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  • dictionary form (bare infinitive): do /du:/
  • present tense: does /dʌz/ (3s), do (1s/p, 2s/p, 3p)
  • past tense: did
  • present participle: doing
  • past participle: done /dʌn/


Auxiliary for the "simple" past & present

do is the auxiliary verb marking the simple past and present.

  • It is used both in negative and interrogative sentences to fuse with the grammatical markers of time and person.
—Does it work?
——It doesn't seem to...
—Strange. It worked yesterday.
——Did it? Maybe I just don't know how it works.
  • In affirmative sentences it is not required. It can however be used emphatically (in contrastives and tag questions for example).
    —I remember you said they didn't care. In the end, they did care, did they? Well, well...
  • It is also used to refer to the previous main verb in discourse.
—I gave you the keys yesterday.
——No you didn't.
—Yes I did. Look. They're right over there on your desk.

Lightweight lexical verb

A sentence like, "yes, let's do that" takes its meaning from the preceding context.

  • Shall we make dinner?
  • We could just leave this until tomorrow.
  • We could survey a couple hundred people and see what they think before making a decision.


Make or Do?

Generally you do repetitive tasks -- the focus is on the activity, but when you make something you create it -- the focus is on the product.

see also