Correct Use of DO / DOES / DID – Basic English Grammar

(Last Updated On: January 18, 2018)

Learn how to use DO, DOES and DID correctly. Also see – MOST COMMON MISTAKES IN ENGLISH & HOW TO AVOID THEM




Hello and welcome. In this lesson, I am going to show you how to use ‘do’, ‘does’, and ‘did’ correctly.

I’ll first teach you the basics and then I’ll give you some usage tips that will help you to avoid mistakes with these forms. As always, there is a quiz at the end of the video.

Before we talk about the uses of ‘do’, ‘does’ and ‘did’, you need to know the basic grammar rule with these forms. The rule is: in the present, if the subject is I / You / We / They or any plural noun, then we use ‘do’. If the subject is He / She / It or any singular noun, then we use ‘does’. This is when we talk about the present.

Do

Use do with the subjects Iweyou and they. Do is usually used to make questions and it comes at the start of a sentence. Do is not used with the verbs be, can, might, ought, shall and will.

Does

Does is the third person singular of did. Use does at the start of questions when the subject is heshe or it.

Using do and does with Wh- questions

Use do and does with the seven question words. Question words are what, where, when, which, why, which, why and how. Here are some examples.

 



What about in the past? For any subject, we use ‘did’. OK, let’s now talk about the first use of these three forms. This is in making negative sentences. To understand this, let’s first take a positive sentence: “I like ice cream.” What is the verb here? It’s ‘like’ – this is called the main verb because it has the main meaning in the sentence.

Remember: If we’re talking only about the past, then it’s very easy. For any subject, we use ‘did’. Use did for the past tense of both do and does.

In English, the rule for making negative sentences is that we add ‘not’ to the helping verb in the sentence. But wait – there’s only one verb here – ‘like’ which is the main verb. There is no other helping verb. So what do we do now? Well, we add the verb ‘do’ as a helping verb in the sentence. Then, we put ‘not’ next to it. “I do not like ice cream.” is the negative sentence.

In speech, we usually shorten this to ‘don’t’ .

Since we already have an –s in ‘does’, we remove it from the main verb – we don’t say ‘plays’, we say ‘play’ – “He does not play hockey” or “He doesn’t play hockey.” So the structure of a negative sentence in the present simple tense is subject + ‘do not’ or ‘does not’ + the main verb in its base form (remember: don’t add ‘s’ to the main verb) and then the rest of the sentence. OK, let’s do an exercise now. Here are a few more sentences. I want you to make them all negative. Stop the video, think about your answers, then play the video again and check.

Alright, here are the answers: “You don’t sing very well.”, “We don’t travel to South Korea every year.”, “They don’t live in a big house.”, “She doesn’t want a new washing machine.”, “That piano doesn’t look old.” Good. Now, these sentences are all in the present tense.

Here are the past tense negative sentences – I’ve made some slight changes to make them sound natural. If you want, stop the video and read them to make sure you understand. So this is the first use of ‘do’, ‘does’ and ‘did’ – making negative sentences. Let’s now move on to the second use and this is in making questions. Here’s an example: “I look good in this shirt.” Let’s make this a question. Once again, the rule is that we need an auxiliary (or helping) verb for this.

Since the sentence doesn’t have a helping verb, we’re going to use ‘do’. In questions, we put the helping verb right at the beginning of the sentence. So, the structure for present simple tense questions is Do or Does + the subject + the main verb in its base form and then the rest of the sentence.

So “Do I look good in this shirt?” is the correct form. In this sentence, the main verb is ‘look’. Just a quick tip: when you write, don’t forget to add the question mark at the end of a question.



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