Welcome to
ESL Printables, the website where English Language teachers exchange resources: worksheets, lesson plans,  activities, etc.
Our collection is growing every day with the help of many teachers. If you want to download you have to send your own contributions.





ESL Forum:

Techniques and methods in Language Teaching

Games, activities and teaching ideas

Grammar and Linguistics

Teaching material

Concerning worksheets

Concerning powerpoints

Concerning online exercises

Make suggestions, report errors

Ask for help

Message board


ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > I īm confused    

I īm confused

Maja O.

I īm confused

Hi wonderful friends,

I īd like to ask you about something I īm not sure. The question is more for the native speakers but now only. Can I say ( if so why) :

                    "People did love horses many years ago."

Thanks for help and I wish you a great weekend.


22 Feb 2013      

maryse pey�

Yes, you can say this.
This is a form to emphasize the fact.
Mary Higgins Clark often uses this grammar point in her detective stories. You can use it with the simple present either.
Hope my explanation is clear enough.

22 Feb 2013     


Sure you can say that! However, we tend not to teach this to our students till secondary courses, even up to pre-univerity courses, since, in a sence, it contradicts what we always say; "auxiliaries such as do/did... only used for negative and interrogative forms."
The use of such a construction inplies an emphasis on the action, you are highlighting that the action really takes place!
Hope to have been useful.

22 Feb 2013     

United States

As maryse pey� notes, it shows greater emphasis. However, as in your example, it can also show contrast: People did love horses many years ago (but not very much now).
The emphasis can also be used to try to convince someone: People did use horses for farm work many years ago, child. There were no tractors two hundred years ago!

22 Feb 2013     


Hi Maja
If you have Swanīs Practical English Usage you will find an explanation and example in section 159.3 & 184.1 where it says that we can use it in an affirmative clause for emphasis, including emotive and contrastive emphasis.
I hope that we all did help you.

23 Feb 2013     

United States

To build on what others have said, it wouldn īt be used as a stand-alone sentence. Since the "did" is there for emphasis, there has to be more information to show the reason for the emphasis.
Stand-alone:  People loved horses many years ago.
With "did" (in a story set in the future):  Yes, our relationship with the animals has changed over the centuries. Now that the ants are controlling the world, we have a hatred and fear of anything with more than two legs. However, I īve heard that people did love horses many years ago.

23 Feb 2013