Don’t’s or don’ts

Don’t is a contraction of the words do not which means not to perform or complete an action. A don’t is something that should not be accomplished or completed. The common phrase with the plural is spelled dos and don’ts. While dos has an alternate spelling (both dos and do’s is accepted by different people), don’ts is always don’ts and never don’t’s.

Interestingly, in the past it was the accepted contraction for does not as well, as in She don’t live here. Nowadays this is seen as incorrect and not proper, though some still use it. This continued usage may be on purpose or from lack of education or simply a cultural standard.

Examples

“I don’t know what part of history you want to be on, but I don’t want to be on the bad side of history,” Josh Harrison said to Pirates.com. [FOX Sports]

Holiday decorations are a minefield but the number one don’t is don’t make a surprise gift of a pet. [CBS Local Philadelphia]

Since dressing for a wedding can be tricky, I thought I’d put together a straightforward list of style dos and don’ts to guide you through wedding season. [Pantagraph]

But for anyone planning on visiting Japan — and a lot of people do, with a 43% rise in April this year over the same period in 2014 and numbers only set to increase given a weak yen and the 2020 Olympics on the distant horizon — our team in Tokyo has helped pull together a handy list of don’ts to stay on the right side of Japanese customs. [CNN International]

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