What is the grammatical role of "did" in the following excerpt of a passage?:

The smoke just went out the same hatchway that people used for going in and out themselves. So there would have been an open fire inside the house with only one hole in the roof to let the smoke out. You and I would have found it a bit too smoky in there. You can see on the walls, which they plastered and decorated with paintings. They ended up with a layer of black soot on them, and so did people’s lungs.


I guess you could say that this is just some form of ellipsis, but the idea is basically the same: you omit things that make you sound repetitive. To put it another way, you omit things that occur more than once so that you sound more concise. And that's basically the roll of so did in your passage. Without so did, the sentence would be essentially saying this:

They ended up with a layer of black soot on them and people's lungs too ended up with a layer of black soot in them.

I think you can clearly see that the longer version sounds inelegant and way too clunky. And that's one of the the reasons behind the existence of the "so did" construction in English—make things shorter by replacing previously mentioned words.

  • 2
    "I like Tammy Wynette and so do my father and cousin" is a lot shorter than "I like Tammy Wynette and my father likes Tammy Wynette and my cousin likes Tammy Wynette" – Michael Harvey Jan 13 '19 at 20:59

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