Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary Verbs: You might know that a verb describes an action of the subject. What does the auxiliary verb describe? Why do we need an auxiliary verb in a sentence? So, here is the answer, there are two main types of verbs: Action verbs or main verbs are used to describe activities that are doable, and linking verbs are used to describe conditions. An auxiliary verb helps the main verb to clarify whether an action occurs when the action of the main verb takes place, and who or what is responsible for that action. An auxiliary verb is used with a main verb to help the main verb in expressing the tense, mood, or voice. Like: 

Soham is writing a letter. Here in this sentence “Soham” is a subject who is performing the action of writing a letter. So, writing is the main verb, and ‘is’ helps the main verb in expressing that the sentence is in the present tense.

In this article, we will discuss Auxiliary Verbs, Common Auxiliary Verbs, Examples, and usage of Auxiliary Verbs in sentences.

Auxiliary Verb Definition

An auxiliary verb is a verb that is used as a helping verb along with the main verb to add functional or grammatical meaning to a sentence. It is used to improve the tense, mood, or voice of the sentence. Sometimes an auxiliary verb is used with another verb to form negatives and questions also. Auxiliary verbs perform their functions in different ways:

  1. Expressing tense and providing a time reference about sentences i.e. past, present, or future.
  2. Expresses how verbs relate to the flow of time.
  3. Expresses necessity or possibility.
  4. Adds emphasis to a sentence.

Examples of Auxiliary verbs

IsAmAreWasWereHave
HasHadWillWouldMayMight
Can CouldShallShouldMustDo
DidOught toNeed 

Common Auxiliary Verbs

There are three main or common auxiliary verbs are:

  1. Have
  2. Do
  3. Be

Let's understand the basics of these three common auxiliary verbs in more detail.

Have

‘Have’ is usually used to denote ownership including Has, Have, Having, Had, and Hadn’t or Had not. ‘Have’ can also be used to discuss ability or to describe appearance. ‘Have’ can also be used to alter the tense of the sentence. When used as an auxiliary verb, ‘have’ is sometimes combined with another verb to create a complete verb phrase.

For Example: 

  1. They have come a long way to meet their families.
  2. Piyush has finally bought a new house.
  3. Aman should have been more careful while driving.
  4. I had been waiting to visit Dubai.

Do

‘Do’ can be used as an action verb and usually denote ownership including Do, Does, Did and Didn’t, Doesn’t, or Did not. To form imperative,  interrogative, and negative sentences, ‘Do’ is usually used. In some cases, it is used to add emphasis to a sentence.

For Example:

  1. Do you want to play?
  2. Jahan didn’t put his book on the table.
  3. Do not apply this trick to prank me.
  4. Does she write a letter?

To Be

‘Be’ or ‘to be’ is an important verb that is used to indicate continuous action. It can be used as an action verb that represents tenses including be, to be, been, is, am, are, was, were, wasn’t, was not, aren’t, are not, weren’t, and were not. It can also be singular or plural. The important thing to remember is that while using this common auxiliary verb, we must use the ‘-ing’ form of the main verb.

For Example:

  1. I am playing football.
  2. They are having their lunch.
  3. Rohan is learning his lessons.
  4. He was not preparing for the exam.

Modal Auxiliary Verb

When an auxiliary verb is used to express possibility, conditionality, necessity, obligation, ability, probability, or wishful desires then that verb is known as a Modal Auxiliary Verb. This modal auxiliary verb never changes its form. Here, all modal auxiliary verbs are listed:

Modal Auxiliary VerbUsages of Modal Auxiliary Verb in Sentences
MayMay I go out for a while? 
MightSagar might be able to perform tomorrow. 
MustWe must focus on our studies.
CanNo one can feel my pain.
CouldCould you please switch off your phone?
ShallWe shall be prepared for the next round.
ShouldWhy should we hire you?
WillWho will be the next millionaire? 
WouldIf I was educated, I would be a damn fool.
Ought toYou ought to obey the traffic rules.

Modal Auxiliary Verb Examples

  1. Akash is taking this a bit seriously.
  2. If you can dream it, You can do it.
  3. She was busy building her empire.
  4. Rajesh has been checked by the doctor.
  5. I might have a problem.
  6. Please, Don't let him go.
  7. I didn’t understand his joke.
  8. Where were you going last night?
  9. My dad has been working hard for a living.
  10. We Shall overcome one day.
Auxiliary Verbs: FAQs

Ans: An auxiliary verb is a verb that is used as a helping verb along with the main verb to add functional or grammatical meaning to a sentence.

Ans: There are three main or common auxiliary verbs: Have, Do, and Be or To be.

Ans: When an auxiliary verb is used to express possibility, conditionality, necessity, obligation, ability, probability, or wishful desires then that verb is known as Modal Auxiliary Verbs.

Ans: The examples of modal auxiliary verbs are: May, Might, Must, Can, Could, Shall, Should, Will, Would and ought to.

Ans: An auxiliary verb, is used to add context, functional or grammatical meaning to a sentence. You can use auxiliary verbs to express tense, modality, voice, or aspect, and to form interrogatives.

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