to do

The word do in English is an auxiliary verb. We also call it a helping verb, because it helps the main verb of the sentence. We use do to form the negative form of ordinary (non-auxiliary) verbs. The negative form is do + not + verb. Of course we generally use the contracted form of do not, which is don’t. The contracted form of does not is doesn’t:

  • I like pizza, but I really do not like pasta (or) …I really don’t like pasta
  • We live in New York. Our cousin does not live very close to us (or) … doesn’t live very close to us.
  • do not watch a lot of TV because I work until 10pm (or) I don’t watch

Be careful! We do not use do to form the negative of other auxiliary verbs:

  • “I can not play tennis” is ok, but “I do not can play tennis” is not correct.
  • “I may not go to the party” is ok, but “I don’t may go to the party” is not correct.

We also use do when we form yes/no questions. The grammar is do + subject + verb:

  • Do you like pizza?
  • Does Jack have an extra tennis racket?
  • Did they meet you at the mall?

Do also has a non-auxiliary use, and there are a lot of collocations with do, especially with some sports. Some examples of collocations are do the dishes (wash the dishes) do laundry (wash dirty clothes) and do homework.

  • Lori does yoga on Sundays.
  • Akira did kendo in high school.
  • Jen cooks, and Joe always does the dishes.
  • Make sure you do your homework before watching TV.

It is also possible to use the auxiliary verb do with the non-auxiliary verb do:

  • Tom didn’t do his homework and the teacher got angry.
  • Did you do anything fun last weekend?
  • Don’t do that!

We also use do to replace a verb that was just used:

  • I washed the car today. I do it once a month.
  • I always exercise in the morning, but today I did it after lunch.
  • Jack was singing again in the office. I hate it when he does that.

Lastly, we use do for emphasis before the main verb in a sentence.

  • Wow! You do like pizza. You at five slices!
  • Oh, don’t worry. Jane does like you. She told me so yesterday.
  • I’m sorry, but I do need to go home now. It’s late.

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