Natural English: the use of ‘do’ for emphasis

Image Hi everyone and sorry for not posting anything for almost a month!

I finally have a bit of time to write about a language point that seems to puzzle students quite a lot: the use of the verb ‘do’ for emphasis.

Students mostly know ‘do’ as an auxiliary verb or in expressions like ‘to do the housework’ meaning to perform an action and I’ve already talked about another use of ‘do’ here. But what does it mean when people say “I do like it here!“?


The use of do in the above sentence is a way to add extra emphasis to a statement. It’s like saying ‘I really like it here!‘.

Let’s have a look at some features of this particular use of ‘do’:

  1. form: do is followed by a bare infinitive (without ‘to’): I do love London; she does love London.
  2. it can’t be used with negative statements: I do don’t like London.
  3. it can be used to talk about the past (but only to replace a past simple): She did teach me a lot (and I’m talking about my primary school teacher) >> she really taught me a lot; I did enjoy the party! >> I really enjoyed the party
  4. it’s never used with the verb ‘to be’: she does be beautiful.

Here are more examples:

I did tell you!

Meaning: I’m sure I told you!
A sense of reproach can be felt here: maybe you warned the person you’re talking to about the consequences of doing something (and this person didn’t really listen to you!) or you might just want to emphasize that you told this person about something even though they can’t remember it now.

I do remember talking to him

Meaning: I have a very clear memory of talking to him!

I did work a lot this week

Meaning: I worked my arse off this week! 🙂

As you can see from the examples above, ‘do’ is used instead of ‘really’, ‘very’ or ‘I’m sure’.

So I do hope that this use of do won’t puzzle you anymore and I do apologise for not writing anything for so long!
Talk soon,
Deb 🙂


Everyday English: ‘that will do, thanks’

wineToday’s post is going to be about a particular use of the verb ‘do’. The verb ‘do’ can be used as an auxiliary verb:

Do you often go the cinema? No, I don’t

or as a main verb meaning ‘to perform an action, activity etc”:

I do sports everyday (>>transitive use of do where ‘sports’ is the object)

but have you ever heard the sentence ‘that will do, thanks‘? Indeed this is a very common use of ‘do’ as an intransitive verb (an intransitive verb is a verb not followed by any object). But what does this expression mean and when to use it?

‘that will do’ to mean ‘that’s enough’

Basically, every time you want to say ‘that’s enough‘ you can just say ‘that will do’. Imagine you were at a friend’s house and they were pouring some wine into your glass, as soon as you think they’ve poured enough you can just say ‘that will do, thanks!’. Not being a big drinker, this sentence comes in handy when I’m around Brits (who drink like crazy by the way:)

The same way you’d ask a guest that you’re serving some cake ‘will that do for you or would you like some more?’ meaning ‘will that piece of cake be enough or would you like some more?’

‘that will do’ to mean ‘that will work’

Look at this example:

A: I couldn’t find some glue but I’ve got some tape.
B: That will do, thanks!

In this case, the expression ‘that will do’ stands for ‘the tape will work just fine‘ or ‘the tape will do the job‘.
And here’s a negative sentence:

Sometimes I try to make jokes to make him laugh, but that will not do. >> My jokes don’t work, they don’t make him laugh.

‘subject+ could do with + something’ to mean ‘subject+ would be better’

In all the examples below, ‘could do’ is used to mean ‘would be better’:

I could do with a bit more money >> I would be better if I had more money
This pasta could do with more salt >> This pasta would taste better if you added some salt
Moving out of my last flat was so tiring, I could have done with a bit of help >> It would have been better if someone had helped me

So now go out there and try using these expressions! 🙂
Talk soon,