Uses of Do, Does and Did

English Glossary Index

Uses of Do, Does and Did :

In the simple present tense, do will function as an auxiliary to express the negative and to ask questions. (Does, however, is substituted for third-person, singular subjects in the present tense. The past tense did works with all persons, singular and plural.)

  • I don't study at night.
  • She doesn't work here anymore.
  • Do you attend this school?
  • Does he work here?

These verbs also work as "short answers," with the main verb omitted.

  • Does she work here? No, she doesn't work here.

With "yes-no" questions, the form of do goes in front of the subject and the main verb comes after the subject:

  • Did your grandmother know Truman?
  • Do wildflowers grow in your back yard?

Forms of do are useful in expressing similarity and differences in conjunction with so and neither.

  • My wife hates spinach and so does my son.
  • My wife doesn't like spinach; neither do I.

Do is also helpful because it means you don't have to repeat the verb:

  • Larry excelled in language studies; so did his brother.
  • Raoul studies as hard as his sister does.

The so-called emphatic do has many uses in English.

  1. To add emphasis to an entire sentence: "He does like spinach. He really does!"
  2. To add emphasis to an imperative: "Do come in." (actually softens the command)
  3. To add emphasis to a frequency adverb: "He never did understand his father." "She always does manage to hurt her mother's feelings."
  4. To contradict a negative statement: "You didn't do your homework, did you?" "Oh, but I did finish it."
  5. To ask a clarifying question about a previous negative statement: "Ridwell didn't take the tools." "Then who did take the tools?"
  6. To indicate a strong concession: "Although the Clintons denied any wrong-doing, they did return some of the gifts."

In the absence of other modal auxiliaries, a form of do is used in question and negative constructions known as the get passive:

  • Did Rinaldo get selected by the committee?
  • The audience didn't get riled up by the politician.

Related Pages :

  • Auxiliary Verbs

  • Shall and Will and Should

  • Do, Does and Did

  • Have, Has and Had

  • Modal Auxiliaries

  • Can and Could

  • May and Might

  • Will and Would

  • Used To

  • English Glossary Index

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