Ask the Editor
Archive
Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
Don't or Doesn't? Which is correct?
Tuesday July 28th 2020
Question
When should I use don't and doesn't? For example, is it "he don't like ice cream" or "he doesn't like ice cream?" — Learners Everywhere
Answer

"He doesn't like ice cream" is correct.

When choosing between don't and doesn't it is important to remember that don't is a contraction of do and not, and doesn't is a contraction of does and not.

Then the choice between do and does depends on its subject. Use does with third person singular subjects (he, she, it, that, John, Kim, a cat). Use do with everything else (I, we, you, they, y'all, my parents, the shoes, people).

 

This chart shows when to use do and when to use does:

 

singular

plural

first person

I do

We do

second person

You do

You (all) do

third person

He does, She does, It does, Mary does

They do, your friends do

 

 

Don't and doesn't follow the same pattern:

 

singular

plural

first person

I don't

We don't

second person

You don't

You (all) don't

third person

He doesn't, She doesn't, It doesn't, Tim doesn't

They don't, the kittens don't

I hope this helps.

 

Have you tried our new kids vocabulary app, Puku

 puku

For more posts about words, idioms, grammar, and usage, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Don't forget to subscribe to our Word of the Day e-mails!

Click here to try one of our vocabulary quizzes before you go!

Archive