Who wrote this? vs Who did write this?

Who wrote this? / Who did write this?

Which one is correct?

Either is fine in terms of grammar. :wink: The only difference is that the second question is emphatic. :wink:

is the right form.

Hi Volcano

The first sentence would be the usual form for that question.
The second sentence could be an example of a special usage: the so-called “emphatic do”.


The use of “did” in your second sentence is similar to the way “did” is used in number 5 above (in the quote):
“Then who did take the tools?”

Thanks for the samples. The ‘emphatic do’ requires at least a context expressed or understood. 'You say that you did not take the tools. Then who did? ’ is written for our convenience and in the spoken form the first section may not be repeated, since the first and second form a sequence in a conversation.
Who took the tools?
Did you take the tools?
Then who did?
The context is understood and is known to both the speaker and the addressed. In normal questions the first form ‘who took the tools?’ is used.

What do you mean by “right form”? Are you saying that the other form is wrong? Maybe you meant to say that “Who wrote this?” is the default form.

Certainly. For learners we normally tell them use only the default forms and only when they improve they search for different expressions and argue on things. That shows that they have an inherent interest and love for the language.

Thanks for your answers.I have one more question

I heard that we can’t use abbreviations like ’ should’ve been, I ve been, etc ’ in written english, but in spoken english.Is it right ?

Or it’s a case of learners already knowing that default forms are only a small part of usage in their own languages. They know that, and they doubt the advice of native and non-native English prescriptivists who tell the students that between “Who wrote this?” and “Who did write this?”, for example, only the former is correct. :wink: :lol:

Thanks. Let me remain a prescriptive teacher for the learners. l think twice before I tell them what can be used and what should be avoided. I never want them to get confused and so I let them find on their own the beauties of the language.

Please do so, but remember to get things right. :wink: For example, begin by letting them know that default and marked are equally important words.

Hi Volcano
Generally speaking, you should not use contractions in formal written English. You will find that some contractions are commonly used in informal written English (e.g. didn’t, couldn’t, I’ve, can’t). However, some contractions are extremely uncommon even in informal written English (e.g. should’ve, couldn’t’ve).

On the other hand, it would always be standard to write “o’clock”, for example.

How uncommon? In order not to have Amy go on for hours., I’ll simply post the link and students get on with their own research:


Attempting to mislead again, Mollster?

Sorry? How is my information misleading?

should’ve (search should 've) in COCA

Edited to save Amy getting personal.

I’m pretty sure you can answer that question yourself. :wink:
By the way, I see you’ve now edited your original post. :lol: :wink:

…39.2 per one million is a pretty convincing argument when considering typos, colloquial quotes and inept journalists.

You can’t?

Do you feel that should’ve is “extremely uncommon even in informal written English”?