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I was interested in the expression, “Change does slow” in the following sentence of NPR’s article (January 3) titled “You can see it, but you’ll be a different person in 10 years:

“But that doesn’t mean they fully understand what’s still to come. “Their estimates of how much they’ll change in the future are underestimates,” says Danie Gilber (psychology researcher at Harvard Univ.). “They are going to change more than they realize. Change does slow; it just doesn’t slow as much as we think it will.”

Though I understand the meaning, I don’t think I’ve heard “Change does slow (fast)” very often. I thought Change occurs, happens, takes place, progresses, accelerates, goes on, but didn’t think of Change does (slow / fast).

Is the use of ‘does’ in “Change does slow (fast)” a normal way of wording to mean the slowness / rapidness of the process of change?

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It's just another way of saying "Change does slow down" or "Change does get slower" or "Change slows down". It's normal and idiomatic American English. But *"Change does fast" is not normal. That'd have to be "Change does speed up" or "Change speeds up" or "Change gets faster". – user21497 Jan 8 '13 at 1:27
So 'Does’ functions here as an auxiliary verb, not a transitive verb followed by adverb (slow). – Yoichi Oishi Jan 8 '13 at 1:47
Right. The main verb is "slow" or "slow down". And if "does" were a transitive verb, it would have to be followed by a direct object, which is always a noun phrase and never an adverb. – user21497 Jan 8 '13 at 1:50
Bill's first comment is right. A sentence earlier in the article indicates that speed of change is being talked about: “Personality changes do take place faster when people are younger, says Gilbert”. – jwpat7 Jan 8 '13 at 2:45
this type of construction is usually called verum focus. – jlovegren Jan 8 '13 at 3:52
up vote 3 down vote accepted

In the sentence Change does slow, the verb is "slow" (i.e. become slower). "Does" is an auxiliary verb used for emphasis.

Read it as Change definitely is slowing.

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Or as, "the rate of change is slowing," perhaps? – J.R. Jan 8 '13 at 1:47
"It was my understanding that there would be no math." – Malvolio Jan 8 '13 at 2:17

It is actually "slow" that is the intransitive verb here. "Do" in this case is just for emphasis. You could say "Change slows", but with do, the you are more assertively making the claim about the fact that change slows.

See Do-support, under "for emphasis"

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Exactly; as an alternative, one could say "Change indeed slows", where Change is the noun subject – Mark Beadles Jan 8 '13 at 2:53

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