Dear all,

The following expressions have been confusing me for long. I asked about its meaning to a couple of persons, but unfortunately, I have not yet got a satisfactory reply. Kindly enlighten me on this.

1) You don't smoke cigarette. (Actually, I am confused about its meaning. I think that its meaning is the same as "You shouldn't smoke cigarette". Once I even heard a foreigner telling angrily to his teenager son "You don't smoke cigarettes hereafter." But some of my friends tells that its meaning is the same as " You are not smoking cigarette.")

Thank you.

cat navy 425You don't smoke cigarettes.

This can refer to the other person's general or habitual behaviour. This meaning is possible in certain situations, but we do not very often tell people what their general behaviour is, since they already know. "He doesn't smoke (cigarettes)", for instance, would be more likely.

In colloquial speech, it can also be an instruction or order, similar to "You must not smoke cigarettes". Depending on the intonation that we are trying to represent, further punctuation may be added.

cat navy 425But some of my friends tells that its meaning is the same as "You are not smoking cigarettes."

In colloquial speech, "You are not smoking cigarettes" can be another way of ordering someone not to smoke.


First, note that cigarette is a countable noun. This means you need to say

a cigarette

the cigarette


Don't smoke cigarettes is an order.

You shouldn`t smoke cigarettes is strong advice.

You don't smoke cigarettes is a statement of fact. You are more likely to say I don't smoke cigarettes. We often just say `I don't smoke'.


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