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Thread: Using 'doesn't'

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    Default Using 'doesn't'

    I heard someone use the phrase - "Doesn't everybody", not as a question but instead as a statement in place of the more commonly used "everybody does". Is this right? It seems wrong but I can't explain why.

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    Default Re: Using 'doesn't'

    For example, "I love ice cream" can easily elicit the reply "Doesn't everybody."

    It means "Of course you do. Everybody loves ice cream." "Everybody does" is equivalent, but "Doesn't everybody" may perhaps contain a tiny hint of irony or even mockery.

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    Default Re: Using 'doesn't'

    Quote Originally Posted by Questions1 View Post
    I heard someone use the phrase - "Doesn't everybody", not as a question but instead as a statement in place of the more commonly used "everybody does". Is this right? It seems wrong but I can't explain why.
    The reason it sounds wrong is because it is wrong .... Doesn't means does not it and it is a question ... Many people ask questions thinking they are making statements ..

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    Default Re: Using 'doesn't'

    Quote Originally Posted by Questions1 View Post
    I heard someone use the phrase - "Doesn't everybody", not as a question but instead as a statement in place of the more commonly used "everybody does". Is this right? It seems wrong but I can't explain why.
    This is called a rhetorical question. It's a question and requires a question mark. It is quite acceptable.

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    Default Re: Using 'doesn't'

    This is a subtle point about which I am not at all certain. I agree that with the question mark it is simply a rhetorical question. But I think the omission of the question mark is the thing that can give it that little hint of mockery or irony. In my suggested usage it would be spoken with a falling rather than a rising intonation.

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    Default Re: Using 'doesn't'

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    This is a subtle point about which I am not at all certain. I agree that with the question mark it is simply a rhetorical question. But I think the omission of the question mark is the thing that can give it that little hint of mockery or irony. In my suggested usage it would be spoken with a falling rather than a rising intonation.
    A question is a question right ?

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    Default Re: Using 'doesn't'

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    This is a subtle point about which I am not at all certain. I agree that with the question mark it is simply a rhetorical question. But I think the omission of the question mark is the thing that can give it that little hint of mockery or irony. In my suggested usage it would be spoken with a falling rather than a rising intonation.
    Do you mean like:
    A: I hope she wins.
    B: Don't we all.
    I'm not sure that is a valid construction.

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    iannou is online now Key Member
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    Default Re: Using 'doesn't'

    Quote Originally Posted by Questions1 View Post
    I heard someone use the phrase - "Doesn't everybody", not as a question but instead as a statement in place of the more commonly used "everybody does". Is this right? It seems wrong but I can't explain why.
    That you heard this (rather than seeing it written) is perhaps the reason for your confusion. "Does (or doesn't) everybody?" is an example of subject/verb inversion, and the most common way of forming the interrogative in English.

    Everybody does. -- statement
    Does everybody? -- question (the "n't" is irrelevant to its being or not being a question.)

    So, I contend that this is a question whether or not you perceived a rise in tone. It's an assertion phrased as a question and requires a question mark to be grammatical in text form.

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    Default Re: Using 'doesn't'

    Yes I meant exactly like "Don't we all". And I would remind everyone that in the original post of this thread the questioner explicitly stated that what he heard was a statement, not a question.

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    Default Re: Using 'doesn't'

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    Yes I meant exactly like "Don't we all". And I would remind everyone that in the original post of this thread the questioner explicitly stated that what he heard was a statement, not a question.
    Not to be argumentative, but "Don't we all?" is equally a question.

    We do. / Do we? We don't. / Don't we (all)?

    It is indeed rhetorical, in that no response is expected, but it is still a question and should be punctuated as such.

    And, that the original poster didn't recognize that the utterance was a question is simply an error on his part. I really can't think of any reason to class this as anything other than a question. It uses the interrogative form, and it can be answered by a simple statement.

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