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  1. #1
    Rachel Adams is offline Key Member
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    The auxiliary "Do"

    Hello.

    When did English start using auxiliary verb "do"/"did"? Before it was used, were such forms as "speak I?" "Work I?" "Worked I?" "I speak not" ever used?

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: The auxiliary "Do"

    Google is your friend!! I searched "When did the auxiliary do appear in English?" and found multiple results (with no definitive answer). Try it yourself.

    The simple answer to your second question is yes.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #3
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    Re: The auxiliary "Do"

    You'll need a historical linguist to answer this question with any real authority.

    There are some useful answers here: https://english.stackexchange.com/qu...uxiliary-verbs

  4. #4
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    Re: The auxiliary "Do"

    I have attempted to attach an interesting article that deals in part with this topic:

    Chapter 38 ("Early English and the Celtic Hypothesis," by Raymond Hickey) of The Oxford Handbook of the History of English (2012).

    See section 3.4 of that chapter, titled "The rise of periphrastic do."
    Attached Files Attached Files

  5. #5
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The auxiliary "Do"

    NOT A TEACHER

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    "I speak not" ever used?
    I've recalled a song by 'Nirvana' where the structure is used:
    He's the one
    Who likes all our pretty songs
    And he likes to sing along
    And he likes to shoot his gun
    But he knows not what it means...

    I don't think I've ever encountered modern-day instances of the structure other than in Kurt Cobain's song, though. I'm curious to know if there are other ones.
    ,
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

  6. #6
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Re: The auxiliary "Do"

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    NOT A TEACHER


    I've recalled a song by 'Nirvana' where the structure is used:
    He's the one
    Who likes all our pretty songs
    And he likes to sing along
    And he likes to shoot his gun
    But he knows not what it means...

    I don't think I've ever encountered modern-day instances of the structure other than in Kurt Cobain's song, though. I'm curious to know if there are other ones
    I can't think of much off-hand.

    There's the story of René Descartes at a cafe. The waiter asks him if he wants cream for his coffee. Descartes says, "I think not" — and disappears.

    Then there's the good old King James Bible, which still gets bandied about from time to time: "Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do."

    And there's the good old twentieth century US President John Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

    And novelist Ernest Hemingway dusted off an old John Donne quote for his For Whom the Bell Tolls: "Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."

    But I think Ernie made up this one himself, to contrast the Haves (the wealthy) with the Have-nots (the poor):

    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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