LESSON TWO: the verb "do"

After the verb "be," the verb "DO" is the second most important verb to learn in the English language. Click here for Study Guide #2

If you don't learn how to use this verb properly, you will have trouble forming the present tense, the past tense, and you will make mistakes when using "do" as a main verb.

There are a few important things to keep in mind about the verb "do."

1. The verb "do" can be used as a helping verb and as a main verb.

do - present tense: do, does

    singular plural
    I do We do
    You do You do
    He does  
    She does They do
    It does  





        do - past tense: did

    singular plural
    I did We did
    You did You did
    He did  
    She did They did
    It did  






2. The verb "do" is often used in a contraction.  What's a contraction?

  • She doesn't have a class today. (doesn't = does not)

  • These bananas don't look ripe. (don't = do not)


3. The verb "do" is used for all kinds of situations.

  • Maria does the shopping for her family. (The main verb in this sentence is "do.")

  • What do you do? (What kind of work do you have?)

  • Let's do lunch sometime. (Let's go out to lunch sometime in the future.)




Here are some examples of mistakes typically made by students who fail to learn to use the verb "do" properly:

  • She don't do much work. Perhaps you know it should be She doesn't do much work, but some people don't realize this is an error because they hear so many Americans say this. Why? It's hard to explain. Part of the reason is cultural.

  • She does go to work every day. Some students use "do" all the time, even when it isn't necessary. Make sure you are absolutely clearn on when and why to use "do."

  • She does going to school on the weekend.  You can't combine the verb "do" as a helping verb with the main verb in the continuous form. Why do students do this? I think it's becuase "does" and "is" sound similar when spoken quickly.


    Back to Lesson One  / Forward to Lesson Three




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