Mark Knopfler in one of his famous songs says something like

you never did have the intelligence to use (...).

I am a bit puzzled by the use of "did" here.

Is "did" emphasising the concept as in affirmative sentences? Or is that some kind of different construction?

  • 4
    Hello, Gibbs. Yes, 'did' here would be stressed in speech (subtly perhaps if the speaker were being sarcastic rather than exasperated) to emphasise the put-down. Nov 20 at 19:52
  • Thanks for the comment @EdwinAshworth. I agree, it is however difficult for me to understand the sarcasm in this context, especially because it's a song...
    – Gibbs
    Nov 20 at 20:07
  • I'm just addressing the general usages, Gibbs. Actual nuances in lyrics are expressly off-topic on ELU as too subjective to call. Nov 20 at 20:12
  • If it is sarcastic it will depend on the context.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 20 at 20:22
  • 3
    It's just an emphatic do. It's an emphatic version of You never had the intelligence... The same would be true in the positive: You always did have the intelligence... Nov 20 at 21:01


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