using "Do" for other verbs - informal?


Senior Member
Hello :)

I am wondering if sentences where do is replaced by a more precise verb are colloquial. Can I use such sentences in formal language?

He was doing 100 kph - do instead of drive

She did Russian at university - did intead of study

Have you done your teeth? - done instead of brushed

Thank you
  • Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    Phrases such as the ones you suggest are often heard, but yes, very informal and not used in formal settings.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I wouldn't say they were 'very' informal. Informal or colloquial, but not obviously wrong for more formal writing. I think, on reflection, I wouldn't use any of them in formal writing, but they wouldn't jar too badly.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    But the typical collocation is to "make dinner", so why "do" in this case?
    In this instance, the typical collocation is more likely to be "serve dinner".
    Why "do" in this case? Because, as you've pointed out, "do" can be used in place of very many more specific verbs.

    I haven't thought about the formality/informality of this.
    I suspect it depends a lot on the verb.
    Hmmmm ... interesting topic :)


    Senior Member
    Thank you, Panjandrum :)

    I thought that "do" in "This restaurant does tasty dinners" means "prepare" not "serve".