Are the following sentences correct?

  1. My mother or father doesn't like coffee. (i.e. either one of them doesn't like)
  2. My mother and father don't like coffee. (both don't like)

What is the reason for using 'Does' only with "he, she, it" and why not with 'I' and 'you' since they sound singular too?

  • Welcome to ELL! What do you want to know- rules regarding 'do' and 'does' or rules regarding persons?
    – Rucheer M
    Oct 6 '15 at 9:33
  • I just read but don't understand why use 'does' with "he she, it"?
    – user125221
    Oct 6 '15 at 9:35
  • 'Does' comes with the third person singular form like 'he', 'she', and 'it'. 'Do' comes with the plural forms like 'you' and 'they'. First person singular (I) also takes 'do' along with second person singular 'you'.
    – Rucheer M
    Oct 6 '15 at 9:37
  • Thank you. I did a search but I couldn't find 'do' and 'does' rules regarding persons or with 'and', 'or'.
    – user125221
    Oct 6 '15 at 9:42
  • 'and' makes plural while 'or' makes singular! Remember this rule and apply it on 'do' (plural with I and singular 'you') and 'does' (third person singular). Read my answer.
    – Rucheer M
    Oct 6 '15 at 9:44

'Do' is used with plural forms, singular 'you' and first person singular-I.

When we use 'and' in your sentence, it shows both your father and mother, so we need to use 'do' as per the rule.

My mother and father don't like coffee. (i.e. both-plural)

While 'or' shows either your father or your mother, and therefore, the first sentence requires 'does'. ('Does' is used only with the singular.)

My mother or father doesn't like coffee. (i.e. either one of them-singular)


The present tense of Do

 I do                 We do
 You do               You do
 He/She/It does       They do

Use of and and or

or maintains the singular (he/she/it), as only one actor is doing the action, so

Either the boss or the newspaper boy does it

and creates a plural (they), as both actors are doing the action, so

Both the boss and the newspaper boy do it

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