This is a 5 levels lesson. That means you’ll see five sections. Each section will give you a challenge. Each section is more difficult than the previous ones. The early sections will focus mostly on grammar; higher levels will test your grammar and vocabulary skills!
Level one is beginner, so if you’re not a beginner, you should skip to level two.
Ready? Let’s go!
1. Level One
Look at five sentences.
Where ________ you live?
What time ________ the film start tonight?
They ________ live in Rome; they live in Milan.
What ________ you have for breakfast this morning?
I ________ go out yesterday; I stayed at home all day.
Complete each sentence with one word. Each word is a form of the verb ‘do’. Contractions, like ‘don’t’, count as one word.
Pause the video and do it now.
Ready? Here are the answers.
Where do you live?
What time does the film start tonight?
They don’t live in Rome; they live in Milan.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
I didn’t go out yesterday; I stayed at home all day.
In level one, you saw that you use ‘do’ to make questions in the present and past simple.
There are different kinds of question you can make, but there’s another point here.
‘Do’ can be two things. It can be a main verb, which has real meaning. It can also be an auxiliary verb, which you use to make negatives and questions.
It can also do both things in the same sentence. All these questions use ‘do’ twice, once as a main verb, and once as an auxiliary verb. This is extremely common in English!
Anyway, let’s look at some different ways you can use ‘do’ to make questions.
You can make yes/no questions, which start with the word ‘do’, ‘does’, and so on.
For example, see question three.
You can make questions with a question word, like ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘who’, and so on. See question one for an example.
You can also make questions with a question tag, like numbers two and five.
This can have several different meanings. You can use a tag question to check something, when you think you know the answer already. You can also use it to show surprise or interest.
Here’s a question: in number two, the question tag is negative – ‘don’t you?’ – but in number five, the tag is positive – ‘do you?’ Do you know why?
If you want to check information, meaning that you want to ask a question but you think you know the answer already, then the question tag should be the opposite of the main verb.
That means, if the main verb is positive, the tag should be negative; if the main verb is negative, the tag should be positive.
So, ‘you do yoga, don’t you?’ means that I think you do yoga, and I’m asking to confirm my idea.
Use a positive sentence plus a positive question tag to show interest. ‘You do taekwondo, do you?’ looks like a question, but it isn’t really a question. It shows politeness and interest in the person you’re talking to. This form is common when making small talk.
You can also make negative questions, starting with ‘don’t’, ‘doesn’t’, or ‘didn’t’. You use these to express surprise or frustration. Question four is an example of this.
Like number five, this isn’t a real question. You use it to express an emotion. When you use negative questions, intonation is important.
Let’s move on to level three.
3. Level Three
This time, we’ll do something a little different.
Each of these five sentences contains a mistake. Your job is to find the mistake and correct it.
Can you tell me how do I sign up for the free trial?
I don’t like avocados but she likes.
They asked me don’t make so much noise.
It’s been difficult, but I finally feel like I’m doing some progress.
Could you do a favour? I need to move this desk, and it’s a two-person job.
Pause the video and do it now. Think carefully about your answers. Do you need to add a word, remove a word, or change a word?
Here are the answers.
Can you tell me how do I sign up for the free trial?
I don’t like avocados but she likesdoes.
They asked me don’tnot to make so much noise.
It’s been difficult, but I finally feel like I’m doingmaking some progress.
Could you do me a favour? I need to move this desk, and it’s a two-person job.
Sentence one is an indirect question. An indirect question starts with a polite phrase like ‘Can you tell me…’ or ‘Do you know…’ You use indirect questions when you want to sound more polite.
Indirect questions don’t use ‘do’, ‘does’ and so on as an auxiliary verb. This is a common mistake.
In question two, you need to use ‘does’ as an auxiliary verb to refer to another verb – ‘like’ – which you used earlier.
In most cases, the auxiliary verb you need depends on the verb tense, not on the original verb. The exception is verbs like ‘be’, ‘can’ and so on, which can be their own auxiliary verbs.
Here, the verb ‘like’ is present simple, so it uses the auxiliary verb do/does.
In number three, you have a verb – ask – which needs to be followed by an infinitive with ‘to’.
Here, the infinitive is negative. You make negative infinitives by adding ‘not’. You don’t use ‘don’t’, ‘doesn’t’, or any other form of ‘do’.
In number four, you need to know something about how to use ‘do’ and ‘make’. This is more of a vocabulary point. In many cases, you need to remember whether a word – like ‘progress’ – goes with ‘do’ or ‘make’.
Number five is also a vocabulary point. There are many fixed phrases with ‘do’, like ‘do someone a favour’. After ‘do’, you need a person – ‘do me a favour’, ‘do you a favour’ – and so on.
So, to review, the topics covered in level three are: indirect questions, ‘do’ as an auxiliary verb, negative infinitives, ‘do’ versus ‘make’, and fixed phrases with ‘do’. Where were you stronger or weaker? Think about what you know, and what you need to focus on to improve.
Anyway, time for level four of using do in English!
4. Level Four
Here are your sentences for level four.
You need to complete each sentence with two words. One word is a form of ‘do’.
Remember: you must use exactly two words!
________ exercise regularly is bad for you.
Not ________ anything similar before, I was unsure about how to start.
I ________ it; I just forgot to send it to you.
You don’t have to do it perfectly, just ________ best.
I’ve been working too much recently. I could ________ a long holiday!
Let’s see the answers.
Not doing exercise regularly is bad for you.
Not having done anything similar before, I was unsure about how to start.
I did do it; I just forgot to send it to you.
You don’t have to do it perfectly, just do your best.
I’ve been working too much recently. I could do with a long holiday!
So, what do you need to know here?
In level three, you saw that there are negative infinitive forms. There are also negative -ing forms. Like negative infinitives, you just add ‘not’ to make the negative. You can see this in sentence one.
Number two is a participle clause. The meaning is similar to: ‘Because I hadn’t done anything similar before…’
What about three? Can you explain what’s going on there?
Remember that ‘do’ can be both an auxiliary verb and a main verb, and it can also do both things in one sentence.
Auxiliary verbs can be used to add emphasis; for example, if you want to contradict what someone else says.
Here, ‘did’ is an auxiliary verb which adds emphasis, and ‘do’ is a main verb.
So, if someone asked you ‘Why didn’t you do it?’, you might answer like this ‘I *did* do it. I just forgot to send it to you!’ You use the auxiliary verb – ‘did’ – to add emphasis and contradict the other person.
Four and five are vocabulary points. ‘Do your best’ is a fixed phrase meaning ‘try as hard as you can.’ For example, you could say ‘We did our best, but we didn’t have four of our best players, so it’s not surprising we lost three-nil.’
‘Do with’ is a conversational way to say ‘want’. ‘I could do with a long holiday’ means that I really want a long holiday right now!
Remember: you can review any section of this video as many times as you need.
Here’s a tip: a big difficulty with ‘do’ is that it has so many different uses. It can be a main verb, an auxiliary verb, or it can be used in fixed phrases and phrasal verbs.
So, when you see ‘do’ in a sentence, ask yourself which thing it is. Is it a main verb, an auxiliary verb, or part of a longer phrase? Getting this clear will help you to understand how to use ‘do’ more accurately.
Now, are you ready for level five? Let’s try!
5. Level Five
Ready for the hardest challenge?
Here are five of the hardest sentences we could make. Your job is to complete them with one or two words. One of the words must be a form of ‘do’. Contractions, like ‘don’t’, count as one word.
It’s not exactly what I wanted, but it’ll ________.
He wants to work for the EU, but his chances of ________ are slim unless he improves his grades significantly.
I haven’t quite finished, but I’m sure I’ll get ________ in the next 1-2 days.
Judging by the size of their house, they must be ________ for themselves.
I’ve been following her diet plan, but to be honest it ________ me much good.
Could you do it? Let’s see the answers.
It’s not exactly what I wanted, but it’ll do.
He wants to work for the EU, but his chances of doing so are slim unless he improves his grades significantly.
I haven’t quite finished, but I’m sure I’ll get it done in the next 1-2 days.
Judging by the size of their house, they must be doing well for themselves.
I’ve been following her diet plan, but to be honest it hasn’t done me much good.
Most of the sentences here test vocabulary points.
For example, take sentence one. In conversational English, ‘do’ can have the meaning of ‘be enough, but not very good’.
If you say ‘it’ll do’, you mean that it’s not great, but it’s enough for you.
Sentence two tests a grammar point. Hopefully, you know already that you can use ‘do’ as an auxiliary verb to refer back to a verb or verb phrase you used earlier.
If you didn’t use ‘do’ here, you would have to repeat the full phrase ‘his chances of working for the EU’, which would be repetitive.
However, here you also need an -ing verb. When you want to use ‘do’ as an auxiliary verb to replace an earlier verb, and you want to use an -ing form, or to plus infinitive, you should use ‘do so’.
‘Do so’ is formal. In spoken or informal English, you’d probably say ‘do it’ or ‘do that’.
Three, four and five all test your vocabulary.
In three, ‘get it done’ is a conversational way to say ‘finish something’.
In number four, ‘doing well for themselves’ means that they’re making a lot of money, so they have a comfortable lifestyle.
In sentence five, ‘it hasn’t done me much good’ is a semi-fixed phrase. If you want to make the phrase positive, say ‘it’s done me a lot of good’.
Of course, you can also use this to talk about other people. For example ‘She looks so much happier these days. Switching to part time work seems to have done her a lot of good.’
So, how did you do? Which topics did you find the hardest?
That’s all for now. See you next time!
Continue learning about sentence structure and other important grammar points with our Grammar Lesson #1.