do - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participledoing
past tensedid
past participledone
Do can be used in the following ways:
as an auxiliary verb, especially for forming questions and negatives in the simple present or simple past tense (followed by an infinitive without ‘to’): Did you enjoy the party?She does not understand. In conversation and informal written English the following negative short forms of the auxiliary verb are used: doesn’t, don’t, and didn’t.
as an intransitive verb that replaces or refers to an ordinary verb that was in a previous clause or sentence: You know as much as I do (=as much as I know).
as an auxiliary verb to form a question tag in the simple present or past tense (when there is no auxiliary or modal verb in the main clause): You teach English, don’t you? (where do is used in the main clause): They don’t believe us, do they?He did well, didn’t he?
as an ordinary transitive verb: He always did his duty.
as an ordinary intransitive verb: I need something sharp. That screwdriver will do.
When do is an ordinary transitive or intransitive verb, questions and negatives are formed by using the auxiliary verb do with it: What do you do in your spare time?He didn’t do his homework.
  1. 1
    [auxiliary verb] used before another verb for forming a question or a negative

    Do you drive?

    What did the doctor say?

    Didn’t they tell you I was coming?

    Max doesn’t live here any more.

    Don’t believe what he tells you.

    1. a.
      used in a question tag at the end of a sentence when you are asking someone to agree with you, or when you are asking for information

      Young William played well, didn’t he?

      You didn’t see my keys lying around anywhere, did you?

  2. 2
    [intransitive] used instead of repeating the same verb that was used earlier in the sentence, or in a previous sentence

    ‘You promised to come with me.’ ‘No I didn’t.’

    She doesn’t travel around as much as I do.

    I like Chinese food, but George doesn’t.

    ‘I enjoyed our trip to Brighton.’ ‘So did I.’

  3. 3
    used for emphasis [auxiliary verb]
    1. a.
      used for emphasizing the meaning of a positive statement

      My memory isn’t very good, but I do remember what she was wearing.

      I did lock the door. I’m absolutely sure.

    2. b.
      used when you are politely trying to persuade someone to do something

      Do stay and have dinner with us.

      Do be quiet!

  4. 4
    perform an action, activity, or job [transitive]
    1. a.
      to perform an action

      I hope you’re sorry for what you’ve done.

      He shouldn’t have thrown the bottle – it was a stupid thing to do.

      do something for someone:

      Is there anything I can do for you?

       Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      to take part in an activity

      I do yoga twice a week.

      Are you doing anything this weekend?

      While I’m in Norway, I want to do some skiing.

      nothing to do:

      There’s nothing to do around here – it’s really boring.

    3. c.
      informal to take part in an activity with others
      do lunch/a film/dinner etc:

      Call me and we’ll do lunch.

    4. d.
      to perform or complete a job or a piece of work

      He’s just doing a few jobs around the house.

      We’ll all be doing exams next week.

      Have you done that essay yet?

      He did his PhD at Harvard.

      do the washing/ironing/cooking etc:

      Who’s going to do the cooking?

       Synonyms and related words
    5. e.
      to perform a play, song, dance etc

      To start with, we’d like to do a song from our first album.

    6. f.
      to take action in order to deal with a situation

      Don’t just stand there, do something!

      do something about something:

      What is the government going to do about the growing crisis in the Health Service?

       Synonyms and related words
  5. 5
    [transitive] informal to clean something, or to make a place tidy

    I want to do the sitting room and the bedrooms before our guests arrive.

    A man comes in once a week to do the garden.

    do the dishes/windows/floors etc:

    Here, let me help you do the dishes.

  6. 6
    [transitive] to have a good or harmful effect

    It’s amazing what a little encouragement can do.

    Frost can do a lot of damage.

    do something to someone/something:

    Can’t you see what all this stress and uncertainty is doing to our family?

    do (someone/something) good/harm:

    The fresh air will do you good.

    How much harm did the oil crisis do to our economy?

     Synonyms and related words
  7. 7
    used for talking about health or success [intransitive]
    1. a.
      [always progressive] used for talking about someone’s health or their general situation

      Sam! I haven’t seen you in a while – how are you doing?

      be doing well/fine etc:

      Grandpa’s not doing too well – we had to take him to hospital last night.

    2. b.
      used for talking about how someone is progressing or how successful they are

      How’s Monica doing? Has she finished her course yet?

      do well/badly/all right etc:

      He did well in the exams.

      I’m afraid the business is doing badlyprofits are right down.

  8. 8
    [transitive] British to study a subject

    ‘Which subjects are you doing at college?’ ‘I’m doing history and economics.’

  9. 9
    [transitive] informal to spend an amount of time doing something

    I did two years in the navy.

     Synonyms and related words
  10. 10
    [transitive] to provide a service or product for customers to buy

    Office Supplies do a nice little computer desk at £35.

    We do sandwiches and other snacks in the bar.

  11. 11
    make something [transitive]
    1. b.
      to draw or paint a picture or decoration

      All these paintings of Venice were done by Canaletto.

      Who did the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

  12. 12
    move a particular distance or at a particular speed [transitive]
    1. a.
      used for saying how far someone or something succeeds in travelling

      We did 32 miles that day, marching over rough mountain roads.

    2. b.
      used for saying what speed someone or something achieves

      The Toyota MR2 will do 130 mph.

  13. 13
    [transitive] informal to copy someone’s voice, manner, or way of moving, in order to entertain people

    You should see him do Elvis Presley.

  14. 14
    [intransitive] informal used for talking about how something may change

    I wonder what the weather’s going to do.

    It all depends on what interest rates do over the next twelve months.

  15. 15
    [transitive] British informal to cheat someone

    You paid £50 for that rubbish? You’ve been done!

  16. 16
    [transitive] informal to use illegal drugs

    He doesn’t drink or do drugs, but he smokes.

  17. 17
    [transitive] British informal if the police do you for a crime, they catch you and you are punished
    get done for something:

    He got done for driving without a licence.

  18. 18
    [transitive] informal to visit a famous place as a tourist

    After we’d done the Pyramids we went back to the Cairo Museum.

  19.   From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    it/that will never do said when you think that something should not be considered acceptable

    It will never do to send a résumé without a cover letter.

    That will never do to abuse a child like that!

    Submitted by Caleb Judy from United States on 22/06/2015