Tuesday, May 5

Lesson 8: The Guest Verbs (Doesn’t, Don’t and Didn’t)

courtesy of free images 

From the previous lesson (Lesson 7: How to Match Your Subject and Verb), if you take the same paragraph and make it negative, you’ll notice something different:

The man is wearing  a costume. He is a clown. He goes to the circus. He has

worked there for a long time. He was an office worker before.

The man isn’t wearing  a costume. He isn’t a clown. He doesn’t go to the

circus. He hasn’t worked there for a long time. He wasn’t an office worker before.

Today let me introduce the 3 “Guest Verbs”: 

  1. Doesn’t 
  2. Don’t 
  3. Didn’t

I call them “guests” because you can't always see them and they only appear when you want to use negative Action Verbs. For example:   

We don’t go to the movies very often.
You don’t know what you’re talking about.
He doesn’t live here.
She doesn’t speak Chinese.

This means that, if you want to use Action Verbs, go ahead and follow the Actor + Action pattern that we studied in Lesson 2: The Simple and Easy Action Verbs. But if you want to use negative Action Verbs, then you need to add the Guest Verbs

Take a look:

I like golf.
He works here.                                                Positive Action Verbs
You know what you’re talking about.

I don’t like golf. 
He doesn’t work here.                                           Negative Action Verbs
You don’t know what you’re talking about.   

In addition, I hope you notice that after these Guest Verbs (Doesn’t, Don’t and Didn’t), the next word is always a Verb in base form:

                             I    don’t   like golf. 

                            He doesn’t   work   here. 

                            You   don’t   know   what you’re talking about.

So, if we have our original sentence:

I   do   my   homework.

(The sentence above has only one Verb, the Action Verb "do" in Present tense. We haven't added any Guest Verb yet.


The negative forms will become:

                                                 I don’t do my homework.
                                                 He doesn’t do his homework.
                                                 We don’t do our homework.
                                                 You don’t do your homework.
                                                 She doesn’t do her homework.
                                                 They don’t do their homework.
                                                 It doesn’t do its homework.

My, his, our, etc. are called Possessive Pronouns and sometimes you need to change them inside your sentence. It’s easy. You just need to memorize the matching Possessive form to each of the 7 Pronouns. Like this: 

I = my
He = his
We = our
You = your
She = her
They = their
It = its

Changing Possessive Pronouns inside your sentence is a different and separate skill. But if you practice and become good, it will be very useful for you.      

Going back to our topic, always keep in mind this handy formula:

Doesn’t / Don’t + base verb.

Lastly, if you want to use negative Action Verbs in the Past, you will use the last of the 3 Guest VerbsDidn’t:

I liked golf before. 
He worked here last year. 
You knew what you were talking about in the last meeting. 

I didn’t like golf.
He didn’t work here.
You didn’t know what you were talking about. 
Keep on learning !

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