The verb “do” presents tons of problems for the majority of new English speakers, but, in fact, it is easy to learn, if done properly.
In Spanish we have 1 verb (hacer) to say what in English is divided between 2 words: Make and Do. The difference between the two are the following:
Make is something that needs constructing of involves a process:
Make a cake, make your bed, make a cup of coffee, etc.
Do is used for activities or daily chores:
Do your hair, do the dishes, do exercise, etc.
There are also a large amount of phrases that are set using do and make. You can see those here.
But that is not the confusing part. That we understand. The part that confuses us is when the verb do is used as an auxiliary verb.
An auxiliary verb is a verb used to give support to another verb. We could call it a helper verb. The helper verb used to ask questions and make negative responses is do.
Do you want to go dancing tonight?
or we can use it in the past form:
Did you go dancing last night?
Do you like coffee?
No, I do not like coffee (No I don’t like coffee)
Take a look at the structure below.
So, you can never ever ever ever never say:
Know you him?
Firstly because there is no auxiliary word that makes it a questions.
Secondly because the pronoun is out of order
The correct way to ask the question is:
Do you know him?
When you ask a questions using do in the past, you will use did, in which case, the verb will be in present simple tense.
Did you do the dishes?
If the answer is a negative response you will use the same structure
No, I did not do the dishes.
If the answer is a positive response, the verb will conjugate into the simple past tense.
Yes, I did the dishes (no auxiliary verb)
A fun way to practice this is by asking your friends what they did last night and taking turns answering the questions.
- Did you drink wine last night?
- Did you eat in a restaurant last night?
- Did you sleep in your bed last night?
- Did you call your mother last night?
- Did you make a cake last night?