Friday, November 23

Do: Positive or Negative?

image courtesy of stock.xchng 

General Rules

Do you know that the Helping VerbDo” is often used in questions and negative sentences only?

That’s right. Take a look at this example:

Q: Do you like sea food?

A: Yes, I like sea food.

-- or –

A: No, I don’t like sea food.

In our positive answer, if you try to add “Do,” you will be wrong:

A: Yes, I do like sea food. = X

Some learners make this mistake in speaking. Please avoid doing so. You should practice using “Do” in questions and negative sentences, but not in positive sentences.

The same rule holds for "Does" and "Did." 

Here are more examples:

Q: Do you have an iPhone? = Ok

A: Yes, I have an iPhone. = Ok

A: Yes, I do have an iPhone. = X

A: No, I don’t have an iPhone. = Ok

Q: Did they go to the mall? = Ok

A: Yes, they went to the mall. = Ok 

A: Yes, they did go to the mall. = X

A: No, they didn't go to the mall. = Ok 

Of course when you’re making short sentences, that’s a different case. All short sentences and answers use Helping Verbs.

For example:

Q: Can you swim?

A: Yes, I can.

Q: Should we take a taxi?

A: Yes, we should.

Q: Will she join the trip?

A: No, she won’t.

Q: Do you have a pet?

A: Yes, I do.

The Positive Side of “Do”

By now you might be asking yourself: 

Is it really impossible for us to use “Do” in positive sentences?

The answer is: Yes, it’s possible. But then we’ll be talking about a special case.  The exception to our general rules.

Take a look at our next set of examples:

Q: Are you sure that you like cats?

A: Yes, I do like cats.

Q: You said that she has a car.

A: She does have a car.

Q: Didn’t you attend the meeting?

A: Yes, I did attend the meeting.

What do you think about the examples above? Do you feel anything different about them?

As a matter of fact, all the examples above are showing us emphasis. Emphasis means that the sentences are stronger.

Imagine that your girlfriend doesn’t believe what you’re saying. She asks you:

Q: Are you sure that you love me?

In a situation like this when she’s doubting what you tell her, you can make your words stronger by saying:

A: Yes, I do love you.

The same with your friends:

Q: You said that you have a new electric guitar.

A: I do have one. I just can’t show it to you right now.

With your mom:

Q: Didn’t you clean your room like I told you?

A: Mom, I did clean my room. But I still can’t find my socks. 

As you can feel in the sentences above, using the Helping VerbDo” in a positive sentence adds force to the truth of your sentence.

The sentences above are similar to:

Yes, I do love you. = Yes, I really love you.

I do have one. = I really have one.

I did clean my room. = I really cleaned my room.

As a matter of fact, when we speak, we put stress on the Helping VerbDo.”

But Be Careful!

The special case above will work for “Do,” but not with the other Helping Verbs.

For example, it’s wrong to say:

Q: Have you really been to China?

A: Yes, I do have been to China. = X

Q: Are you really a man?

A: Yes! I do am a man! = X

Q: Can you really ski?

A: Yes, I do can ski. = X

With the other Helping Verbs, it’s enough to emphasize / stress the word themselves. You don’t need to add the “DoVerb anymore.

Like this:

Q: Have you really been to China?

A: Yes, I have been to China. = Ok

Q: Are you really a man?

A: Yes! I am a man! = Ok

Q: Can you really ski?

A: Yes, I can ski. = Ok

Hope you learned something!

Keep on learning !

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