"Thou coward knight, why wilt thou not do battle with me?" -The Age of Chivalry, Chapter 16

In this sentence, why is do not dost? Very commonly do I see the word dost be used in older text in place of do when using the 2nd person, but rarely do I see it as do. I can't find a grammatical explanation for this - or is it a choice of inconsistency by the author?- or perhaps a choice of fluidity over grammatical correctness?

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  • 3
    Because it's an infinitive. Just like it's not thou wilt art in Early Modern English or you will are in Modern English, but thou wilt be and you will be, respectively. Wilt is the word you're looking to focus on here. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 13 '16 at 22:13
  • Which form of infinitive is it? – Bryan Jul 13 '16 at 22:18
  • The infinitive does not inflect in modern English, so it only has one form. – sumelic Jul 13 '16 at 22:19
  • @Bryan How do you mean which form? English has only one infinitive. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 13 '16 at 22:19
  • dost is the third person singular of the verb to DO. Here, the do is infinitive, it is not the third person singular. Do, Dost, Doth – Lambie Jul 13 '16 at 22:38

For the same reason that we do not say "He will not does it". 'Will' (including the archaic second person form 'wilt') is followed by the base form of the verb ('do') not an inflectted present tense form ('does', 'doth', 'dost')

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