Asking questions with helping verb DO

Monday, February 18, 2013

The verb to do is used in a number of different ways in English and sometimes asking questions using do creates confusion. For this, do is used as a helping verb (auxiliary verb).
For example:
Do you enjoy concerts? (present tense)
Did Andy go horseback riding on Saturday? (past tense)

Notice that only the helping verb do conjugates when using the past tense. This is often misunderstood by English learners who think that both verbs must take the past form.

Did you see the meteor in the sky last night? (correct)
Did you saw the meteor in the sky last night? (incorrect)

There are also questions that begin with who/whom, what, where, when, why, how, and the rule is the same:

Whom did you see in Las Vegas?
What reason did Angelo's brother give for being late?
Where did Elisa buy those amazing shoes?
When did Martha become interested in bonsai trees?
Why didn't you call before coming over? I am busy.
How did Gigi learn to play the trumpet so quickly?

Do you understand this rule? (present)
Did you understand this lesson? (past)

Practice asking questions in the past tense to become familiar with this structure. Remember, only the helping verb conjugates.

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