easy grammar · ESL grammar · Grammar · present simple · Question · tenses · Verb

When to Use Do and Does, Questions and Negatives

By Jacqueline Schaalje
do and does

Students ask me sometimes whether they can ask any question with do and does. I say, no, sometimes you need to ask with “can,” or with a form of to be (am, is, are).

“So when do I need do or does?” the student will ask.

Answer: First of all you use do and does only in the present tense. So not for the past.

(This is called present simple tense. You can read more about present simple here.)

When do you need to use Do and Does?

You use do and does when you want to ask a question with a verb in it.

A verb = give, take, ask, write, dance, drink, sleep, etc.

So whenever you want to ask a question using a verb, you need to ask with do or does.

Here are some examples with do:

Do you live in Canterbury?

Do I look okay?

Do they usually sleep well?

Do we write emails every day?

Rule 1: With I, you, we, they, use do.


When to Use Does?

Rule 2: With he, she and it, use does:

Does your sister work a lot?

Does your husband take the children to school?

Does the dog bring the ball back when you throw it?

Does the bird like biscuits?

do does 2

Now, just to be extra clear, I’ll show you some questions where you can’t use do or does:

Am I a teacher?

Are you a doctor?

Can you help me?

May I ask you a question now?

Is he tall?

Is she Japanese?

Are they at home?

Are we almost there?


Negative sentences: do not (don’t) and does not (doesn’t)

You also use do and does for negative sentences (so with not).

This is easier than asking questions.

Have a look at these sentences. If you only use not, it’s not enough. These sentences have to have do or does.

Again, do not is used for I, you, we, they.

And does not is used for he, she and it.


I don’t see what you mean.

He doesn’t play the guitar.

You don’t like drinking beer.

We don’t study at the weekend.

They don’t have a cat.

Now try the super easy quiz.


Click here to do this quiz online.

Choose between do and does. Easy!

1 __________ you know this woman?

2 __________ he always go out for lunch?

3 __________ we need any more bread?

4 ____________ the bus leave at 5.30?

5 ____________ they speak English well?

6 __________ you play the piano?

7 _________ your brother collect watches?

8 __________ they have any more brothers or sisters?

9 _________ your manager have blond hair?

10 _________ the sun go down at 6 o’clock?

Here are some more quizzes with do or does:

Make questions with do or does. (Gold quiz).

Make negative sentences with do or does. (Free)

You can buy more quizzes on the order page.

Have any questions about this? Send me an email or use the comments underneath.

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