Using do instead of does for a singular pronoun

duhveer

Senior Member
Hebrew
After listening to the song "Annette Hanshaw - Yes Indeedy (He Do)" written circa 1930, I was wondering if it was ever customary to use "do" instead of "does" when referring to a singular pronoun, or was it just a dialect oddity at the time?
All information, input, and help will be appreciated ;) ;).
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    I was wondering if it was ever customary to use "do" instead of "does" when referring to a singular pronoun, or was it just a dialect oddity at the time?
    I don't think this was a "dialectic oddity" (something that many people said, in some regions) at that time.
    I think it was only used in this song. Here is the chorus (refrain) of the song, which goes:

    Does he do what I want him to
    At the time I want him to
    Yes indeedy, he do


    The first "he do" is correct grammar. The second "he do" is not. But I think the second "he do" copies the first "he do".
    This is an intentional mistake -- the singer expects the audience to notice that the second "he do" is a grammar mistake.
    Buy it copies the earlier "he do", which is a very common pattern in "yes" replies. So this "mistake" sounds cute.

    Remember that songs (and other poetry) do not obey grammar rules, and do not have "communicating meaning" as their main goal. Instead their main goal is communicating feelings, images, emotions, etc.
     
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