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Do vs. Due – Pick the Correct Word

Do vs. Due – Pick the Correct Word

Do sounds the same as due; the two words are a pair of English homophones. As with all homophones, do and due are spelled differently and mean quite different things. Plus, they are different parts of speech.

So how do you know when to use due or do?

Short and Sweet: Do vs. Due

Do is a very common verb, while due is usually an adjective.

  • Do means “to make happen.” It is used in a wide range of contexts.
  • Due means the time at which something is expected, often a debt.

Continue reading for a more in-depth discussion of these words’ meanings and way to remember when to use do or due.

What Does Do Mean?

Meaning of Do: Most simply put, to do is “to make happen.” Some of the many actions that do can describe are to perform, carry out, make, partake of, or behave.

  • After you do your work, you can leave. > perform/carry out
  • I need to do that when I get home. > carry out
  • Don’t do > partake of
  • Let’s do a documentary about haunted houses. > make
  • What do you do? >occupation

This is by no means an exhaustive list of how do can be used. One can do many other tasks such as the laundry or dishes, one’s hair or makeup, or some paperwork or research, to name just a few.

Do is a quite versatile verb. While other languages are often more specific with their verbs, English has several verbs, such as “put,” “get,” and “take,” that are used casually to mean wide variety of actions.

What Does Due Mean?

Meaning of Due: Due is the time at which something is expected to happen. This can be many things, from payment of a debt to the birth of a baby. Due can also mean something is deserved, such as recognition.

  • I don’t have extra money right now because my rent is due this week.
  • My library book is due back on Thursday.
  • What is the due date for this assignment?

These examples demonstrate how things such as rent, a project, and a book are expected to be turned in by a certain date.

Due also describes the expected arrival of people and objects.

For example,

  • My baby’s due date is in April.
  • The train is due any minute now.

Additionally, two common phrases that use the word due are “credit where credit is due” and “all due respect.”

For example,

  • I always include the name of the artist when I repost pictures; it’s important to give credit where credit is due.
  • With all due respect I must disagree.

In these contexts, due means deserved, or appropriate.

As a noun, dues are something that one pays in order to be a part of a group.

  • Before you can move up in this company, you have to pay your dues.
  • The union will kick you out if you don’t pay your dues.

In the first example, this means the time and work one does at first to earn a more desirable position in a group. In the second example, dues are a monetary contribution that members make periodically to a union.

Due vs. Do: How to Remember the Difference

Due is when something should happen or when payment is expected. Due is often paired with date, as in due date. Both of thee words end in an “E.”

Do frequently appears in the phrase to do, as in To Do List. A To Do List is a written set of actions the author needs to carry out, or make happen. To and do are both two-letter words that end in an “O.”

Recap: When to Use Do and Due

Do is a verb that means something is carried out or made to happen. Do is a flexible verb that is used in a variety of contexts.

Due is an expectation: either for a debt to be paid, something or someone to arrive, or respect or recognition to be given.



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