The verb “do” can be used in many different ways and has different forms, which can be confusing. There are two ways in which the verb “do” is used in English. First, it is a “helping verb” and we need it to ask questions and make negative statements. Second, it is used as a main or “normal verb”.
Let us have a look at these two different ways.
1. Questions and negative sentences.Look at these examples first:
I go to school every day. (Present Simple)
I went to school yesterday. (Past Simple)
These sentences only have one verb (go, went). If you want to make a question, you need a “helping verb”, “do”, “does” or “did”.
“Do” and “does” are used with Present Simple.
I go to school every day.
Q: Do you go to school on Saturday? (do is used for I, you, we, they)
Q: Does she go to school on Saturday? (does is used for he/she)
We can also have questions with a question word, such as “where”, “what”, “what time”, “why” etc. We just add them at the beginning of the sentence, so we have:
Where do you go every day?
What time does he go to school?
Why did he go to school?
We also need a “helping verb” to make negative sentences. We use “do not” = “don’t” and “does not” = “doesn’t” for Present Simple, for example:
“I don’t go to school.” (I’m at university now.)
“He doesn’t go shopping.” (His wife does.)
In a similar way, we need a “helping verb” when we want to make questions or negatives in the Past Simple. We use “did” for all persons.
I went to school yesterday.
Q: Did you go to school yesterday? and Where did he go yesterday?
X I didn’t go to school yesterday. (It was Saturday.)
2. “Do” can also be a “normal” verb and we can use it in different forms, depending on which tense we need.
Here are some examples:I do my homework every day. (Present Simple, which we use for routine actions, something that happens regularly)
I’m doing the dishes now. (Present Continuous, which we use for actions happening at the time of speaking)
I did everything I could to help him. (Past Simple, which we use for actions in the past, which are completed)
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