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Sentences like "I do believe" or "I do love you" are common. But I was wondering what do they mean? I've never seen structures like this in grammar.

In fact I don't understand what is the diference between these sentences and ,say ,this simple one: "I believe" or "I love you"

Thanks in advance.

marked as duplicate by RyeɃreḁd, choster, aedia λ, MetaEd, Kristina Lopez Feb 12 '14 at 16:38

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  • 2
    Welcome to the site. Do is simply an intensifier; see “did shoot” vs “shot”. You may be interested in our sister site for English Language Learners. – choster Feb 11 '14 at 15:04
  • I love you = simple declaration. I really love you = passionate declaration. I really do love you = I want you to believe me, it's important. I do love you = either emphasizing or confirming this fact. – Mari-Lou A Feb 11 '14 at 21:57

The primary verb do is used in this way to emphasise the main verb.


This is one of the great many uses of do-support.

There are some things that in English we can't express without do-support, such as questions (we don't invert most verbs in standard contemporary English, so we add an inverted do instead; "Do you believe?") and negation ("I do not believe").

In this case, the do is redundant, but it's used for affirmation (if someone has questioned whether or not you believe) or for emphasis.

  • Thank you Jon!but One more confusion.According to you,if someone asks "Does he love me?", can one answer"Yes,he does love you"?I've never heared like this. – tai shan Feb 11 '14 at 15:41
  • You certainly can, and it would be quite common as an answer. Most common would be just the plain "Yes", or "Yes, he does", but "Yes, he loves you" would also be reasonable and "Yes, he does love you" add emphasis (showing conviction of belief). It would be even more likely if the question was "Does he not love me?" since that question puts forward the negative position as a possibility, then "Yes, he does love you" uses emphasis from do to counter it. – Jon Hanna Feb 11 '14 at 15:48

The word do emphasises the main verb in this context, but not necessarily in a positive way. It can bear either a positive or a negative/opposing emphasis, depending on context, or on what follows:

I do love you, I do really love you.
I do love you! (Darn you, how could you believe something different!)
I do love you, but I can't stay with you any longer.

I do believe that you didn't mean to, but you still broke the law.
I do want to believe you [actually I'm not!], but why did you lie to me earlier.

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