English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Hypocrisy don't makes you a human.
Hypocrisy doesn't make you a human.

Which would be grammatically correct: don't makes you or doesn't make you?

Or perhaps it should be:

Hypocrisy would never make you a human.

share|improve this question
Welcome to ELU! May I ask what your native language is? – StoneyB Apr 28 '14 at 0:23
The correct version is "doesn't make": Hypocrisy doesn't make you a human. An alternative might be: Hypocrisy could never make you a human, but I'm with @FumbleFingers – I'm having trouble understanding what the sentence could possibly mean. If there was ever a trait that was unique to humans, it'd be hypocrisy (but I suppose that aspect of the sentence ought to be discussed at Philosophy). – J.R. Apr 28 '14 at 8:44

The verb in a sentence may be a single lexical verb (a verb with distinct 'meaning') or a 'chain' of one or more auxiliary verbs ('helper' verbs) followed by the lexical verb.

However many verbs there are in the chain, only the first is inflected to agree with the subject of the sentence for tense, person and number. The other verbs in the chain are all "non-finite" forms: an infinitive or 'plain' form, or a present or past participle.

In your example the subject is hypocrisy, which is 3rd person singular, and there are two verbs, whose plain forms are do and make. The first verb, do, is inflected to agree with its 3d person singular subject, and the second takes its infinitive form:

Hypocrisy doesn't make you a human.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for making it understand beautifully. – arm Apr 28 '14 at 0:55
But it's probably worth noting that in casual conversation native speakers often say things like "That don't seem quite right" (i.e. - informally many/most of us are at least sometimes quite prepared to use don't where it should really be doesn't). Which don't bother me none, but obviously many will say it's just "sloppy" speech. – FumbleFingers Apr 28 '14 at 1:01
Losing skin offa your nose don't make you human either. I must admit I'm intrigued at the idea there's a culture somewhere on this earth using a language where the translated version of Hypocrisy doesn't make you a human would seem like a credible utterance. Personally, I'd have thought displaying hypocrisy would be better than any current Turing Test for deciding if the test subject was in fact human (if not, it would be unimaginably advanced AI! :) – FumbleFingers Apr 28 '14 at 1:20
Not all of us talk like that, though. A lot of the English I use informally is non-standard, but I'd never say "that don't seem quite right". – snailplane Apr 28 '14 at 1:25
@snailplane Some of us do it on purpose, to distress the people in marketing and PR who think the language they speak is English. – StoneyB Apr 28 '14 at 1:27

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.