The verb “do” is among the most common English verbs, and like most verbs we use a lot, it’s irregular. “Do” and “does” are both forms of the verb “do” in the simple present, so which is correct, “do” or “does?”
When you talk about yourself, you should say, “I do” as in “I do the dishes,” not “I does the dishes.” Even though the verb “do” is irregular, it still follows the rule that a present tense verb, in the third-person singular, needs an “s” at the end. For example, “I eat” and “he eats.” Like other verbs, “do” gets an “s” in the third-person singular, but we spell it with “es” — “does.”
Let’s take a closer look at how “do” and “does” are different and when to use each one. We’ll also talk about how to make negative sentences and questions with “do” and “does,” and we’ll even check out some common phrasal verbs and expressions that use “do.”
Do Is a Verb: What Does It Mean?
“Do” and “does” are action verbs, and we use them to describe an activity in the present tense (source). Remember that we use the simple present tense to talk about habits or activities that happen consistently over time.
Is It “I Do” or “I Does”?
Say “I do” when you are talking about work or an activity you are performing yourself. Here are some examples:
- I always do my homework before dinner.
- I do the dishes after we eat.
You only need to use the word “does” when you use the third-person singular to talk about another person or thing (source). Look at these sentences:
- He always does his homework before dinner.
- She does the dishes after we eat.
- That car does well in the snow.
Can We Use “Do” with “I”?
As we’ve learned from the previous examples, you can use “do” with “I.” Bearing that in mind, which of these sentences is correct?
- I do all my chores on Saturday.
- I does all my chores on Saturday.
If you chose the first sentence, you’re correct! Remember, we need “do” when the subject is “I.”
Can We Use “Does” with “I”?
This also raises the question of whether we can use “does” with “I.” Simply put, no, you cannot use “does” with “I.” Consider the next examples. Which sentence is correct?
- I does it as many times as it takes.
- I do it as many times as it takes.
The second sentence is correct. Remember, the third-person singular is the only subject that uses “does.” You can say, “He does it as many times as it takes,” but you cannot say, “I does it as many times as it takes.”
“Does” and “Do” Chart
Here’s an easy chart to help you remember when to use “does” or “do.”
As you can see from the chart, you should always use “do” in the simple present tense when you are talking about anyone except he, she, or it. For those subjects, you need “does.”
Do or Does Singular
For proper subject-verb agreement, the singular subjects “I” and “you” need the word “do.” To describe how singular subjects “he,” “she,” or “it” complete an action, you will need to use the word “does.”
- I do my best.
- You do my hair exactly how I like it.
- She does everything with a smile.
Of course, if you are using someone’s name or the name of an “it,” you’ll also use “does.”
- Mr. Garcia does car repair from his shop.
- This printer also does color, as well as black and white.
Do or Does Plural
In contrast, for proper subject-verb agreement, you should use “do” with all plural subjects, like “we,” “they,” or the plural “you.”
- We do the laundry every week.
- They do their jobs well.
- You do your best all the time.
- They do volunteer work at the library.
“Does” and “Do” Examples
Now you try! Look at these sentences and decide if you should use “do” or does.”
1. Mr. and Mrs. Lee always _____ what they say.
2. You guys ______ that project, and we can _____ this one. (you → plural)
3. The horse ______ laps around the track.
4. I _____ the sewing by hand.
5. You and I ______ whatever we want.
6. You _____ a good job when you cook. (you → singular)
7. I _____my work from home now.
Here are the answers. How did you do?
2. do, do
Using Do and Does With Various Sentence Structures
There are many different ways to use the verbs “do” and “does,” whether as main verbs or helping verbs. In this section, we’ll review the main applications for both.
Do and Does in a Positive Sentence for Emphasis
Occasionally, we can use “do” and “does” as helping verbs. However, this isn’t very common in positive sentences unless you want to give extra emphasis to the sentence’s main verb. You will still use “does” with the third-person singular and “do” with all other personal pronouns.
Here are some examples of how either “do” or “does” can provide emphasis for your main verb:
- I do want to go; please call me! (You do not think I want to go)
- He does like pickles on his sandwich. (You thought he did not like them.)
- Sally and Harry do want to get married; they just don’t know when.
Making Negative Sentences With Do and Does
We also use “do” and “does” as helping verbs in negative sentences if the main verb is not “be.” Just add the adverb “not” after the helping verb “do” or “does,” then use your main verb. You will still use “does” for “he,” “she,” and “it” and “do” for all other personal pronouns. Consider the following examples:
- I do not want to go.
- You do not need to help me.
- Marla does not eat meat.
- We do not exercise on Fridays.
- You (plural) do not use plastic forks.
- They do not think it will happen.
Any of these sentences are fine. However, it’s much more common to make a contraction with “not,” especially when you are speaking. Simply combine “do” or “does” with “not” into one word, and then replace the “o” in “not” with an apostrophe.
- I don’t want to go.
- You don’t need to help me.
- Marla doesn’t eat meat.
- We don’t exercise on Fridays.
- You don’t use plastic forks.
- They don’t think it will happen.
Making Questions With Do and Does
A very common way to ask questions in English is by using “do” and “does” as helping verbs. Use them when you are asking a question that needs a “yes” or “no” answer.
The rule for when to use “do” and “does” is still the same. You need to use “does” with “he,” “she,” or “it” and “do” with “I” and all other personal pronouns (source). Here are some examples:
- Do you like chocolate ice cream?
- Does he need help?
- Do they make a lot of money?
- Do we have a meeting today?
The answer to all of these questions can be a simple yes or no. If you need a longer answer to a question, you can add a question word — who, what, where, when, why, how, which — before “do” or “does.”
- Why does he always arrive late?
- How do you spell that?
- What do I use to clean this?
- Who do they live with?
However, there are times you do not need to use “do” and “does” when you ask a question. We’ve already talked about one — when your main verb is a form of “be.” Here are two more:
- When your main verb is a compound verb, like “are going.”
- When you use a modal verb, like “can,” should,” have,” etc.
Making Negative Questions With “Do” and “Does”
To make negative questions, you should use the contractions “don’t” and “doesn’t.” It’s very rare to form a negative question by saying or spelling “do not” or “does not.” Instead, just put these contractions at the beginning of the sentence, before the subject. These questions only need a “yes” or “no” answer.
- Don’t I look pretty?
- Doesn’t that dog need a bath?
- Don’t we have a meeting today?
Do and Does Can Substitute for Other Verbs
If your listener knows what action you are talking about, you can also follow “do” and “does” with the pronoun “it.”
- We do it every week. (the laundry.)
- He never does it until the weekend. (his homework.)
- They do it with love. (their cooking)
- This machine does it better. (the function of the machine you are talking about)
Speaking of pronouns, be aware that it’s not a good idea to directly follow “do” or “does” with a pronoun that refers to a person, like “him,” “her,” or “us.” Sentences like that are either so casual that they sound uneducated, or they can refer in a derogatory way to activities that you wouldn’t talk about in normal conversation.
However, you can use possessive pronouns, like “my” and “her,” followed by a noun.
- I do her hair every morning.
- Does Mr. Smith do your yard three times a week?
Other Ways to Use Do and Does
You can also use “do” and “does” with indefinite pronouns like “everything” and “nothing” to talk about activities.
- I do everything around the house.
- She does nothing unless someone asks her.
And finally, you can use “do” and “does” with an adverb to describe how you performed that activity.
- They do their jobs well.
- Matthew does his homework quickly.
Pronouncing Do and Does
“Do” and “does” also have irregular pronunciation, but don’t worry! Once you learn how to say them, they are easy to remember. The following pronunciation guides use Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (source) and IPA symbols to help you (source).
|Do||\ˈdü\||/duː/||Pronounce “do” like you pronounce “you” or “two.”|
|Does||\ˈdəz\||/dʌz/||Pronounce “does” as you pronounce “was” or the second syllable of “be-cause.”|
Some Useful Idioms and Phrasal Verbs With “Do”
Since we use “do” and “does” a lot, there are also many expressions and idioms that use these two words (source). Here are a few:
Do (someone) a favor → to do a kind or helpful act for someone:
- Molly, would you do me a favor and help me move these boxes?
Do business → to sell or buy from:
- That deal sounds good; can we do business?
Do you good → a good thing that will help you:
- Take this medicine; it does you good.
Do a number on → to hurt or harm someone or something:
- The puppy does a number on my shoes.
Do-over → a second try to accomplish a task that was previously unsuccessful:
- Can I have a do-over?
Do the trick → to produce the desired result:
- I fixed the picture frame with a nail; that should do the trick.
Do you read me → this is serious; it is important that you do as I say:
- Jonathan, do not play in the street. Do you read me?
How to Answer “How Are You Doing?”
Finally, what should you say when someone asks you, “How are you doing?” You can’t answer this with the present tense “I do.” Instead, you need to use the present continuous, as they did in their question. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
You might answer, “I’m doing well” or “I’m doing good.” Both are correct, but they mean different things. Check out this article on the difference between “doing well” and “doing good.”
Remember, you should use “does” for the third-person singular. Use “do” for all other personal pronouns, both singular and plural. This rule applies when you use “do” as an action verb, as well as when you use it as a helping verb.
The more you listen to native speakers and practice your own speaking, the more you will discover that using “do” and “does” correctly will soon become natural for you.
|Sample Questions||Short Answer (Affirmative)||Short Answer (Negative)|
|Do you need a dictionary?||Yes, I do.||No, I don't.|
|Do you both speak English?||Yes, we do.||No, we don't.|
|Do they need help?||Yes, they do.||No, they don't.|
|Does he like chocolate?||Yes, he does.||No, he doesn't.|
⚡ Quick summary. Do is an irregular verb, which means that it has different forms depending on tense and the subject it's being used with. Both do and does are used for the present tense. The form does is only used with third person singular subjects, such as the pronouns he, she, and it, as in She does yoga.Do or does questions and answers? ›
|Sample Questions||Short Answer (Affirmative)||Short Answer (Negative)|
|Do you both speak English?||Yes, we do.||No, we don't.|
|Do they speak English?||Yes, they do.||No, they don't.|
|Does he speak English?||Yes, he does.||No, he doesn't.|
|Does she speak English?||Yes, she does.||No, she doesn't.|
The answers to do/does questions are always “yes” or “no”. This is why they are Yes/No Questions. Question: Do you like chocolate? Answer: Yes I do. / No I do not.DO AND DOES rules in questions? ›
- Do. We use do when the subject is I, you, we or they.
- Does. We use does with third person singular pronouns i.e when the subject is he, she or it.
- Past Tense. Did is the past form of both do and does.
- Negatives. The negative form of do is do not.
“Do” and “does” are also used as auxiliary verbs for questions. In its present tense, we use “do” and “does” by themselves to answer a question, “Yes, I do” / “Yes, she does“, and when talking about an action that is being carried out, “I do my homework every night” / “He does his homework every night”.Does and do rule? ›
We use does and is with third person singular pronouns (he, she, it) and with singular noun forms. We use do and are with other personal pronouns (you, we they) and with plural noun forms. For the verb be, we need is or are as question words. Study this telephone conversation.Does and do Example sentence? ›
|Basis for Comparison||Do||Does|
|Example||Do you go to school daily?||Does she like me?|
|Don't you have manners?||It doesn't matter me much.|
|I do have a problem with you.||Riya does homework daily.|
Use "does" for present tense third person singular. Use "do" for present tense first and second person singular and plural, and third person plural. Use "did" for past tense of all persons and numbers. I hope this helps.Does and do past? ›
It has five different forms: do, does, doing, did, done. The base form of the verb is do. The past simple form, did, is the same throughout.
Differences Between Do and Does
Second, “do” is used for plural subjects and first-person subjects, while “does” is used for singular, third-person subjects.
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.Do and does questions conversation? ›
Do/Does + subject + verb...?
- Do you swim?
- Does he smoke?
- Does this computer work?
- Does Mark exercise?
We form yes-no questions with an auxiliary verb (be, do or have) + subject + main verb or with a modal verb + subject + main verb: Be: Is she working very hard? Were they travelling together? Do: Does that taste okay?Do or does question exercises? ›
- Does. Peter live with his father?
- Does. you learn Spanish?
- Does. Andrew and Martin ride their bikes to school?
- Does. they play in the garden?
- Does. Sandy's hamster live in a cage?
- Does. the cats sit on the wall?
- Does. we work in front of the computer?
- Does. you play the drums?
- Do you know where he is going?
- Does she understand the importance of working hard?
- Do they hold all-night parties?
- Where do they live?
- How do you operate this washing machine?
- What did you do then?
- I did not know that I was playing with fire.
- Did she say anything when you told her that you were leaving?
If the main clause has an auxiliary verb in it, you use the same verb in the tag question. If there is no auxiliary verb (in the present simple and past simple) use do / does / did (just like when you make a normal question).Does and do simple? ›
We use does for the third person singular (she/he/it) and do for the others. We use do and does with question words like where, what and when: Where do Angela and Rita live?Do Or does your father? ›
It is indicated by present continuous tense. The syntax of present continuous tense is : is/am/are + verb (ing) . Therefore the correct answer is: does your father do..... isn't working.Do Or does your parents? ›
The correct question is, "What do her parents do?" Since the word 'parents' is plural you would use 'do. ' Of course if you had the word 'parent' instead of 'parents'you would use does. "What do her parents do?" "What does her parent do?"
You use “do” instead of “does” to go with the plural subject of the sentence, i.e., “the banks”.Does and do form? ›
Do is an irregular verb. Its three forms are do, did, done. The present simple third person singular is does: Will you do a job for me?What is the future tense of do? ›
I will/shall do. You/We/They will/shall do. He/She/It will/shall be doing. I will/shall be doing.Do and does simple examples? ›
- Do you want to go to the party?
- Does your dog live outside or in the house?
- Does your sister always talk so much on the phone?
- Did you catch the bus this morning?
- Don't you ever visit your parents?
- Didn't Mr. Albertson call you?
Definition of 'D/O'
▶ USAGE The abbreviation for delivery order is D/O or d.o.
- They do not like fast food.
- She does some creative work in her bedroom.
- John does not write an essay.
- How dare you do this to me?
- Do your homework!
- Do believe in me.
- Do not cross your limits.
- What does he do on off days?
We use does and is with third person singular pronouns (he, she, it) and with singular noun forms. We use do and are with other personal pronouns (you, we they) and with plural noun forms. For the verb be, we need is or are as question words. Study this telephone conversation.Do and does examples negative? ›
Word order of interrogative with “do” and “does”
|Verb||eat / like|
|The rest of the sentence||bread for breakfast?|
“Do” is used to form imperative sentences, or commands. Example: Do your homework. “Does” is never used to form imperative sentences.What is the verb of do? ›
The verb do is irregular. It has five different forms: do, does, doing, did, done. The base form of the verb is do. The past simple form, did, is the same throughout. The present participle is doing.
Meaning. The word 'do' is used as an action verb. Do is also used with personal pronouns. The word 'did' is the past form of the verb 'do' and is used when the action is done in the past tense.