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Do, Does, Did

The Verb to do: do, does and did

The words do, does and did often cause confusion in the English language.
They are all forms of the verb to do.

The verb to do can be used as an action verb and also as an auxiliary verb.

to do as an Action Verb

In some cases, to do is used as a verb that expresses an action (just like the verb to walk).

Subject/Verb Agreement Using to do as an Action Verb

Subject Forms of to do in each Tense Rest of Sentence
Present Past Perfect Form Continuous Form
I / You / We / They do did have/had + done am/are/were + doing a good job
He / She / It does did has/had + done is/was + doing homework

Spelling Tip

In Present Simple 3rd person (he, she, it), add an es to a verb that ends in ‘o’:
do > does / go> goes

Examples

  1. Pete always does his taxes on time.
  2. Volunteers do a lot of work around the town.
  3. Gil did a great job on his history report for school.
  4. You have done nothing all morning!
  5. I am doing the best I can!

The verb to do as an auxiliary verb

It is also common to use do, does and did as auxiliary verbs (or helping verbs) together with another verb in its base form. This is used to create negative sentences, questions, or for adding emphasis.

Negative sentences with do not, does not and did not

When creating negative sentences, we usually use shortened forms: don’t, doesn’t and didn’t together with the base form of the verb.

Note: Save the long forms (do not, does not and did not) for when you want to create emphasis. When speaking, you would put an accent on the ‘not’.

Subject Auxillery Verb to do
Present or Past
Verb in Base Form Rest of Sentence
I / You / We / They don’t (do not) didn’t (did not) sleep late
He / She / It doesn’t (does not) didn’t (did not) sit out in the sun

Spelling Tip

When shortening the 3rd person (he, she, it) negative, just remove the o in not and add an apostrophe (‘)
does not > doesn’t

Examples

  1. Your client doesn’t understand the contract.
  2. You don’t need to worry about me.
  3. Your friends didn’t get the e-mail.

Yes/No Questions with Do, Does and Did

To create a question that will be answered with a yes or no, start the question with Do, Does or Did, (Doesn’t, Don’t, Didn’t) for a negative question) then add a subject (the person or thing that does the action) followed by the base form of the verb and only then add the rest of the sentence.

Auxiliary Verb ‘To Do’ subject verb in base form rest of sentence
Present Past
Do Did I / you / we / they drink enough water
Does Did he / she / it eat meat
Don’t Didn’t I / you / we / they write to them

Punctuation Tip

Always begin a sentence, question and wh-question with a capital letter:
He always does good work.
Do you like me?
What did they bring you?

Examples:

  1. Do you want to go to the party?
  2. Does your dog live outside or in the house?
  3. Does your sister always talk so much on the phone?
  4. Did you catch the bus this morning?
  5. Don’t you ever visit your parents?
  6. Didn’t Mr. Albertson call you?

Note: Time Expressions:

  1. You may add a one-word time expression, such as always, usually, or often between the subject and the verb.
  2. You may use a negative question with a time expression such as ‘ever’.

Wh-questions with do, does and did

Wh- questions are questions that require more information in their answers. Typical wh- words are what, where, when, why, who, how, how many, how much.

To create a wh-question, start with the wh-word, then add do, does or did, then the subject (a person or thing that does the action), followed by the base form of the verb and only then add the rest of the sentence.

Wh-Word Auxiliary Verb ‘To Do’ Subject Verb in Base Form Rest of Sentence
Present Past
Where Do Did I / you / we / they get the maps
Why Does Did he / she / it sit out in the sun

Examples

  1. Where do you want to send the package?
  2. Why does she always scream like that?
  3. How much do these earrings cost?
  4. Why don’t you ever clean up your mess?
  5. When did they arrive home?

Exercises for the Verb To Do

Fill in the correct form of the verbs as in the examples:

  1. Mark and Dylan do volunteer work at the homeless shelter twice a week. (do)
  2. Sheila didn’t do the dishes last night. (not do)
  3. Does Gillian usually meet clients so late at night? (meet)
  1. ________ John often _____ together with his friends on the weekends? (get)
  2. Sivan ____________the post every day. (not collect)
  3. _______ the computer ____________ again yesterday? (break down)
  4. ____________ work __________ he _______ every month? (how much/do/do)
  5. _________ you ________ your laundry now? (do)
  6. In general, the dogs ____________ on the beds in his house. (not sleep) They _____ last night though. (do)
  7. How many copies of the document_______ you _________? (need)
  8. I ________ ever___________ the street on a red light! (not cross)
  9. ________ Adam always _________ the lights off when he leaves the office? (turn)
  10. _________ she ________ her homework yet? (do) It’s due tomorrow.

Answers:

  1. Does/get
  2. doesn’t collect
  3. Did/break down
  4. How much/does/do
  5. Are/doing
  6. don’t sleep/did
  7. do/need
  8. don’t/cross
  9. Does/turn
  10. Hasn’t/done

Examples – do, does, did

Positive

  1. Pete always does his taxes on time.
  2. Volunteers do a lot of work around the town.
  3. Gil did a great job on his History report for school.
  4. You have done nothing all morning!
  5. I am doing the best I can!

Negatives

  1. Your client doesn’t understand the contract.
  2. You don’t need to worry about me.
  3. Your friends didn’t get the e-mail.
  4. I do not want to go with you!

Yes/No Questions

  1. Do you want to go to the party?
  2. Does your dog live outside or in the house?
  3. Does your sister always talk so much on the phone?
  4. Did you catch the bus this morning?
  5. Don’t you ever visit your parents?
  6. Didn’t Mr. Albertson call you?

Wh-Questions

  1. Where do you want to send the package?
  2. Why does she always scream like that?
  3. How much do these earrings cost?
  4. Why don’t you ever clean up your mess?
  5. When did they arrive home?