• Who pays for that?

  • Who does pay for that?

What is the difference between these two sentences? Are both grammatically correct?

  • 1
    Related: Using do-support in wh-questions. In short, does is not necessary, because who assumes the Subject position. Jan 12, 2016 at 18:30
  • 2
    The first sentence would be the normal, most common way. The second sentence is not the normal way of phrasing the question, but it is possible as an example of the emphatic do, in which we use "do (verb)" to emphasize something.
    – stangdon
    Jan 12, 2016 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


The first is correct and the best way to say it.

A simple rule when using the interrogative pronouns with a verb in a question. If the question is about the subject of the verb, you don't include do, does or did:

Who pays for that?

Who let the dogs out?

In case the question is about the object, you do include them:

Who does Santos love?

Who did the teacher punish?

Note that those examples are in simple present and simple past only. Things might change in other tenses.


Also note that You might use the second sentence if you want to use the emphatic do. The emphatic do is simple used when you want to emphasize a verb. For instance:

- I don't think you like this song.

- Come on! I really do like it a lot.

There is also the example stangdon mention below in the comments.

  • 2
    The second is not necessarily wrong; it could be an example of the emphatic do. "The city council doesn't pay for that? The regional government doesn't pay for that? Well, who does pay for that?"
    – stangdon
    Jan 12, 2016 at 18:46
  • @stangdon I believe you're right. I was looking for a way to include the emphatic do in the answer. Jan 12, 2016 at 18:51
  • 1
    In your questions we have no relative pronouns but interrogative pronouns or simply question words. There are no relative clauses.
    – rogermue
    Jan 12, 2016 at 20:38

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