Grammar Toolbox: Do-support / Did-support
Do you know how to ask questions in English? Compare:
- Liker du å synge? - Do you like to sing?
- Spiller han tennis? - Does he play tennis?
- Bor de sammen? - Do they live together?
With main verbs like these (there are hundreds of them), English needs do-support. Note that the main verbs do not change: You cannot say *Does he plays tennis?
Much the same thing happens in negations (not-sentences):
- Jeg liker ikke å synge. - I do not like singing.
- Han spiller ikke tennis. - He does not play tennis.
- De bor ikke sammen. - They do not live together.
Questions and negations about the past have did-support:
- Did he run yesterday?
- I did not ask.
This is almost the same as with do-support. In fact it is easier, because we use did only. But remember, the main verb must be in the infinitive. You cannot say *Did he ran or *I did not asked.
So far we have dealt with main verbs, which need do-support. If the sentence already has an auxiliary verb (hjelpeverb), there is no need for do-support:
- Have you heard the news? I have not heard the news.
- Is he doing his homework now? He is not doing his homework now.
- Can you tell the difference? I cannot tell the difference.
What, who, which and whose can function as subject (doer of the verb). Then we cannot use do-support:
- Who killed the bird?
- What happened next?
- Which team won the cup?
- Whose parents complained the most?
But when they are not the subject, we must use do/did:
- What did you tell her?