct - but it's not in English.
    Thanks, that's pretty much what I thought but my secondary school students can be quite creative and in the end you don't know what' correct and what' not ;)
     

    e.teacher3

    New Member
    French
    When I photograph something, I take a picture. Therefore, I would take a selfie.

    However, I also eat lunch. But if I was speaking to someone, informally, about arranging a time to meet, I might say "Let’s do lunch." Or, if we were deciding how to spend time together, I might say "Do you want to do a movie?"

    In the same way, I might say, "Let’s do a selfie."
    Yes that was my idea of it but after I read "MAKE" 3 times in 3 different papers, I got puzzled ;)
     

    Erebos12345

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Yes. Take is more common, though do is possible as well.

    If I had to draw a line, I would say that take refers to the actual act of snapping the picture on your phone. Do seems to be more general. I would likely picture you gathering your friends together, making sure that everyone looks presentable, that the setting is ideal, and preparing yourselves to take the selfie.
     

    HajiSahib

    Banned
    Punjabi/Urdu - Pakistan
    Innes is 26, he uses "do". It wasn't really a selfie, however, since he didn't take the snap himself:rolleyes:. For me that indicates that he doesn't have much feeling for his own language.
    What's your point?
    I am sorry, I couldn't grasp what you wanted to say.
    Please would you comment?
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Yes. Take is more common, though do is possible as well.

    If I had to draw a line, I would say that take refers to the actual act of snapping the picture on your phone. Do seems to be more general. I would likely picture you gathering your friends together, making sure that everyone looks presentable, that the setting is ideal, and preparing yourselves to take the selfie.
    :thumbsup:
     

    Trochfa

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Welcome to the forum E.Teacher3.

    Sparky has given a couple of good examples where "do" is naturally used in an informal manner. However, I think there is a big difference here between informal English and that which might be used in the class or in examinations.

    Personally, I think "do a selfie" is very borderline. If a first language speaker wishes to use it then that's one thing, but if a learner is going to take exams or write formal letters or applications and learn to speak the language properly then I think they should be encouraged to try to use the standard form which is "take a selfie". The reason being, as others have pointed out, that we "take a photograph" whether that be of an albatross, the Eifel Tower, our family or of ourselves. :)

    The problem with "do" is that very often it's used in a similar way to "get" in that both are universal "dump" words for people who often can't think of or be bothered to use a more appropriate verb: e.g.

    I want to do a picture = I want to draw a picture.
    I want to do a song = I want to sing a song.
    I want to do a letter = I want to write a letter.
    I want to do a story = I want to read a story.
    I want to do a story = I want to write a story.
    I want to do a story = I want to act out a story.

    The last three of these illustrate how learners might use "do" as a fudge word to get around not knowing the proper verb for what they wish to say hoping to "wing it" in a class or on a test paper. It reminds me of people who used to try to fool the teachers in exams by placing an apostrophe directly over an "s" because they didn't know whether it should go before or after it. The teachers were never fooled, mainly because such usages become the hallmark, or fingerprint, of a learner who doesn't know what the standard/proper forms are. :)

    If students are being taught to use informal English then "do" might be passable, but otherwise, I would say that only "take a selfie" is the standard/idiomatic form and that generally, where possible, students should be using "proper" verb forms.
     
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