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The correct verb tenses with the word "didn't"


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Can someone help me with how to conjugate verbs when you use “didn’t”? I usually always make mistakes with this word, “She didn’t knew he was coming.” Please explain me because I get confused. But also explain me why, don't just give the correct word I can fix that with software, I want to understand why using present tense verbs when I always use "didn't" to express something is in the past.

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Well, the rule is too easy my friend, if you use did or didn't you always follow it with the verb at present, that the rule, for example : I did eat/ I didn't eat, it's the same, and we use did + verb at present to avoid using the past tense of the verb, but it's the same :) good luck bro :)

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The verb do is a quite unique verb in the sense that it can be joined by the present tense of the verb.  In short, it is in the form of a helping verb.  Have you heard the sentence, "I not like him."  Grammatically, the sentence is wrong, unless you are a prehistoric caveman uttering broken English. "I do not like him" sounds more appropriate, at least grammatically.  Do adds some correctness, meaning, and emphasis to the sentence. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's very simple, the verb ''do'' is its past form when written as ''did'' or ''didn't''.  That is why placing the other verb in past tense is invalid. Like for example: ''Did you go there?'' You are asking something about the past, did is there, so that basically means the other verb in the sentence needs to be in present tense.

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In those constructions, the tense is marked on the auxilliary "do", rather than the verb itself. The verb will always stay in its "infinitive" form (uninflected), so you mark tense, person, number and aspect etc. on "do" instead.

So, examples:

  • I didn't eat it
  • He does understand, right?
  • Didn't they go there last night?

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When you use the past form of the verb "do" which is "did," automatically, you must use the present form of the verb after it.

For example:

- I did love him.

- I did check my email.

 

- I didn't buy her flowers.

- I didn't like the dress.

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Do, does and did are verbs which can also be used as auxiliary verbs: do is for present plural (e.g. we, they) and present singular first person (e.g. I), does is for present singular second person (e.g. he, she, it) and did covers all past tenses.

History hasn't provided much details but I guess that's just how the rules go. When used as auxiliary verbs, they all have to be paired with a present verb.

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Every language comes with its own peculiarity. I guess you just have to memorize and remember by heart the simple rule everyone is talking about on this thread. If you forget it normally your mind will rationalize and tell you that all verbs must agree in their tenses which is this case is not right.

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  • 7 months later...

"I knew better" means you were aware, and you engaged in(or did) something you shouldn't anyways. If you "know better" you don't do it to began with. "Did you go to the store?", is a question. Awnsering,"I did" means yes, and "I didn't" means no. I hope this helps. It seems complicated, but it helps me. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I guess it's only present simple that goes along with the verb "didn't". Other options are just not possible in terms of English grammar.

Did you go?

- No, I didn't go

Did you finish doing your homework?

- No, I didn't finish doing my homework

That's pretty much it. As you see, you can just copy the whole subject you're being asked about and put it right after the word didn't If it's a question. I've put the whole "action" part in italics, so you can see how easy it is to answer such questions.

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On 03.09.2015 at 11:24 AM, AExAVF said:

The verb do is a quite unique verb in the sense that it can be joined by the present tense of the verb.  In short, it is in the form of a helping verb.  Have you heard the sentence, "I not like him."  Grammatically, the sentence is wrong, unless you are a prehistoric caveman uttering broken English. "I do not like him" sounds more appropriate, at least grammatically.  Do adds some correctness, meaning, and emphasis to the sentence. 

 

The other way to correct this sentence is "I'm not like him"

It's kind of very easy to get these things confused. That's why English students, who are beginners, should learn how to tell the verb "to do" from the one "to be". I hope this guy already has a clue about that.

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