When you want to talk about a lot of people, you might use the word “everyone.” However, the word “everyone” can be confusing because it seems like it should be plural. For example, should it be “do everyone” or “does everyone”?
“Does everyone” is correct. The word “everyone” and other words like it are actually singular. Singular subjects need the verb “does,” not the verb “do.” The word “everyone” is an indefinite pronoun, and many indefinite pronouns function as singular even if they refer to more than one person.
In this article, we’ll talk about using “do,” “does,” and “did” with indefinite pronouns. Then, we’ll discuss why many indefinite pronouns are singular. Next, we’ll make some sentences with “do,” “does,” “did,” and “everyone,” and finally, you can test your knowledge with a short quiz.
What Do We Use With “Everyone”: Do or Does?
For the indefinite pronoun “everyone,” we need to use the verb “does” because “everyone” is singular, and we need a singular verb (source).
Let’s review the verb “do.” “Do” and “does” are the forms we use in the simple present tense. We use “do” with all subjects except third-person singular.
- I do my hair every morning.
- You always do your homework quickly.
- We do the laundry on Saturday.
- They do better when they are rested.
In contrast, we have to use the word “does” when we have a third-person singular subject.
- Henry does poorly on computerized tests.
- Yes, it does matter.
- She does her chores first thing in the morning.
Similarly, the indefinite pronoun “everyone” is a singular subject in the third person, so it takes “does.”
- Everyone does their best work for Mrs. Jones.
- Yes, everyone does need to be included.
“Do” or “Does” Before “Everyone”?
We’ve seen how “do” and “does” can function as stand-alone verbs. But “do” and “does” can also operate as helping verbs. Also, when we use them to ask a question, they will come before the subject.
For example, when we want to ask a question with the subject “everyone,” should we use “do” or “does?” Which of these sentences do you think is correct?
- Does everyone want to come to the party tonight?
- Do everyone want to come to the party tonight?
The first one, “Does everyone want to come to the party?” is correct.
We use “does” for third-person singular (he/she/it) subjects and “do” for all other subjects when the verb “do” serves as a helping verb. Again, since “everyone” is a subject in the third-person singular, we use “does.” So the correct sentence is, “Does everyone want to come to the party tonight?”
“Did Everyone” or “Do Everyone”?
Now consider if it should be “did everyone” or “do everyone?” Which sentence do you think is correct?
- Did everyone come to the party last night?
- Do everyone come to the party last night?
The first sentence, “Did everyone come to the party last night?” is correct because we are talking about the past. “Did” is the verb “do” in the simple past tense. It’s easy to remember because we use “did” for all subjects in the simple past. “Do” is also incorrect because we need “does” for an indefinite pronoun like “everyone.”
Is It “Did Everyone Understand” or “Does Everyone Understand”?
Now that we know to use “does” with “everyone” in the simple present and the simple past, which of these sentences do you think is correct?
- Did everyone understand?
- Does everyone understand?
That was a trick question because both are correct. “Did everyone understand?” is in the simple past tense, and “did” is the correct word to use for all subjects. “Does everyone understand?” is in the simple present tense, and we need the helping verb “does” with the subject “everyone,” which is the third-person singular.
Easy Chart for “Do,” “Does,” and “Did”
This chart shows five of the most common indefinite pronouns and the form of the verb “do” that they require. You can see that these indefinite pronouns are all singular because they all need “does” in the simple present tense. They will all use “did” in the simple past tense.
|Indefinite Pronoun||Simple Present Tense||Simple Past Tense|
What Is an Indefinite Pronoun?
Grammarians and lexicographers refer to words like “everyone,” “anybody,” “everything,” “nothing,” and “something” as “indefinite pronouns” since we don’t specifically know what nouns they refer to. For example, let’s ask who wants to come to a party this Friday.
- Do Mary, Sally, John, Andrew, and Andrew’s cousin Peter want to come to the party?
In this sentence, we know what people we are referring to. The subject is plural, so we use “do.” However, if your listener already knows the people you are talking about, we can use “everyone” to make our sentence shorter and simpler.
- Does everyone want to come to the party?
When we change the subject to “everyone,” the helping verb “do” has to change to “does.”
You can see that indefinite pronouns like “everyone” and “anybody” are singular because they represent one thing. For example, “everyone” represents one group of people.
We can’t make this word plural by saying “everyones” or “anybodies.” We always use the words in their singular form, “everyone” and “anybody.” And because they are singular, they need the verb “does” (source).
Examples of “Do” and “Does” With Indefinite Pronouns
Let’s look at some more sample questions using “does” with indefinite pronouns.
- Does anyone drink water?
- Does everyone arrive at the same time?
- Does somebody clean the lobby each week?
- Does everybody live on campus?
You can see that we need “does” with these indefinite pronouns because the subjects are singular in the third person.
Here’s a quick tip — we use indefinite pronouns with -thing for objects and -one or -body for people. The endings -one and -body, such as “everyone” and “everybody,” are synonyms because they both mean the same thing (source).
Similar to the words “everyone” and “everybody,” which are identical in meaning, “nobody” and “no one” are also synonyms, but notice that we spell “no one” with two words.
Forming Sentences With Indefinite Pronouns
Let’s practice using the verbs “does” and “did” in sentences with indefinite pronouns. First, we’ll look at these words as stand-alone verbs in positive sentences. Then, we’ll use them as helping verbs in negative sentences, questions, and negative questions.
Making Positive Sentences With “Does” and “Did”
In a positive, declarative sentence, we need to use “does” in the simple present tense when the subject is an indefinite pronoun. We use “did” in the simple past tense. Remember, indefinite pronouns are third-person singular.
- Someone already did the dishes.
- If anybody does the mowing, Dad will pay them.
- The teacher was upset that nobody did his homework.
Look at the last sentence again. Notice that when you have to use another pronoun after an indefinite pronoun, the correct way is to use the singular masculine form of that pronoun.
However, it’s becoming more common to use plural pronouns so as not to exclude women. So, for the last sentence, it’s fine to say, “The teacher was upset that nobody did their homework” (source).
Making Negative Sentences With “Does” and “Did”
Now, let’s look at negative sentences with indefinite pronouns. These sentences have a different structure than a normal negative sentence.
When we use indefinite pronouns in a negative sentence, we can only use the indefinite pronouns “nobody,” “nothing,” and “no one.” Because we consider these words to be negative, we shouldn’t use the word “not” since we can’t have two negative words in the same sentence. Look at these examples:
- Don’t say, “Anybody doesn’t do it better.”
- Instead, say, “Nobody does it better.”
- Don’t say, “Everyone didn’t do her nails like that.”
- Instead, say, “No one did her nails like that.”
- Don’t say, “No one didn’t finish his homework.”
- Instead, say, “No one finished his homework.”
Making Questions With “Does” and “Did”
We need the helping verb “do” when we ask a question with any main verb except for “be.” Put the subject in between the words “does” or “did” and the main verb.
Let’s take a look at some positive questions that use the helping verbs “does” and “did” with an indefinite pronoun as the subject.
- Did everybody come to the party last night?
- Does anyone like vanilla ice cream?
- Does something smell funny to you?
- Did everyone have fun at the beach?
- Does anybody here drink tea?
When you use the verb “be” to ask a question, you don’t need to use “do” as a helping verb. So would you say, “is everyone” or “are everyone?”
To discover the answer, read “Everyone Is or Everyone Are: Which is Correct?” which talks more about the use of indefinite pronouns and whether to use “is” or “are” with these words.
Making Negative Questions With “Do,” “Does,” and “Did”
When we make negative questions, we have to use the positive indefinite pronouns, like “everyone,” “anything,” “something,” etc. You can’t use negative indefinite pronouns such as “nothing” or “nobody” in a negative question (source).
Remember that you can’t have two negative words in the same sentence in English. For example:
- Don’t say, “Didn’t nobody come to the party last night?”
- Instead, say, “Didn’t anybody come to the party last night?”
- Don’t say, “Doesn’t nothing work in this house?”
- Instead, say, “Doesn’t anything work in this house?”
Additionally, when we make a negative question with “doesn’t” or “didn’t,” we are expressing our hope that other people will agree with us. Now, let’s look at some more negative questions. Contractions are always used in sentences like this.
- Didn’t everyone come to the party last night?
- (I can’t believe that only a few people came)
- Doesn’t anyone like vanilla ice cream?
- (I can’t believe that you prefer chocolate)
- Doesn’t something smell bad to you?
- (I can’t believe that it smells good to you)
- Didn’t everyone have fun at the beach?
- (I can’t believe that you would rather go to the city)
Time for a Quiz!
Are you feeling comfortable using “does” and “did” with indefinite pronouns? Let’s take a quick quiz to check your understanding! In each group of three sentences, one sentence is wrong. Can you choose the incorrect sentence?
- Do everyone need groceries?
- Does everyone need groceries?
- Did everyone need groceries?
In the first group, sentence 1 is not correct. Remember, indefinite pronouns like “everyone” are singular, so you need the singular third-person verb, “does.” “Do” is incorrect.
- Didn’t anyone read the newspaper?
- Doesn’t anyone read the newspaper?
- Don’t no one read the newspaper?
If you said number 3 is incorrect in the second group, you’re right. We can’t use two negative words in the same sentence. In this sentence, the two negative words are “don’t” and “no one.”
It is also incorrect because “no one” is a singular indefinite pronoun in the third person, and “doesn’t” is the helping verb for third-person singular. So, number 3 is incorrect in two different ways!
- Does anyone need to use the bathroom?
- Do anyone need to use the bathroom?
- Doesn’t anyone need to use the bathroom?
Number 2 is incorrect. Why? We need to use “does” with indefinite pronouns like “anyone” because it is a singular subject in the third person. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
- Does something in this box need batteries?
- Doesn’t something in this box need batteries?
- Do something in this box need batteries?
In this group, number 3 is incorrect. Again, it’s because you need the word “does” with a singular subject in the third person. The indefinite pronoun “something” is singular.
Remember, when you need to use the verb “do” as a helping verb with an indefinite pronoun, the same rule applies as when you are using “do” as a stand-alone verb. For a subject in the third person singular, use the helping verb “does.” Use “did” for third person singular in the past tense.
The more you listen to native speakers and practice your own speaking, the more you will discover that using “do” and “does” correctly will soon become natural for you.