When should we use don't in a sentence and when should we use doesn't?

For example:

A few rich people doesn't make a country rich.

A few rich people don't make a country rich.

Which is the appropriate usage?

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    Don't = do not - is for plural, Doesn't = does not - is for singular. Generally. – SovereignSun Apr 16 '17 at 8:55

Normally, the verb agrees in number with the number of the grammatical subject, here, a few rich people, which is plural.

However, it is not uncommon that the verb will agree in number with the semantic subject, with an idea the speaker has in mind:

a few rich people paraphrase in context: the fact that a country has a few rich people

and in that case the number of the verb would be singular to agree with the thing the speaker has in mind.

In formal writing, we expect the number of the verb to agree with the number of the grammatical subject.

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  • So do you mean to say it could be either don't or doesn't depending upon context? – kauray Apr 17 '17 at 11:41
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    Not sure what you mean by could be. Allowed to be? Or "one might encounter"? In formal contexts, grammatical agreement is the norm. In conversational contexts, one might encounter grammatical disagreement which can often be explained as semantic agreement. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 17 '17 at 11:49

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