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Helping Verbs: To Do

We use do, does, did, don’t, and didn’t constantly; because of that, we run the risk of messing up this very irregular auxiliary verb. Have you ever heard a child say that she “dood” something, as if it were a past tense version of do? You wouldn’t be alone in smiling at her mistake!


  • Does you want some of this carrot cake?
  • He do think he don’t need any help with grammar.


The past tense of do is always did, and the past tense of don’t is always didn’t. Simple! With do and does, we confuse them because of the irregularity of “I do” and “he does.” Using “he / she don’t” is the most common mistake of all; it should always be “he / she doesn’t.” I think he doesn’t need any help with grammar.


The word do has so many uses! We use it to ask questions (“Do you like music?”), to substitute for repetitive phrases (“She plays music and so do I”), to emphasize something (“I did do the dishes!”), and to express the negative and positive (“We don’t listen to music” and “Yes, you do”). Its frequent use means you’ll have lots of opportunities to get this right.

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