I believe the following sentence is grammatically correct:

I do like burgers.

Meaning that the speaker wants to emphasize that he likes burgers.

What about something like:

I do am happy.

She does is married.

when the speaker wants to emphasize their current situation? Is this grammatically correct? If not, are there any other alternatives to emphasize while using the verb to be?

2 Answers 2



The kind of emphasis you are talking about is called verum focus because it emphasizes the truth of the sentence being uttered.

In sentences with an auxiliary verb (be, have, or a modal verb like might, can, must, etc.) it is that auxiliary verb that gets focused.

The verb do is only used when there is no auxiliary verb in the sentence. This is the same do that shows up in questions and with negation.

So just like you can't say:

  • *Does John be happy?
  • *John doesn't be happy.

You also can't say:

  • *John DOES be happy.

For sentences with auxiliary verbs, just focus the first auxiliary.

  • John WILL leave today.
  • John MIGHT have been watching TV.
  • John IS happy.
  • Thank you @Alan Munn. Can you think of an alternative for this?
    – Jorge
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 19:21
  • Just emphasize the auxiliary verb. I'll add that to my answer more explicitly.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 19:21
  • Note that all these are perfectly grammatical (if something old-fashioned) in Ireland, where do be is used to express the consuetudinal present of be. Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 20:30
  • 2
    @Jorge You could add "so" as in: "... will so leave...", " John is so happy..." or add an intensifier such as: really, extremely etc.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 7:58

"I am indeed happy", "She is indeed married". you can move "indeed" around: "Indeed I am happy", "I am happy indeed". The last has added emphasis on "happy" to my ear; it's like "I am happy, very happy" or "I am _definitely_happy!"

You can say "I, indeed, am happy", but it's a little more unusual. It put the emphasis on "i".

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