Hypocrisy don't makes you / doesn't make you a human

2

Hypocrisy don't makes you a human.
Hypocrisy doesn't make you a human.

Which would be grammatically correct: don't makes you or doesn't make you?

Or perhaps it should be:

Hypocrisy would never make you a human.

arm

Posted 2014-04-28T00:08:05.300

Reputation: 555

1Welcome to ELU! May I ask what your native language is? – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-04-28T00:23:50.360

2The correct version is "doesn't make": Hypocrisy doesn't make you a human. An alternative might be: Hypocrisy could never make you a human, but I'm with @FumbleFingers – I'm having trouble understanding what the sentence could possibly mean. If there was ever a trait that was unique to humans, it'd be hypocrisy (but I suppose that aspect of the sentence ought to be discussed at [philosophy.se]). – J.R. – 2014-04-28T08:44:01.733

Answers

5

The verb in a sentence may be a single lexical verb (a verb with distinct 'meaning') or a 'chain' of one or more auxiliary verbs ('helper' verbs) followed by the lexical verb.

However many verbs there are in the chain, only the first is inflected to agree with the subject of the sentence for tense, person and number. The other verbs in the chain are all "non-finite" forms: an infinitive or 'plain' form, or a present or past participle.

In your example the subject is hypocrisy, which is 3rd person singular, and there are two verbs, whose plain forms are do and make. The first verb, do, is inflected to agree with its 3d person singular subject, and the second takes its infinitive form:

Hypocrisy doesn't make you a human.

StoneyB on hiatus

Posted 2014-04-28T00:08:05.300

Reputation: 176 469

But it's probably worth noting that in casual conversation native speakers often say things like "That don't seem quite right" (i.e. - informally many/most of us are at least sometimes quite prepared to use *don't* where it should really be *doesn't*). Which don't bother me none, but obviously many will say it's just "sloppy" speech. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2014-04-28T01:01:19.490

@FumbleFingers It ain't no skin offa my nose neither. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-04-28T01:09:41.767

2Losing skin offa your nose don't make you human either. I must admit I'm intrigued at the idea there's a culture somewhere on this earth using a language where the translated version of Hypocrisy doesn't make you a human would seem like a credible utterance. Personally, I'd have thought displaying hypocrisy would be better than any current Turing Test for deciding if the test subject was in fact human (if not, it would be unimaginably advanced AI! :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2014-04-28T01:20:40.740

1Not all of us talk like that, though. A lot of the English I use informally is non-standard, but I'd never say "that don't seem quite right". – snailplane – 2014-04-28T01:25:07.107

1@snailplane Some of us do it on purpose, to distress the people in marketing and PR who think the language they speak is English. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2014-04-28T01:27:46.600