Grammar Tips (문법 팁): When to Use “Don’t” and When to Use “Doesn’t”

When should I use don’t and when should I use doesn’t? According to Learner’s Dictionary many are asking whether don’t or doesn’t is correct in a particular sentence, or asking about the difference between don’t and doesn’t.

Photo: Pixabay

Both don’t and doesn’t are contractions using the verb do and the word not. It’s easier to see which one is the correct choice if you expand the contractions: don’t is a contraction of “do not” and doesn’t is a contraction of “does not.” We know that a verb with a third person singular subject gets an -s or -es on the end in the simple present tense. This is true for all regular verbs.

The verb call has an -s when it has a third person singular subject:

 SingularPlural
1st personI callwe call
2nd person you callyou call
3rd personhe/she/it callthey call

The verb call has an -s when it has a third person singular subject:

 SingularPlural
1st personI callwe call
2nd person you callyou call
3rd personhe/she/it callthey call

With a third person singular subject, the verb do becomes does:

 SingularPlural
1st personI dowe do
2nd person you doyou do
3rd personhe/she/it does they do

So then, in the contractions with the word notdon’t becomes doesn’t with a third person singular subject:

 SingularPlural
1st personI don’t [I do not]we don’t [we do not]
2nd personyou don’t [you do not]you don’t [you do not]
3rd personhe/she/it doesn’t [he/she/it does not] they don’t [they do not]

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