My wife always does what I say.

My wife always do as I say.

What is the correct sentence? Should I use does or do, when do is not an auxiliary verb?


Yes, it changes to "does", because all lexical verbs acquire "s" at the end in the third-person singular present-tense form:

My wife always does as I say.

My wives always do as I say. (If you live in Saudi Arabia)

This rule is only broken in very rare situations, for instance, in poetry, in order to retain the meter:

Turned are those lights from me, who fondly yet
Past joys, vain loves, and buried hopes regret.
(Charles Lamb)

The quoted poem is the only example that I have been able to spot so far. And even here I've been proven wrong: see the comment by StoneyB below.

Hence, this rule is not broken even in poetry.

  • 3
    Regret is used there because who refers to first-person me--I regret the joys, loves and hopes. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 15 '16 at 21:21
  • 3
    @StoneyB - Thank you for your insight. It is valuable for me, who sometimes yet post(s?) a wrong thing or two in my (his?) answer. I am glad that Charles Lamb was grammatically right here. – CowperKettle Jun 15 '16 at 21:26

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