In the question When can we omit “does” in the question sentence, the OP asked a question, and Invoker answered it, which is fairly straightforward. However, in the answer, he stated that:

We only use does when the subject mentioned in the sentence is he/she/it

Which ignores the very common usage (at least, in my experience) of "does" and "do" for emphasis, as outlined in my comment:

You should note that does is also used for emphasis; consider the following exchange: "She doesn't use the wheels." "Who does use the wheels?" In speech, does would be accompanied by a major pitch movement.

Looking at it now, using emphasis might've made it clearer. In any case, at least another user Mr Wonderful seems to agree.

In any case, Invoker responded with:

Under no circumstances can the phrase Who does use the wheels? be correct, as I mentioned before, the subject in the talk must be a noun

And also with:

Its not Do I uses the wheels , its Do I use the wheels? The OP did not actually ask for all possible situations where he an use does/do, he asked the diff b/w 2 statements, in other words, how the second sentence was incorrect, talk about incomplete answer you did not include do/does usage with corresponding verbs as well.

Firstly, I'd like to apologise if it seems as though I was personally attacking Invoker - I'll link to this in the comment to give him a chance to respond. Also - yes, I made a mistake, which I should have seen and fixed, but ad hominem attacks aren't helpful and distract from my actual point.

However, I'd like to raise the general issue of identifying our variant of English, since this can make a huge difference in how widely acceptable and applicable our answers are. This isn't necessary in every post, but certainly, when one or more people indicate that they find a particular usage or variant useful, at the very least you should consider dialectal differences. Personally, I know that Australian English is a mess of British and American English, but it's still a lot closer to them than is Indian sub-continental English, which has many grammatical differences at the very least, and likely idiomatic and pragmatic differences.

Now, I'm assuming that location information in profiles is true and correct, and in looking at the OP's they're located in Australia. Invoker is located in India, meaning there are possible issues with this.

I've gone ahead and suggested an edit to the post to incorporate Australian English (as well as British, US and Canadian, since I've been able to verify this) into the answer - while in general, this is frowned upon, because it changes the OP's meaning, I feel that leaving the answer as it is would have been ultimately detrimental.

Any thoughts, questions, or comments on this? How often is dialect/variant an issue? Should we have some kind of guideline around this, to ensure that there's no confusion?

4 Answers 4


Another answer can be submitted that addresses any issues concerned.

People can upvote and downvote all answers to show their approval or disapproval. Answers selected as "correct" by the OP are not necessarily "officially correct" -- it's just the way the site works. A "correct" answer with a low score is most likely not as good as another answer with a high score.

You can also suggest to the OP to consider giving more time for more Answers on future questions.

  • Okay, that seems reasonable - are "correct" answers promoted to the top of the list, or is it always by rating?
    – jimsug
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 5:13
  • 1
    I have unaccepted the original answer because I do agree with MrWonderful and jimsug's explanations. I think I can use does to emphasise the sentence.
    – Jake Lin
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 5:14
  • 2
    I haven't read it carefully, but even if someone gives a very good answer, you can give it one/two/few days to get other people's views and insights. Commented May 15, 2014 at 6:03

Most answers should be broadly applicable to Standard English in an international sense.

Answering about different English varieties is fine, but Standard English the world over is really quite similar. American English and British English are, barring pronunciation differences, about 99% the same. How often have you read something written by a BrE author or AmE author without realizing it? How much did you have to read before you realized? Was it a sentence? A paragraph? A page? More?

Here at English Language Learners, we should concentrate first on the standard language. Although differences between language varieties do exist and it's fine to talk about them, in my opinion they're only a secondary concern.

What about the question you've linked to here? As far as I can see, there are no major differences between language varieties that are relevant in this case. A good answer here should be generally applicable, and there's no real need to bring up AmE, BrE, or any other standard variety specifically.

  • I'm sure there was another answer (which seems to have been deleted). And I can assure you that there are significant enough differences between Indian sub-continental English and say, British English that you can and do notice the difference. If I recall correctly (and this'll teach me to quote from the question next time), there was an assertion made about the use of does, specifically, that the utterance Who does use the wheels? is never acceptable, which is patently wrong - I don't usually put my foot down like that, but I've heard it enough times to know it's true.
    – jimsug
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 2:05
  • In essence, I think allowing an answer with such an error to stand would be detrimental to the overall aims of the site, and so it would only be fair to either edit it, to limit the scope to a specific variety of English, or to delete the answer (as seems to have been done).
    – jimsug
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 2:09
  • @jimsug Invoker claimed it was unacceptable, and later said that they were describing BrE, but their claim is incorrect regardless. Auxiliaries are used for emphatic polarity in all standard varieties of English. Limiting the claim to BrE wouldn't make it any less wrong.
    – user230
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 2:15
  • Interestingly, probably the most obvious grammatical (rather than spelling) difference between BrE and AmE for me involves the use of do.
    – Gossar
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 22:51

Well, I'm no English teacher, but I believe my comments were correct based on my experience as native speaker of US English. I have no knowledge of other dialects and defer to others regarding the rules those may suggest.

That being said, I would like to see the answer corrected as it seems inaccurate to me. However, I would prefer that Invoker would correct it as I would not feel comfortable doing so while there is obvious disagreement on the correct answer.


Just like MrWonderful said, what I answered is based upon what type of English we natively speak, in my case, it would be British English and I haven't really heard anyone around me using does as in Who does uses wheels? The correct sentence would still be Who uses wheels from my perspective. Or if want to use does desperately, He does uses wheels OR Does he uses wheels? Is what I'd stick with.

I kind of understand MrWonderful's part of emphasizing does but AFAIK its very rare if we stick with British English.

  • I would agree that the usage of 'does' would be unlikely or even inappropriate unless it was in response to another statement as I mentioned originally. Commented May 15, 2014 at 15:09
  • @Invoker Where does this useS come from? It's not in the original question; I only see it once as an obvious typo in one of jimsug's comments to your answer. Of course does useS is wrong, but I don't think that's at issue here. Commented May 15, 2014 at 16:41
  • @StoneyB That's the original statement from OP. I don't know if he has edited it afterwards..
    – Invoker
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 2:09
  • @Invoker Nope. According to the edit history it was never there in Jake Lin's original question. I think you picked it up from jimsug's Comment. Commented May 16, 2014 at 2:19
  • @StoneyB Well then perhaps probably this guy jimsug or someone else in the thread posted it like this thats why I deliberately spelled it that way.. since I answered this question like 2 days ago I don't really remember.... Keeping that aside its not the main part of the story.. not something we should further spawn upon :) The point of the thread has already been conveyed to all.
    – Invoker
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 2:23

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