Why we should use "involve", and not "involves" in this example:

"So, what does this specialization involve?"

It seems to me that the verb should be in the form "involves" since it is refers to the noun "specialization":

"Verbs with a third-person singular noun or pronoun (he, she, boat, courage) as a subject ever have an added s on the end"

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    This seems like it would be better suited to English Language Learners SE. Sep 7, 2016 at 18:54
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    It's because of the presence of "does". The auxiliary verb "do" requires the verb that follows it to be an infinitival verb-form, and that is what "involve" is, an infinitive, not a tensed verb-form like "involves".
    – BillJ
    Sep 7, 2016 at 19:01
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    +1 for observing the apparent contradiction and lucidly explaining what you did not understand. It's a complicated bit of English syntax.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 7, 2016 at 19:10
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    Yes, that is correct.
    – BillJ
    Sep 7, 2016 at 19:39
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    It might help if you look at the 'un-fronted' version: "[So,] this specialization does involve what?" {'does involve' = 'involves'}
    – AmI
    Sep 7, 2016 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


We use "involve" here instead of "involves" because there is an auxiliary verb as the main verb here (do/does). Auxiliary verbs typically take an infinitive or the bare infinitive (without the "to"), so we use "involve" with "does"

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