Ensuring you have the correct verb form when using pronouns or other objects in English is important. In this article, we’ll look at the easy differences between using “does not” and “do not.” It’s more simple than you might think.
What Is The Difference Between “Does Not” And “Do Not”?
“Does not” should be used when writing in the third-person singular forms (he, she, it). “Do not” should be used when writing in all other forms (I, you, we, they). “Do not” is also used whenever you’re working with the plural form of any pronoun.
According to The Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of “do” and “does” is “used with another verb to form questions and negative sentences, including negative orders, and sometimes in affirmative sentences for reasons of style.”
We can only use “do” and “does” as an auxiliary verb (meaning it helps another verb in the sentence). When we include “not” at the end of it, it means we can’t do the thing that we’re referring to.
It’s almost always used as an auxiliary verb when the word “not” is put in after it. The only other case where you’ll see “do” or “does” written is as a regular verb, but that is not the case for this article.
Examples Of How To Use “Does Not” In A Sentence
To help you understand the major differences between the two, we’ll include some examples of each. We’ll start with using “does not.” It’s the more specific of the two since it can only be used in the third-person singular form.
“Does not” is an auxiliary verb used to help another verb make sense in a sentence. It is only used when we write either “he,” “she,” or “it” or any extension of those.
- The item does not require further attention to scan at the till.
- This does not need further inspection, and we can pass it right away.
- He does not think he can do it, though we’re certain he can.
- She doesn’t know what to do next! Shall we help her?
- There isn’t a thing that the king does not know about his land.
- It does not seem to understand many of the inputs I’m entering.
- What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.
- It doesn’t take much to beat me at sports.
As you can see, we can use two different forms when we’re writing “does not.” We can either use it as is (which is more formal), or we can use it as a contraction “doesn’t” (which is more informal).
Either way, both of these words are identical and mean the same thing. The only difference comes with tone. It’s more common to write “doesn’t” in informal text. It’s also much more common to say “doesn’t” rather than “does not.”
We can only use “does not” or “doesn’t” when we’re talking about things in the singular sense or using the pronouns “he,” “she,” or “it.”
Examples Of How To Use “Do Not” In A Sentence
Now let’s look at how to use “do not.” Again, it’s got a contracted form, which is “don’t,” and we’ll include that throughout these examples as well. This is generally more common because it applies to more situations when used.
“Do not” is used in every other form where “does not” isn’t. That means it’s used in the first- and second-person, as well as the plural form.
- These items do not need to be checked again.
- I do not understand why you’re asking me to do something like that.
- We don’t quite know what happened to us after the accident!
- There are many things we do not understand about the universe.
- They don’t think they’re going to get out of there alive.
- You do not have to make all of the decisions on your own.
- Plenty of citizens do not believe in the capacity of their government.
- People do not need to be told what to do or where to go.
As you can see, “do not” is much easier to use in more situations. We can use it when we’re referring to multiple things or people (like with “items” or “citizens”). We can also use it simply after the pronouns like “I,” “you,” “they,” and “we.”
Again, we can always contract “do not” in the same way as “does not.” “Don’t” and “do not” are identical in meaning and can be used interchangeably. “Don’t” is best for speaking and informal writing, while “does not” works best in formal writing only.
What Tense Is “Does Not” And “Do Not”?
So, what tense are we using when we write either “does not” or “do not?” Even though both are treated as auxiliary verbs, it’s still possible for them to work with a tense.
“Do” is an irregular verb, meaning it doesn’t follow the standard tense differences between words. However, “does” and “do” are both parts of the same tense. They are both the present simple tense.
That means when we use either “does not” or “do not,” we’re talking about something in the present. There are no other ways we can write about it. If you wanted the past tense, you’d use “did.”
The only difference you should remember between using which one is based entirely on the pronoun or the sentence’s subject. Once you know what that is, you’ll be able to work out whether “does not” or “do not” are correct.
When Should I Use “Did Not”?
We briefly mentioned it above, but “did” is the past tense of “do.”
“Did not” should be used when you’re writing in the past tense. It refers to something that “did not” happen but has already had the opportunity to happen and can no longer happen again.
While “do not” and “does not” both apply to the present tense, “did not” only works to talk about historical happenings. If what we’re talking about has already happened, we can no longer affect it and therefore must write about it in the past tense.
- He did not know what was coming until it was too late.
- I did not understand what you were asking, but now I can’t change what I did.
There is no singular or plural form difference with “did” like there is “do” and “does.” That means no matter whether we’re in the first, second, or third person or whether we’re singular or plural, we always use “did not” to talk about things that already happened.
Also, “did not” can be contracted to “didn’t.” Again, “didn’t” is best used in speaking and informal writing. “Did not” is better for formal writing.
- I didn’t see that coming!
Is It “Does Not Have” Or “Does Not Has”?
“Does not have” is the correct verb form of “have” to include after the phrase. “Have” is helped by “does not” and is always kept in this form. The verb form after an auxiliary verb should be infinitive (“to have”).
- Correct:He does not have any ideas.
- Incorrect:He does not has any ideas.
Is It “Who Doesn’t” Or “Who Don’t”?
“Who doesn’t” is the correct spelling to use here. When asking “who,” we’re referring to the third-person singular. We’re trying to determine who of the people we’re speaking to “does not” relate to what we’re saying.
- Correct:Who doesn’t have any food yet?
- Incorrect:Who don’t have any food yet?
Is It “They Do Not” Or “They Does Not”?
“They do not” is the correct spelling. The pronoun “they” uses “do” as the verb form always. There are no exceptions where “they does not” is correct.
- Correct:They do not need your help.
- Incorrect:They does not need your help.
When Should I Use “Am Not” Vs. “Do Not”?
“Am not” should be used when talking in the first person (I) to say that you’re not able to do something. “Do not” should be used in most other tenses to say that something isn’t possible or accessible.
- I am not allowed to help you.
- I am not thinking straight.
- You do not know me.
- I do not care.
All of these examples are correct ways to use both sayings. Make sure they’re the only forms you’re using if you want to make sure you’re always writing proper and correct English.
“Am not” is one of those exceptions where “am” only applies when we have “I” in the sentence. Without “I,” we would say “are” or “is,” depending on the pronoun.
- We are not amused.
- He is not okay.
Quiz: Have You Mastered The “Does Not” Vs. “Do Not” Grammar?
Finally, let’s run you through a quiz to see what you’ve learned about the two forms. We’ll include the answers at the end to check how well you did.
- I (A. does not / B. do not) have much money.
- She (A. does not / B. do not) know about this!
- The items in this basket (A. does not / B. do not) work for the discount.
- This suncream (A. does not / B. do not) do what I expected it to!
- We (A. does not / B. do not) debate with the enemy!
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.