Who plays squash with Karl?

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New Member
Hi everyone,
I have some questions about English sentences. In particular, I would like to know why the following phrase cannot be expressed with 'does':
Who plays squash with Karl?

Why it cannot be:
Who does play squash with Karl? Might it be that when whe use Why/When/Where do/does do not fit?

<-----Additional question removed by moderator (Florentia52) and font edited for readability----->

Thanks a lot.
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  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Welcome to the forum.

    Please only ask one question per thread. It makes it easier for other people looking for answers to the same question.

    I'll answer your first question.
    "Do" in this example is an auxiliary verb, and has three main uses:
    1. To form negatives (Karl does not play squash)
    2. To go in front of the subject in questions, where otherwise the subject would come after the verb. As an example, "Went the day well?" is grammatically correct in English (and is the title of a well known British film from the Second World War), but putting the subject after the verb is exceptionally rare in everyday English, so instead we usually say "Did the day go well?"
    3. To add emphasis (I do go to school!).
    In your example, "who" (a pronoun) forms the subject of the verb. Since "who" comes before the verb (the usual position of a subject), there is no need for "do". Note that "who" isn't always the subject; we often use "who" as the object of a verb in a question. You may read that it should be "whom" in this case, but the rule is widely ignored these days. Here "do" is needed before the subject: "Who did he ask?" ("he" is the subject).

    You can use "do" for emphasis in questions, but you need a very good reason to do so. If at the end of a long line of questions and answers you cannot work out who plays squash with Karl and having eliminated everyone you can think of, you could ask "Okay then, who does play squash with Karl?"

    The other question words you mention are adverbs, not pronouns.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    And of course if you turn the question around, then the use of “do” is essential:

    Who plays squash with Karl? / Who does Karl play squash with?
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