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. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 23 '14 at 15:07
  • could you please elaborate on your answer. – Flair Jun 23 '14 at 15:10
  • 1
    This question would be more appropriate on English Language Learners. Here, it's General Reference. – FumbleFingers Jun 23 '14 at 15:17
  • I'll try. It will take some time though. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 23 '14 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. – Kristina Lopez Jun 23 '14 at 18:40

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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