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Special Uses for the Verb “Do”

The verb “do” is a little confusing. Not only is it a helping verb, it’s a main verb as well. For example, to ask someone about his or her job, say…

“What do you do?”

The first verb in that question is a helping verb, do; the second verb in that question is the main verb, do.


Q: What do you do?

A: I’m a cashier.

It’s interesting to note that the answer does not require the verb do. In this case the answer uses the verb be.

Q: What do you do at work?

A: I help customers.

Q: What do you do everyday?

A: I go to school.

What did they do?

They got married.

They do married.


What is he doing?

He’s smoking.

He's doing smoking.


But sometimes “do” is used as the main verb.

In fact, “do” is a very popular main verb for some activities. It can be used for exercising, studying, cleaning, working, and other general behaviors.

examples below:

Question Answer
What is he doing? He’s doing some exercises.
What does he do every day? He exercises. / He does exercises.
He does a lot of exercising.
How does she stay healthy? She does a lot of bicycling.
What does she do every day? She rides her bike.
or ….
She does a lot of biking.
What is she doing? She’s cleaning the bathroom.
or ….
She’s doing some cleaning.
She does a lot of cleaning at home on the weekend.
What is he doing? He’s vacuuming.
or ….
He’s doing some vacuuming.
What is she doing? She’s working on her laptop.
or ….
She’s doing some work on her laptop. (laptop=computer)
What are they doing? They’re washing the dishes.
They’re doing the dishes.

Reading Time : Carolyn recently lost her husband.

Carolyn recently lost her husband. He died of cancer a year ago. His name was Brad. Now Carolyn lives by herself. She feels lonely without her husband, but her children still visit her on the weekends, and that makes her feel less lonely.

Carolyn finds comfort in taking long walks in the forest. She and her husband used to go on long walks together, so when she takes a walk in the forest, it reminds her of her husband, and it brings back a lot of happy memories. Because she works as an artist, a walk in the forest also provides her with inspiration for her work.

Carolyn’s oldest daughter is 34 years old. Her name is Kathleen, but everyone calls her “Kathy.” Kathy works as a nurse at a hospital. She’s married and she has two small children. One is a three-year-old boy named Kevin, and the other is an eleven-month-old girl named Lisa. Kathy and her children come to visit Carolyn as often as possible. They call Carolyn “Gramma.”

Carolyn’s other daughter lives in New York. Her name is Samantha. She’s 26 years old, single, and she works as a waitress, but she hopes to find a job someday as an actress. Samantha comes home to visit her mother at least two or three times a year, usually during the holidays.

Brad is the youngest of Carolyn’s three children. He’s named after his father. He also looks a little like his father. He’s 24 years old and he’s going to finish law school in a few months. He hopes to get a job as a lawyer after he takes the bar exam. Brad wants to remain in the same town where his mother lives because he’s very close to his mother, and he loves living in the town where he grew up.

Brad is going to get married next year. He has a two-year-old son from a previous marriage. His son’s name is Justin. Carolyn often takes care of her grandson, Justin, during the day while Brad attends law school.

How much do you remember from the reading ? Fill in the blanks.

1A: What happened to Carolyn’s husband?

1B: He died of cancer.

2A: What was her husband’s name?

2B: His name was Brad .

3A: How many children does Carolyn have?

3B: She has three children.

4A: Where does Samantha live?

4B: She lives in New York.

5A: What kind of a job does Brad hope to get?

5B: He hopes to get a job as a lawyer.