For example, I can say "I do like apples". May I similarly say

A kitten do like to play with a clew

or should I use does instead. Also, in sentences like

Only then do/does it really matter, which choice you make.

  • I meant a ball of worsted (like in "Alice Through The Looking-Glass"). I asked this question, because I remember myself confused several times by hearing/reading something like the last sentence I put: "Only then do it really matter...", so "do" was used with third singular. Similarly, I heard an infinitive used in smth. like: "He heard the referee go [not goes, not went] "foul!" ". (But perhaps, the ending "es" was swallowed, I am not sure). Thanks for helping
    – user31055
    Nov 6, 2013 at 23:38

3 Answers 3


I (1st person singular) do like words.

A kitten (3rd person singular) does like words.

If you want to stress the verb in the second sentence you'll probably want to use an adverb. "A kitten truly does like words." The word do in your first sentence is part of the verb, not a modifier. I can see how you might be confused if you are learning English the way it is generally taught nowadays, i.e. without a formal study of English grammar.


In English, a verb phrase includes an optional auxiliary verb (or "helping verb") such as "have", "will", "shall", "do" or "be". The auxiliary verb appears in front of the main verb.

When the auxiliary verb is present, the auxiliary verb takes on the inflections of tense (past, present) as well as person (I, you, they, ...).

The main verb remains in an infinitive or participle form.

For instance, suppose the auxiliary is "have" and the main verb is "be". In this case, "be" turns into the participle "been", and then "have" undergoes various inflections:

I have been there.

I had been there.

She has been there.

The "been" does not change. Now if you don't have an auxiliary verb, then the main verb takes the inflections:

I am there.

I was there.

She is there.

It is exactly the same thing when the auxiliary is "do", and the main verb is "like". The auxiliary "do" takes the inflections. Here, "like" is in a nonpast/infinitive form rather than a past participle:

I do like ..

She does like ..

She did like ...

If we take out "do", then "like" has to take on the inflections for person and tense:

I like

She likes

She liked

It is the same for all other auxiliaries. For instance "shall" with "go":

I shall go

I should go

and "will" with "go":

I will go

I would go

or "be" with "go":

I am gone

She is gone

She was gone

The trick is knowing which form of the main verb to use: participle or plain present. "I am go" and "I will gone" are ungrammatical!


From my early lessons in English grammar comes the following:

I, you, he/she/it are all singular (first, second, and third persons respectively) and therefore take a singular verb, including for example the two-word verb "do like."

I do like carrots. You do like carrots. He/She/It does like carrots.

We/you/they are all plural (first, second, and third persons respectively) and therefore take a plural verb, including for example the two-word verb "do like."

We do like carrots. You do like carrots. They do like carrots.

The question arises naturally, then, "Why is it correct for me to say 'I do like' (since I am just one, singular person) and incorrect to say 'He do like' (since he's just one, singular person)? Shouldn't both sentences contain "do like," as in 'I do like' and 'He do like'?"

The answer is no. For some strange reason, in English both "do" and "does" can function as singular, but you can use only "do" with first-person singular. That's the rule, even though it doesn't make sense and seems (and is) inconsistent!

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