To make or do an oversight

  • Stefan Ivanovich

    Senior Member
    I never make any! :D

    Seems to be very rarely used, as pieanne pointed out. However, here is one instance:
    Assuming the tribunal would not be so careless as to make such an oversight, it is submitted that ...
    (Source: Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. Edinburgh: Law Society's Hall, 1975, pp. 115-150.)


    New Member
    Use "do" for general activities like "the ironing", "the washing up", "a job". Use "make" for constructing, building, or the opposite; thus "make a cake" "make a cup of tea", "make a plan", but also "make a mistake", "make an excuse", "make an exception". The word "oversight" is like a mistake. Thus, if you must use it in the active voice, "make an oversight" would be correct. But as other commentators have indicated, a turn of phrase such as "there was an oversight" would be more usual.




    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Is this acceptable in American English? I'm surprised that no-one has commented on it. 'Overlooked' would be usual in British English.
    No. I have never heard it, and I can find no dictionary that recognizes 'oversight' as a verb.

    When I saw the quotation in your post, I assumed pheelineerie was making joke, but now that I have seen the original post, I see that she was not.


    Senior Member
    English - British
    An oversight is not so much an action as a failure to perceive: so 'do' is not appropriate.
    'Make' is the more general term.
    Hoever, if 'oversight' must be the direct object, then the best verb is 'commit': 'He committed an unforgivable oversight.'
    Or 'He was guilty of an oversight', 'It was an oversight', etc.
    Last edited:
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