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Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
Who Doesn't or Who Don't?
Thursday February 25th 2021
Question
Which is correct: "Who doesn't like cookies?" or "Who don't like cookies?" — Berni, Slovenia
Answer

The correct sentence is "Who doesn't like cookies?"

In questions with "who" as the subject of the sentence, you should use the third person singular verb, even if the answer to "who" may not be a third person singular subject. Below are some examples of this.

 

In the following examples, the verb is the same for both the question and the answer because the subject of the answer happens to be third person singular:

  • Who is teaching math this year? --> Mr. Brown is teaching math this year. [Who and Mr. Brown are both third person singular.]
  • Who is running for city council? --> She is running for city council. [Who and she are both third person singular.]
  • Who has finished the assignment? --> Jim has finished the assignment. [Who and Jim are both third person singular.]
  • Who does the dishes every day? --> Dad does the dishes every day. [Who and Dad are both third person singular.]

 

In the following examples, the subject of the answer is not third person singular, but you still use a third person singular verb in the question. All of these examples are grammatical:

  • Who is coming to the party? --> Laura, Shannon, and Kasey are coming to the party. [Laura, Shannon, and Kasey is a third person plural subject.]
  • Who does the kids' laundry? --> The kids do their own [=the kids'] laundry. [Who is singular but the kids is plural.]
  • Who wants a hot dog? --> We (all) want hot dogs. [Who is third person singular but we is first person plural.]
  • Who has a dog? --> They have a dog. [They can be singular or plural but always takes a plural verb.]
  • Who doesn't like cookies? --> I don't like cookies. [Who is third person singular but I is first person singular.]

 

If you want to learn more about when to use don't and when to use doesn’t please see these articles from our archive:

https://learnersdictionary.com/qa/Don-t-or-Doesn-t-Which-is-correct-

https://learnersdictionary.com/qa/Don-t-or-Doesn-t-Usage

https://learnersdictionary.com/qa/When-Should-I-Use-Don-t-and-When-Should-I-Use-Doesn-t-

 

I hope this helps.

 

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