2

Let's look at Present Simple. As far as I understand there is [almost] no difference between

I play this game.
I do play this game.

The first question: can I form negative sentences this way?

(1) I play not this game.
      I do not play this game.

I know, (1) seems weird, but I have found a lot of examples of using this:

Forget not the tyranny of this wall, ... [1]

Death or healing, I care not which you seek. [2]

Speak not those words. [3]

The use of (1) seems quite logical to me as for beginner English learner. So, if we look at Present Perfect:

I have played this game.
I have not played this game.

We can see the same (or not?) way of forming negative sentences. Present Continuous:

I am writing now.
I am not writing now.

It's still logical for me. And now Past Simple:

I played this game.
I did play this game.

The second question: can I form negative sentences this way?

(2) I played not this game.
      I did not play this game.

(2) is VERY weird, but seems logical. Or not :)

Thanks!

3
  • 2
    The placing of 'not' after a verb is usually poetic or literary. We don't talk like that in everyday speech, except to say 'I thought not !' Or 'I hope not'. 'Think not to say within yourselves . . . is excellent English, considered archaic, and is highly quotable.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 15:37
  • Possible duplicate of Verb + not = do not verb ? What is the gramatical explanation? Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 19:43
  • This style is used to teach English to non-natives. E.g., When learners have difficulty in understanding do, does & did in sentences, they are taught this way. e.g., (again): He studies (does study). They study (do study). From this, they are taught how easily they can make other forms, like: He studies -> He does study -> Does he study? -> Doesn't he study? -> How does he study? -> How does he not study (How doesn't he study?). While interpreting the meanings between 'He studies' & 'He does study', there will be difference; still it is easy for the learners.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 8:58

1 Answer 1

1

The verb "do" has many functions. It can be a simple verb with the meaning "to make happen", "to perform" (a task):

I'm going to do the washing up.

I'm going to do the shopping.

As an auxiliary verb in a positive sentence it emphasises it:

unemphasised: I play this game.

emphasised: I do play this game.

It's usually only used in this way following a previous statement casting doubt on it:

You don't play this game, do you?

I do play this game.

As an auxiliary verb in a negative sentence with "not" it provides "do" support:

unidiomatic: *I play not this game.

idiomatic: I do not play this game.

idiomatic: I don't play this game.

The asterisk (*) indicates that the grammar in the sentence is not idiomatic in modern English. It used to be idiomatic which is why you'll see it in old texts. Now it is still understood but it sounds very old fashioned. Many people associate it with Biblical language.

"do" support is necessary in negative sentences with "not" which would only have a single verb for the subject otherwise. So the positive sentence:

I played this game.

becomes the negative sentence:

I did not play this game.

I didn't play this game.

Another use is for asking some types of question:

unidiomatic: *Play you this game?

idiomatic: Do you play this game?

unidiomatic: *Play you not this game?

idiomatic: Do you not play this game?

idiomatic: Don't you play this game?

The use of "do" is optional for "have" (as a regular verb meaning "possess") in some varieties of English:

Regular "have": I haven't a clue.

Auxiliary "do", Regular "have": I don't have a clue.

Auxiliary "have", Regular "get": I haven't got a clue.

As an auxiliary verb, "have" doesn't use "do":

I have played this game.

I haven't played this game.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.