I have seen people using following two formats to form a question:

1) Why do people lie?
2) Why people lie?

The difference is, in the first one, there is an explicit use of do whereas the second question omits do.

Would you kindly explain the differences between these two question forms.

  • 1
    2) isn't a question. Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:07
  • could you please elaborate on your answer.
    – Flair
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:10
  • 1
    This question would be more appropriate on English Language Learners. Here, it's General Reference. Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:17
  • I'll try. It will take some time though. Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:19
  • 2
    The 2nd example, though it starts with an interrogative (why) is not a question, grammatically. It is a statement that can be restated as, "The reason people lie." In the statement "Why people lie", "why" is being used as a substitute for "The reason" - a common usage to my US Midwestern ears an eyes. Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 18:40

2 Answers 2


The second one is not proper English, but is commonly seen in African American Vernacular English, which is an English dialect that has roots in the South American English dialect.


The number 2 is not grammatically correct if it's a question. The question formation is:

  • QUESTION WORD + AUXILIARY + PRONOUN + VERB + REST (Example: Why did you eat the last piece of cake?)

  • WHO + VERB + REST (Example: Who is the monarch of Swaziland?) OR WHO + AUXILIARY + PRONOUN + VERB + REST (Example: Who did you meet yesterday night?)

  • AUXILIARY + PRONOUN + VERB + REST (Example: Does he think that you're right?)

English Language Learners is a more appropriate place to ask this type of question.

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