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What Does vs. What Do

Should we say, “What does Gloria and I have in common?” or “What do Gloria and I have in common?”

If you turn the question around to place the subjects first, you would say, “Gloria and I does/do have what in common.”

Gloria and I are the subjects so we need a plural verb. Which verb is plural? We would say she does but we would say they do. So do is the plural verb. Therefore, the answer is, “What do Gloria and I have in common?”

Try this example: “What does/do the children look like in their costumes?”

If you turn the question around to place the subjects first, you would say, “The children does/do look like what in their costumes.”

Because children is a plural subject, we again need the plural verb do.

Try this example: “What does/do the coach expect from the team?

Turning the question around, we realize that our subject is coach, which is singular. Therefore, we would say, “What does the coach expect from the team?”

 

Pop Quiz

1. What does/do she look like without makeup?
2. What does/do you and your husband think of the movie?
3. What does/do the team uniform look like?
4. What does/do the team members think of the new coach?

 

Pop Quiz Answers

1. What does she look like without makeup?
2. What do you and your husband think of the movie?
3. What does the team uniform look like?
4. What do the team members think of the new coach?

Posted on Friday, March 2, 2007, at 3:10 pm


229 Comments

229 Responses to “What Does vs. What Do

  1. Greg says:

    Hello
    Would like to know the rules of ‘ does and do’
    Example: Question 1. HOw much does it cost?
    Question 2. How much does food leave in a pan?

    I realise the last question is incorrect but would kindly like to know the rules of when to use Does & Do

    Kind regards
    Greg .

  2. Jane says:

    “Does” is singular.
    Example: How much does it cost? It does cost how much.
    “It” is the singular subject so “does” follows.
    “Do” is plural.
    Example: How do camels walk so far without drinking water? Camels do walk so far without drinking water.
    “Camels” is the plural subject so “do” follows.

    • Douglas MacQueen says:

      You restrict do and does to singular or plural but what about “Do you want a car?” or “I do my work at night, but she does her work in the morning.” So should I be considering person plus singular or plural. e.g. 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person? Your answer will be very helpful for me and thank you. I use your information a lot. Thank you.

      • Jane says:

        The verb do has two forms in the present indicative: does for the third person singular (he, she, and it) and do for the other subject pronouns (I, you, we, they).

  3. Lindsay says:

    Captivates or captivate? Orchards is the closest noun to the verb, but it seems like array is the subject and “luscious orchards” is just an additional phrase.

    “Our array of luscious orchards captivates you.”

    After looking at your examples of subject-verb agreement, it seems that the plural form of the verb is needed, but I just wanted to double check b/c it still does not sound right.

    Thanks!

  4. Jane says:

    Our array of luscious orchards captivates you.
    “Array” is the subject and is singular. “Captivates” is also singular because you’d say “he captivates, they captivate.”

  5. ravi bedi says:

    Now if we remove array from this example; will the following be correct:

    Luscious orchards captivate you.

  6. Jane says:

    “Luscious orchards captivate you” works.
    However, “Luscious orchards will captivate you” or “Let our luscious orchards captivate you” would be even better.

  7. Jalal says:

    Thank you very much. I like your website.
    Can you answer this question.
    Which is correct:
    (1) What time does the movie start?
    (2) What time does the movie starts?

  8. David says:

    When I say “What do you think?” I interpret “you” to be singular. Why isn’t it “What does you think”?

  9. Judy says:

    Which of these are correct:

    Jesus loves me and so does my teachers!

    Jesus loves me and so do my teachers!

  10. Kim Knox says:

    Which is correct “do the special teams even have a coach?” I think it is does

  11. Sophie says:

    Which is correct “Why do the good die young?” or “Why does the good die young?” I believe it’s the first b/c “the good” is referring to a plural group of people however is it even correct to do this?

  12. Shiela says:

    What’s the difference between will and would?and shall and should.:))

  13. Jan says:

    Please tell me which is correct:

    What don’t the data tell us?

    What doesn’t the data tell us?

    • Jane says:

      “What don’t the data tell us?” is correct if the word data is being used in the plural sense as facts or pieces of information.
      “What doesn’t the data tell us?” is correct if the word data is being used in the singular sense as a body of facts.

  14. Crystal says:

    Which one is correct:

    How much do two bags of apples cost?
    How much does two bags of apples cost?

    • Jane says:

      The correct answer is, “How much do two bags of apples cost?” The bags are plural, which means you need a plural form. Perhaps it is easier to understand if you realize that you would say, “Two bags of apples do cost $5.00,” rather than “Two bags of apples does cost $5.00.”

  15. Kathy says:

    What is correct:
    What does each of the details of the passage have in common?
    What do each of the details of the passage have in common?

    I say does because the subject is each.

  16. diana says:

    Which is correct:

    Do your patients’ blood look like this?

    Does your patients’ blood look like this?

    According to MS Word the second is correct.

  17. Jane says:

    The word “blood” is a mass noun just like “water” and “milk.” These nouns cannot be pluralized so the correct usage would be “Does your patients’ blood look like this?”

  18. Kate says:

    My question is about how the difference between “and” and “or” figures into this.
    I already know the correct form is “Do next Monday and Tuesday work for you?”
    However, is it “do” or “does” in front of “…next Monday or Tuesday work for you?”

    Thank you.

    • Jane says:

      Rule 1 of Subject and Verb Agreement is: Two singular subjects connected by or or nor require a singular verb. Therefore, “Does next Monday or Tuesday work for you?”

  19. Xc says:

    Thanks Jane your explanation is simple and very easy to understand, by the way how about “did” when do we suppose to use it?

    • Jane says:

      The word “did” is the past tense of the verb “do.” The good thing is that it is the same for any subject:

      I did
      You did
      We did
      He/She did
      They did

  20. Melanie says:

    Help I am correcting a published websites grammar and have got a bit confused is it

    What problems do the government investigate?

    or
    What problems does the government investigate?

    I would have thought do but just checking! Thanks

    • Jane says:

      The “government” is considered a collective noun, which denotes a unit. AP Stylebook recommends the use of only a singular verb. The Chicago Manual of Style says that these nouns can take either a singular or plural verb, depending on the emphasis. “A singular verb emphasizes the group; a plural verb emphasizes the individual members.” (5.8) In this case, the government is considered a single unit, so “What problems does the government investigate?” would be correct.

  21. Yang says:

    i would like to ask you about this.
    “Jack blames the teachers for everything”
    or
    “Jack blame the teachers for everything”
    Thank you very much!

  22. meke says:

    could you explain me the differences of do/does in questions with are/is questions? thanks. ^_^

  23. Chris L says:

    Please help me resolve a debate between my wife and I (well, in part Microsoft Word and I). Which of the following sentences is correct:

    What implications does this have for their communities?

    What implications do this have for their communities?

    The first seems right to my ears. But isn’t “implications” a plural, thus requiring use of “do?”

    • Jane says:

      The correct sentence would be “What implications does this have for their communities?” The word “implications” is plural, but it is not the subject of the sentence, so the verb does not have to agree with it. If you turn the question around to place the subject first, you would say, “This does have what implications for their communities?”

      Since we are talking about grammar, I also need to point out that your first sentence should read, “Please help me resolve a debate between my wife and me (well, in part Microsoft and me).”

      • Andy says:

        What implications does this have to their communities?

        as a rejoinder, I think the questions should be phrased as such:

        What implications do these have to their communities? These referring to implications.

        • Jane says:

          Since the author of the original inquiry of August 10, 2011, used the word this, we must infer that he was referring to one factor with implications for the community; the opening of a shopping mall or the closing of a post office, for instance. This or these does not refer to implications but to the factor or factors causing implications.

  24. srikanth says:

    Thank you Jane for this valuable piece of information…it helped me a lot in understanding the difference between ‘do’ and ‘does’….

  25. anne says:

    thanks for the info, but still need your help, which is right
    Does your parents allows you to join or Do your parents allows you to join?
    thanks again

    • Jane says:

      If you turn the question around to place the subjects first, you would say, “Your parents do allow you to join.” Parents is plural, so you use the plural verb do allow, therefore the correct usage is “Do your parents allow you to join?”

  26. peter says:

    what would the correct sentnce.
    ” other offices does it ” or ”other offices do it”. This has caused an argument btw my wife and myself.

    • Jane says:

      Since offices is a plural subject, you need to use the plural verb do. I’m going to take the liberty of correcting the last part of your comment: “This has caused an argument between my wife and me.”

      • TANGEE says:

        When did we start using you and me or my wife and me instead of you and I and my wife and I? Thank you

        • Jane says:

          Our blog I vs. Me addresses this in detail. The first rule states, “Use one of the subject pronouns when it is the subject of the sentence.” The subject pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we, and they. The second rule states, “Use a subject pronoun following state of being verbs such as am, are, is, was, were.” The last rule says, “Use one of the object pronouns when the pronoun is not a subject and it doesn’t follow a state of being verb.” The object pronouns are me, you, him, her, it, us, and them. Examples:

          You and I need to stay late to finish this project.
          Sam brought in a treat for you and me.
          My wife and I are going on vacation next week.
          Tom gave the tickets to my wife and me.

  27. titay aranza says:

    I’m having a tough time with the use of “do” vs “does” in the possessive “yours”. Do you say “what does yours say?” or “what do yours say?” or would the usage depend on what the “reference” was like “These are my posters. What do yours say?” and “This is my poster. What does yours say?”

    • Jane says:

      Yes, you are correct that the usage depends on whether the subject of the sentence is singular or plural. Your two sentence pairs are correct.

  28. arturo says:

    What is correct:

    a) Does the trainee understand that anything…?
    or
    b) Does the trainee understood that anything…?

  29. Belen says:

    cuando usas How much does y cuando how much do

    • Jane says:

      If the subject noun is singular, “how much does” is used.
      Example: How much does one loaf of bread cost?

      If the subject noun is plural, “how much do” is used.
      Example: How much do two loaves of bread cost?

  30. Julie says:

    How do you explain do VS does with relation to “I”. For example, you say “I do” and not “I does” yet I is singular.

    • Jane says:

      Sometimes the correct usage just has to be memorized. The verb do has two forms in the present indicative: does for the third person singular (he, she, and it) and do for the other subject pronouns (I, you, we, they).

  31. Jack says:

    It’s crazy, but something that I was so dead certain about only a few minutes ago appears confusing now.

    What do the dog and THE cat have in common?

    Or

    What does the dog and the cat have in common? (this sounds wrong, and I’m sure it is wrong)

    Because we’d say ” What does the dog have in common with the cat?”

    The “the” would make a difference.

    For eg,
    The poet and writer has arrived(same person)

    The poet and the writer have arrived.

    Okay, I think I’ve got this clear, but it’d be nice if you can confirm!

    • Jane says:

      In your first example, there are two subjects, dog and cat. Therefore, use the plural verb do.

      What do the dog and the cat have in common?

      In the second example, What does the dog have in common with the cat, there is a singular subject, dog. The singular form does is used. If poet and writer describes only one person, then use the singular verb has.

      The poet and writer has arrived.

  32. joe says:

    How often (does/do?) hot rock and clouds of smoke pour from volcanoes?

    • Jane says:

      Since there are two subjects in your sentence connected by and (hot rock and clouds of smoke), use the plural form do.

      How often do hot rock and clouds of smoke pour from volcanoes?

  33. Stacy says:

    These days, I see alot of “go green” campaigns in malls. And behind each toilet doors, it says “When the trees disappear, so DO your toilet papers.” It keeps me wondering is it do/does your toilet papers?

  34. Phil says:

    Then how can you explain this to me:

    Every little thing she does is magic
    Everything she do just turns me on
    Even though my life before was tragic
    Now I know my love for her goes on

    (By the way lyrics of ‘Everything she does is magic’ from The Police)

    Everything is the subject? I’m confused.

    • Jane says:

      Many songs have bad grammar. The line “Everything she do just turns me on” is an error in subject-verb agreement. In this case, the complete subject is Everything she do. The simple subject is everything, and the verb turns agrees with it, which is fine. The verb do, however, does not agree with she. Therefore, the sentence should be written “Everything she does just turns me on.”

  35. Dan says:

    When a subject list is connected by ‘or’, is it a singular or plural subject? I’m sure ‘and’ makes it plural, just not positive about ‘or’. Both ‘do’ and does’ sound right to me in this situation.

    Also, if ONE of the items in the list is plural does that make the whole subject plural? This is moot if all lists are plural, just wanted to ask in case they weren’t.

    Correct/incorrect?: Do Bob or Betty care?

    Correct/incorrect?: Do Bob or the managers care?

    So glad you’re out here answering these questions!

    • Jane says:

      Our “Subject and Verb Agreement” section of GrammarBook.com’s grammar rules addresses this issue. Rule 1 says, “Two singular subjects connected by or or nor require a singular verb.” Therefore, “Does Bob or Betty care?”
      Rule 4 says, “When a singular subject is connected by or or nor to a plural subject, put the plural subject last and use a plural verb.” Therefore, “Do Bob or the managers care?”

  36. Trilia says:

    Question: Do Travelers have good life insurance policy? or Does Travelers have good life insurance?

    • Jane says:

      Since Travelers is the name of an insurance company, it is a singular proper noun, not the plural of the word traveler. Therefore, use the singular verb does.
      Does Travelers have good life insurance? Or, more properly, “Does Travelers offer a good life insurance policy?”

  37. Erch says:

    Q: In the question: “What does it do?” Why do we say do instead of does?

  38. Erch says:

    I know that “What does it does” is wrong but I can’t seem to figure out how to explain why.

    • Jane says:

      Verbs may be classified as principal or auxiliary. A principal verb is one that can stand alone to express an act or state. An auxiliary verb is used with a principal verb to form a verb phrase that indicates mood, tense, or voice. In the question, “What does it do?” do is the main verb and does is the auxiliary. If you turn the question around and say, “It does do what?” you will notice that does acts as an auxiliary. As an auxiliary verb, do or does is always followed by the base form of the main verb, which in this case is do.

      • G.Kannapiran says:

        Your explanations fine. I admire

        I have a doubt

        Which is right?

        When do the children do their home work?

        OR

        When the children do their home work?

        (Is double ‘do’ necessary?
        The anrwer i have is “The children do their home work at night”)

        • Jane says:

          You need to add the auxiliary verb do in addition to the main verb do in order to form the question. Also, the word homework is one word.
          When do the children do their homework?

          • G.Kannapiran says:

            Thanks a lot
            A teacher (perhaps in a hurry) corrected “when do the children do the homework?” as “when the children do the homework?” for framing a question..
            I was sure that the latter would be a subordinate clause, the meaning of which could be completed by addition of a main clause (Example: “When the children do the homework, they are disturbed by radio and TV programmes). Anyhow I had a doubt and your clarifications has given me the right position. Thank you very much.

          • Jane says:

            We are glad our website was helpful.

  39. Peter Hinson says:

    Hi,

    Your explanation about the use of ‘does’ and ‘do’ is not correct. The correct explanation is as follows:

    Use “Does” if the subject is third-person singular (he, she, it, John, Sally, the cat, etc.). Use “Do” everywhere else. Did for past tense.

    Regards

    Peter

  40. Jimmy Chen says:

    HELP! Which one is correct?
    1. What “do” she and her family do on the weekend?
    2. What “does” she and her family do on the weekend?

  41. Serenity says:

    Hi,
    I need help with the following:
    1. I don’t want to see her fail and don’t know why.
    2. I don’t want to see her fail and doesn’t know why.
    Can you let me know which one is correct and why? Many thanks :)

    • Jane says:

      The first sentence is correct. The subject I agrees with the verb don’t. You would not say “I doesn’t.” You could also write the compound sentence I don’t want to see her fail, and I don’t know why.

  42. kim says:

    which is correct?

    What does she want?
    or
    What does she wants?

  43. SNF says:

    what about these sentences? i don’t know which one is correct:
    a) She does has a fair skin.
    b) She does have a fair skin.

    c) Does she have a fair skin?
    d) Does she has a fair skin?

    e) She does drinks a plenty of water.
    f) She does drink a plenty of water.

    it is true that b, c and f are correct? why?

    • Jane says:

      The word a is unnecessary in all of your sentences. If you omit the word a, then b, c, and f are correct. You used the auxiliary verb does, therefore, you need to use the verbs have and drink.

      She does have fair skin.
      Does she have fair skin?
      She does drink plenty of water.

  44. confused says:

    Which is correct?

    He does things strangely
    He do things strangely

    The things he do are so strange
    The things he does are so strange

    Thanks.

  45. Kim says:

    Do exercise allow for patients readiness for discharge?

    Does exercise allow for patients readiness for discharge?

    Which one is correct?

    Thanks

    • Jane says:

      Since the word exercise is a singular noun, use the verb does. Also, the word patients’ is a possessive plural noun (readiness of the patients) and requires an apostrophe. Therefore, to be grammatically correct, the sentence would be, “Does exercise allow for patients’ readiness for discharge?” While grammatically correct, this is an odd sentence as the notion that “exercise allows readiness” does not seem to have much meaning. Perhaps you mean something like, “Does exercise hasten patients’ readiness for discharge?” or “Does exercise facilitate patients’ readiness for discharge?”

  46. FRED. says:

    Which one is correct?Does anyone of you have an account here or does anyone of you has an account.

    • Jane says:

      Neither is correct. Anyone and any one often get confused. Anyone means “anybody.”
      Example: Anyone can learn to play the game.
      Any one means “any single member of a group of people or things.”
      Example: Can any one of you tell me the answer to my question?

      You could write any of the following:

      Does any one of you have an account here? OR
      Does anyone have an account here? OR
      Do any of you have an account here?

  47. Jim says:

    Do any of your family know about me. or
    Does any of your family know about me.

    Do any of your friends know about me. or
    Does any of your friends know about me.

    • Jane says:

      The word any is an indefinite pronoun. It can be either singular or plural depending on what it is referring to. In your sentences, any refers to family and friends. Family is a collective noun, which in this case is not acting like a single unit (some family members may know you, some may not) and is therefore plural. The word friends is plural. Both words take the plural verb do. Also, your examples are questions and require a question mark at the end.

      Do any of your family know about me?
      Do any of your friends know about me?

  48. FRED. says:

    THANKS JANE

  49. HOTEAcher says:

    Do or Does yoga and sport psychology concepts effect the cognitive development?

    Do or Does??

    Thanks.

    • HOTEAcher says:

      I am assuming Do since yoga and sport psychology are the subejects…

      • Jane says:

        The subjects of the sentence are yoga and concepts. Sport psychology is a phrasal adjective describing concepts. The rule is to use a plural verb with two or more subjects when they are connected by and. Also, you need to use the verb affect rather than effect and drop the. Therefore: Do yoga and sport psychology concepts affect cognitive development?

  50. jerry says:

    Hi Jane,

    First of all I love all your info. It has been a great help for me. I do have a question on this topic. You have stated that “does” is singular and “do” is for plural. My question is as follows:
    Which one is correct?

    Who better do the bed? John better do bed!
    who better does the bed? John better does the bed!

    Thank you Jane.

  51. jerry says:

    sorry I did not proofread Jane. I meant to say

    Who better do the bed? John better do the bed!
    who better does the bed? John better does the bed!

    • Jane says:

      I would not recommend use of the word better without using had in formal writing, even though Merriam Webster’s Dictionary recognizes it as such (had better better hurry> ). Also, the word make is a better verb choice than do when referring to preparing a bed. I recommend rewording to the following:

      Who had better make the bed? John had better make the bed. OR
      Who should make the bed? John should make the bed.

      Regarding the verb do, when it is used with an auxiliary, the following is correct:
      Who had better do the dishes? John had better do the dishes.

      Without the auxiliary verb:
      Who does the dishes today? John does the dishes today.

  52. Line says:

    Am confused about ‘What does/do your friends do at weekends’ – I know friends are plural but since there are two ‘dos’ do they both relate to friends or ?

    • Jane says:

      Yes, they both relate to friends. Also, I recommend the phrase on weekends instead of at weekends. Since it is a question, a question mark is required at the end.

      What do your friends do on weekends? OR
      Your friends do what on weekends?

  53. Seb says:

    Oh wait, I can find the answer to my question by applying another comment above based on the third person singular. Very helpful

  54. Ome says:

    Aside from computer courses, what courses do/does Harvard University offer/offers?

    do/does?
    offer/offers?

    thanks!

    • Jane says:

      The subject Harvard University is singular, and you would use the singular form does offer in the following example:
      Harvard University does offer computer courses.

      Aside from computer courses, what courses does Harvard University offer?

  55. gabrielle says:

    hi! i´m a little bit confused with this sentence, so i need your help please.

    is it correct to say “These little details does not go unnoticeable”?

    i thought the right way to say it was ” these little details do not go ….”

    • Jane says:

      Since the subject is the plural noun details, use the plural verb do. Also, you need to use the adjective unnoticed meaning “without being noticed,” rather than unnoticeable, which means “not easily seen.”

      These little details do not go unnoticed.

  56. Sreehari says:

    What about the usage of Do and Does with I? Please quote some examples.

    • Jane says:

      The pronouns I, you, we, and they are always used with the word do. The pronouns he, she, and it are used with does. Examples:

      I do think it might rain tomorrow.
      You do not have enough gasoline.
      We do not want to attend the concert.
      They do like yoga.
      She does not drive at night.
      He does enjoy playing golf.
      It does not need to be painted yet.

  57. Julie says:

    Hi! Should we write:
    (1) Which of these bands do your weekly allowance fall into?
    (2) Which of these bands does your weekly allowance fall into?

    I think it is (2) but would appreciate your advice. Thanks so much!

    • Jane says:

      You are correct. The subject of the sentence is allowance, so the verb must agree with that word. If you turn the question around to place the subject first, you would say, “Your weekly allowance does fall into which of these bands?”

  58. Hamanth says:

    Which one is right?

    do he still writes PANQUIN ?
    Or
    does he still writes PANQUIN ?

    • Jane says:

      Use the singular verb does with the singular pronoun he. Also, do not use all capital letters in formal writing. Assuming that Panquin is the name of a person, the sentence should be:
      Does he still write to Panquin?

  59. Mark says:

    First of all I would like to thank you for providing such a valuable information.. I’ve also noticed that you have been answering all our queries since last three years.. It really helped me to understand the use of “do and does” . All I wanted to know is, how can I improve my grammar as well as speaking power ??
    Pardon me for the grammatical error. :-)

    • Jane says:

      Thank you for your kind words. We’ve actually been answering reader’s inquiries for almost six years. You are already on the right track to improving your language skills by visiting our website. To improve your grammar and punctuation skills, I recommend reviewing all of the rules and taking the online quizzes. Then read the blogs as well as the questions and answers that go with them. You may also wish to take an English class offered in your community or at a local college.

  60. jojes says:

    I always confuse when a sentence starts with “does”, the verb always follows with plural or single. Thank you.

    “does she likes me”
    or does she like me.

    does he play basketball
    or does he plays basketball

    • Jane says:

      Does is an auxiliary verb that is used with the principal verb to form a verb phrase. It does not matter whether does comes at the beginning of the sentence or not. If you turn the question around to form a statement, you would say “She does like me,” or “He does play basketball.”
      Therefore:
      Does she like me?
      Does he play basketball?

      Perhaps you are confusing the verb forms for the situations where the word does is or is not present at all. For comparison:
      “She does like me.” vs. “She likes me.”
      “He does play basketball.” vs. “He plays basketball.”

  61. John says:

    Which is correct? The media does not always follow his advice, or the media do not always his advice?

  62. john says:

    my question is out of topic, but i’m wondering if you can help me explaining why “almost forgot” should be used instead of “almost forget”?

    i was really impressed on how you were able to explain the use of do/does. i would really appreciate it if you can help me

    more power ms. straus :)

    • Jane says:

      The word almost is of secondary importance. Forget is present tense and forgot is past tense. For example, When I left my house, I almost forgot my keys. Using the word forget with almost is going to occur more rarely, but, for example, you could use the term if you were asking the question, Did you almost forget your keys?

  63. Bill Doak says:

    Always amusing when people make a big to-do over usage.

  64. Prerna says:

    Hi Jane,

    I was quite clear on the rules of do/does. However, I saw an English expert quote at some website:

    “if you observe this language it take its own form, if that language is widely used and so does the grammar rules.”

    - now “grammar rules” is plural then why the expert has not used “do”.

    Is the expert wrong here?

    Your comment is highly appreciated.

    - Prerna

    • Jane says:

      There are other problems with that sentence but that may be due to typos. Let’s focus on your question. You are correct that the verb in the second part of the sentence should be do instead of does to agree with the noun rules.

  65. Jay says:

    Help!

    “What kind of books do Patrick need to bring?”
    “What kind of books does Patrick need to bring?”

    • Jane says:

      If you turn the sentence around to place the subject first, you would say, “Patrick does need to bring what kind of books?” The subject Patrick is singular, so you need the singular verb does.
      What kind of books does Patrick need to bring?

  66. EB says:

    Which is correct?

    If your dinner or drink does not come, contact the waiter.

    If your dinner or drink do not come, contact the waiter.

    • Jane says:

      Our Rule 1 of Subject and Verb Agreement says, “Two singular subjects connected by or or nor require a singular verb.” Therefore, write “If your dinner or drink does not come, contact the waiter.”

  67. Csa says:

    This came up in a conversation I had last night. Which is correct in this case?

    She better do it.
    She better does it.

    I’m wondering if there is an even better way to phrase this, like “She had better do it.” Or “She had better complete it.” omitting do or does.

    Thanks

    • Jane says:

      In formal writing, using the auxiliary verb had with better in a sentence such as this is preferred. Regarding the verb do, when it is used with an auxiliary, the following is correct:
      She had better do it.

  68. majapiri says:

    Hello,

    I would like to know what to use in this sentense and why

    Do/does her parents know about it?

  69. Richa says:

    which one is correct:
    i don’t know. doesn’t even want to know.
    or
    i don’t know. don’t even want to know.

    please let me know the correct sentence.

    • Jane says:

      Formal writing:
      I do not know and do not even want to know. OR
      I do not know. I do not even want to know.

      Informal or spoken:
      I don’t know and don’t even want to know. OR
      I don’t know. I don’t even want to know.

  70. Lola says:

    Which one is correct.

    What do these dogs do on the farm?
    what do these dogs does on the farm?

  71. Angus says:

    Hi, I’m hoping you can answer my question. Which is correct…

    What does water and EcoStruxure have in common?

    or

    What do water and EcoStruxure have in common?

  72. Perry says:

    Hello! How would I explain “do vs does” in this example;

    What does your girlfriend do exactly?

    • Jane says:

      Verbs may be classified as principal or auxiliary. A principal verb is one that can stand alone to express an act or state. An auxiliary verb is used with a principal verb to form a verb phrase that indicates mood, tense, or voice. In the question, “What does your girlfriend do?” do is the main verb and does is the auxiliary. If you turn the question around and say, “Your girlfriend does do what?” you will notice that does acts as an auxiliary. As an auxiliary verb, do or does is always followed by the base form of the main verb, which in this case is do.

  73. John says:

    It should be recognized up front that the administration and School Board does not recommend early admission.

    Would I use do or does?

    Thanks.

    • Jane says:

      Our Rule 6 of Subject and Verb Agreement says, “As a general rule, use a plural verb with two or more subjects when they are connected by and.” The plural form for the auxiliary verb in this case is do. Also, The Chicago Manual of Style’s Rule 8.62 states, “The full names of administrative bodies are capitalized. Adjectives derived from them are usually lowercased, as are many of the generic names for such bodies when used alone…
      the Illinois State Board of Education; the board of education
      the Ithaca City School District; the school district; the district”

      It should be recognized up front that the administration and school board do not recommend early admission.

  74. Marco says:

    Is this right..
    I don’t know about her
    I don’t see any fees

    I still confuse with do/does. If I read the theory the right sentences are

    I doesn’t know about her
    I doesn’t see any fees

    How?

    • Jane says:

      The word don’t is a contraction for do not. Doesn’t is a contraction for does not.The pronouns I, you, we, and they are always used with the word do. The pronouns he, she, and it are used with does. Therefore, write the following:
      I don’t know about her.
      I don’t see any fees.

  75. Terrence says:

    Which one is correct?

    Do not exist.
    Does not exist.

    and
    It do not exist
    It does not exist.

    • Jane says:

      Your first two examples can both be correct depending on whether the subject of the sentence is singular or plural. Examples:
      Unicorns do not exist.
      A purple zebra does not exist.

      Since the subject of your last sentence is the singular pronoun it, the correct verb is does.
      It does not exist.

  76. ehab says:

    hi please i want to ask which is correct & why
    1- i don’t know what does she do
    2- i don’t know what she does

    thanks

    • Jane says:

      Your sentences could both be correct with the proper punctuation. The first example is correct as two closely linked sentences using a semicolon.

      I don’t know; what does she do?

      The second sentence is correct as a statement with a period at the end.

      I don’t know what she does.

  77. VLAD says:

    Sorry? can you help me?
    which sentence is correct:
    Who do comes here at morning
    who does comes here in the morning

    • Jane says:

      The words do and does are unnecessary in your sentences. Also, the term is “in the morning” rather than “at morning.”
      Who comes here in the morning?

  78. VLAD says:

    oh without -s in verbs

    • Jane says:

      Not all verbs are written without an s. A verb must agree with the subject. Generally, a singular noun goes with a singular verb that does end in s and a plural noun goes with a plural verb that does not end in s. However, the verb do has two forms in the present indicative: does for the third person singular (he, she, and it) and do for the other subject pronouns (I, you, we, they).

  79. sree says:

    which one is correct?

    Tina and Mike don’t play tennis.
    Tina and mike doesn’t play tennis.

    • Jane says:

      Since you have two subjects in your sentence, Tina and Mike, you need the plural form do not. The contraction for do not is don’t.

      Tina and Mike do not play tennis. OR
      Tina and Mike don’t play tennis.

  80. sree says:

    Since its plural i believe it would be Tina and Mike don’t play tennis.Will the same be applicable when you ask a question ?
    Does John and Natasha watch movies on weekends?
    Do John and Natasha watch movies on weekends?

  81. Inga says:

    Hello, I have a question.

    Does Linda and her friend or Do Linda and her friend?

    I know the rule says it’s ‘do’, yet the former sounds more right. Is there a rule about named subjects vs unnamed? Like, when we say Do name and name, we mean two people doing together and when we say Does name and noname, then we mean that the person with a name does something with the person with no name?

    • Jane says:

      It does not matter whether the subjects are named or unnamed, if there are two subjects the verb must be plural. There is not a specific rule for unnamed subjects.

      Do Linda and her friend want to join us for dinner?
      Do Linda and Sandy want to join us for dinner?
      Do you and she want to join us for dinner?

  82. hana says:

    in the sentence ” When does your family have dinner together?” why do we use does instead of do? isnt do the proper word to use for the pronoun “they”

  83. Luciano says:

    hey, I’ve a question.

    in comments, my friend asked me “your teddy loves me, but what about Luciano (me)”

    so, can I reply in that way?

    “So Does He” ?
    or there should be something else?
    thanks :)

    • Jane says:

      If you want to answer by referring to yourself in the third person, you could also reply by saying, “He does too.” Otherwise you could say, “I do too,” or “So do I.”

  84. Keefern says:

    Hi!
    Great page for a foreigner learning english.

    Why don’t/doesn’t my chest and biceps grow with the same apparent ease as my stomach?
    Doesn’t sound better, but don’t seem to be correct. What do you think?

    • Jane says:

      We are glad you find our website helpful. Your sentence has two subjects, chest and biceps. The contraction don’t is a shortened form for do not, and the contraction doesn’t means does not. If you make your question a statement, you would say “My chest and biceps don’t (do not) grow with the same apparent ease as my stomach.” Therefore, the same is true of your question.

  85. Chad Martin says:

    I’m trying to figure out which of these two sentences is correct. The “yours” refers to someone’s individual rate rather than multiple rates.

    “If our rates go up, yours does too.” or “If our rates go up, yours do too.”

    Any advice? Appreciate any insight you can give.

    Thanks!

    • Jane says:

      The subject of your sentence is rates. You need the plural verb do to agree with the plural noun rates. Since you would say “Your rates do go up,” the correct word to use is do.
      “If our rates go up, yours do too.”

  86. Alan says:

    Which Holidays does the employer recognize?

    Which Holidays do the employer recognize?

    Which one??

    • Jane says:

      If you turn the question around to place the subject first, you would say “The employer does recognize which holidays?” The word holidays should not be capitalized.

      Which holidays does the employer recognize?

  87. K Dean says:

    Which is correct here?

    “Which Estimates do/does the Investment Community rely on.”

    Tricky one for me. appreciate feedback!

    • Jane says:

      The correct choice is does. If you turn the question around to place the subject first, you would say “The investment community does rely on which estimates?” Note that estimates and investment community are not capitalized and there is a question mark at the end of the sentence.

      Which estimates does the investment community rely on?

  88. ridwan says:

    Hello Jane. Thanks for your lessons. I would like to ask which is correct in an exam hall.
    Who has a pen? Or
    Who have a pen?
    But I guess it’s the first one because of its singular subject.
    Thanks

  89. ridwan says:

    Please,which one is correct and why?
    I thought I knew him OR
    I think I know him.
    Thanks.

  90. Hi Jane.
    an English teacher taught Thai students this
    Where do you go for this weekend ? / Where do you go for the weekend ?
    Is this correct?
    How about ,,, Where are you going for the weekend?
    Thanks !

    • The following sentences are grammatically correct, but they mean different things:

      Where do you go for the weekend? (This means: Where do you usually go on a typical weekend?)
      Where are you going for the weekend? (This means: Where do you intend to go for this upcoming weekend?)

      Rather than writing “Where do you go for this weekend?” it would be better to write “Where will you go this weekend?” or “Where are you going this weekend?”

  91. Marina says:

    Dear Jane: Please help my marriage by settling this dispute between my husband and myself. I am reading a book by Gregg Braden and a sentence reads:

    The increase in the brain capacity of modern humans is one of the anomalies that don’t fit well into the template of evolutionary theory.

    The subject that “don’t” modifies is “one” I believe, so shouldn’t it be “doesn’t” since it is singular?

    • We understand how a tricky sentence like that one can lead to disputes. In situations like this, you must look closely at what the sentence really means. We find it helpful to rearrange the sentence:

      Of the anomalies that don’t/doesn’t fit well into the template of evolutionary theory, the increase in the brain capacity of modern humans is one. We can see from this that the verb must agree with the plural noun “anomalies.” Therefore “don’t” is correct.

  92. chris says:

    hi Jane,

    which is correct?

    what does she do after doing her homework? or what does she do after she does her homework?

    thanks…

  93. Gavelind says:

    Thank you for a great site! My question may have been answered before, but I could not find it.
    What is the correct form?
    (context: the boss had given instructions, the workers…
    - They did what he wanted
    or
    - They did as he wanted
    considering that they acted upon what he had told them to do, both the way they did it, and the things they did.

    • It seems that a better choice of wording here might be “They did what he asked.” If you insist on using the word wanted, use the word what. “What he wanted” implies “that which he wanted.” To be completely clear, you could write the following:

      They did what he asked them to do. OR

      They did what he wanted them to do.

  94. ridwan says:

    Please which one is correct.
    When will John come out and speak the truth? OR
    When will John comes out and speak the truth?
    Thanks.

  95. Dee says:

    What about this?
    How does your grandma & mom make coffee?

    Something doesn’t sound right. Hmmm. I wonder what the proper way to write this would be?

    • Your sentence has two subjects, “grandma” and “mom.” The verb must be plural. The correct verb choice is do. Also, an ampersand is not recommended in formal writing.
      How do your grandma and mom make coffee?

  96. Nya says:

    Hi, I’m a bit confused;So if I asked,

    ‘What does Anna, Bella, Catherine and Delia have in common?’

    …would I be grammatically correct?

    Or is it ‘What do Anna, Bella, Catherine and Delia have in common?’

    Thank you for your time!

  97. Rasmus says:

    Hey there.

    I’ve been arguing with my teacher about a this. could you try and clarify it for us. :)

    “Do the prime minister and her husband arrive together?”

    I’m saying that there must be missing a word in front of “do” or that it should be a does.

    regards
    Rasmus

    • Since the sentence has two subjects, the auxiliary verb do is correct, and there is no missing word in a question like this. If you turn the question around to make a statement, it would read “The prime minister and her husband do arrive together.”

  98. Abhimanyu says:

    Hi,
    In the sentence “How long does it take you?”, how come ‘does’ is used with ‘you’ when plural form of the verb is always used with ‘you’?

  99. sg says:

    hi,
    do our mother cook?
    or
    does our mother cook?

    i guess it should be the second one but need to clarify with it.

    thanks

    • The auxiliary verb does is correct in your sentence. If you turn the question around to make a statement, it reads “Our mother does cook.” The first word in the sentence should be capitalized.

  100. ashi says:

    Which is the correct sentence

    who don’t want to study or

    who doesn’t want to study

    • Since there are no capital letters at the beginning or punctuation at the end, we assume these are clauses, not sentences. The word who may be singular or plural, depending on the person or persons it refers to. Therefore, both of your clauses could be correct.

      If you really mean sentence, then only “Who doesn’t want to study?” can be a correct sentence.

  101. Grace Laverdiere says:

    Can you please tell me if I would use do or does in this sentence? Why do/does Mary’s doctors give her that medicine?

    Thank you.

  102. ridwan says:

    Hello, please which one is correct? No Arsenal players have ever tweeted he won a trophy. OR. No Arsenal player has ever tweeted he won a trophy.

  103. Jean says:

    Please tell me if i’m right!

    What does a butterfly eat?
    Where do butterflies come from?

  104. Yolonda says:

    Which is correct?

    Do your company pay workers by the hour?

    Does your company pay workers by the hour?

  105. ridwan says:

    Could you please elaborate more on why do people use article ‘An’ for words starting with ‘H’. Thanks

    • The only time the article an is used before a word starting with the letter “H” is when the “H” is not pronounced, such as “an herb” or “an hour.” If the “H” is pronounced, the article a is used, such as “a horse” or “a hotel.”

  106. ridwan says:

    Are the following sentences correct? Who has not gotten his/her book? I hope everyone has a gift. Who has a pen?

  107. ridwan says:

    Could you please explain the following. Lend Vs Borrow. Lender Vs Borrower.

    • Lend and borrow are verbs. Lend means “to give (something) to (someone) to be used for a period of time and then returned.” The definition of borrow is “to take and use (something that belongs to someone else) for a period of time before returning it.” Lender and borrower are nouns meaning “one who lends” and “one who borrows.”

  108. Ridwan says:

    Is this statement correct? He does what he does best.

  109. Nathaniel says:

    Hey I have a quick question. When comparing two things and what they have in common, would it be proper to say:

    1) What does a penguin and a chicken have in common?

    or:

    2) What do a penguin and a chicken have in common?

  110. Zen says:

    Hello,

    Do I use

    a) Where does all the poison go?

    or

    b) Where do all the poison go?

    My line of thinking:

    ‘All’ is innumerable and ‘poison’ intangible (because I’m using it as a metaphor, somewhat).

    Hence the confusion.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Zen says:

      *Reading the comments, I’m inclined to think ‘does’ is correct. Am I wrong?

      • With words that indicate portions, e.g., a lot, a majority, some, all, we are guided by the noun after of. If the noun after of is singular, use a singular verb. If it is plural, use a plural verb.

        In the sentence “Where does all [of] the poison go?” the noun poison is singular. Therefore use the singular verb does.

  111. gigi says:

    I want to ask how to use the phrase “What…is that…”. I find it a bit difficult to make such sentences.

  112. Janice says:

    Please help.

    How do I structure these questions?

    1. “Does the Mining Act have retrospective effect?” OR “Do the Mining Act have retrospective effect?”

    2. “Do the State owe any obligation to the Claimants?” or “Does the State owe any obligation to the Claimants?”

    Been sticking to the singular “does” for days but need confirmation!

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