This week’s blog is about the “emphatic do”. The emphatic do is when we use the auxiliary verb ‘do’ in order to be emphatic.

In general we use the auxiliary verb ‘do’ in questions and in negative sentences but not generally in positive sentences. For example we say “do you play football?” and “no, I don’t play football”, but we say “yes, I play football”. It isn’t necessary to say “yes, I do play football”.

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However, we can use the auxiliary ‘do’ in a positive sentence with the present simple tense when we want to be emphatic. This is called the “emphatic do”. We use the emphatic do to deny something that someone has said because we know it isn’t true or believe it isn’t true. For example, if someone tells me that I don’t speak English, I can reply “yes, I do speak English”, or if somebody says “you don’t have money in your pocket” and I know that this is not true, I can reply “yes, I do have money in my pocket”. In these two examples I am denying what the other person has said because I know that what they said isn’t true.
We can also use the “emphatic do” in an exclamation. An exclamation is when we shout something or say something with emphasis, usually out of happiness, sadness, surprise, shock or annoyance. For example “I do love this city” or “they do dress very beautifully”. You could use it in a negative way and say “I don’t enjoy this kind of book” or “you don’t work hard”.

With the first use of the emphatic do we can also use it in the past tense. For example if someone says “they didn’t close the door when they left the house” and we know that they did close the door, we can say “yes, they did close the door when they left the house”. Another example is to say “I did do my homework last night” and the other person to reply “no, you didn’t do your homework last night”.

Apart from the auxiliary verb ‘do’, we can also use the emphatic form with other auxiliary verbs. For example, if somebody tells you that you can’t sing and you believe that you can sing, you can reply “yes, I can sing” or if someone says that you haven’t got a nice house and you think that you have got a nice house, you can say “yes, I have got a nice house”.

You can use any auxiliary verb such as will, would, can, could etc… in order to deny what someone has said. If they use it in a negative sense, then you reply in a positive sense and vice versa.

Use what you’ve learned here to practice with the exercise below!


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