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Auxiliary Verb, Modal Auxiliary List, Examples, Types, Sentences

Auxiliary Verb

Auxiliary verbs, also known as helper verbs or helping verbs, work alongside the primary verb in a phrase to convey difficult grammatical concepts such as modalities or time aspects. For example, the auxiliary verb “finished the report” assists the main verb in finishing the phrase. Because auxiliary verbs might be tricky, we’ve supplied all of the information you’ll need here. We provide actual examples of common auxiliary verbs and explain when and how to utilize them.

What is an Auxiliary Verb?

Auxiliary verbs offer a supporting role in the main sentence, after the principal verb. They are mostly used to construct complex grammatical tenses, like as the perfect and continuous tenses, which reflect many aspects of time or the duration of an action.
As an example:

I enjoy studying. (Present Simple).
I’m going to have some fun. (Present Continuous).

The first sentence in the preceding instances does not require an auxiliary verb since auxiliary verbs are not used in simple/indefinite tense. However, in the second sentence, the auxiliary verb ‘am’ is employed since, aside from simple tenses, all tenses require an auxiliary verb to support the primary verb.

Modal Auxiliary Verb

According to the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary, an auxiliary verb is “a verb such as be, do, and have used with main verbs to demonstrate tense, etc. and to construct questions, and negatives.”

Modal Auxiliary verbs are “the verbs ‘be’, ‘do’, and ‘have’ in English, when they are employed with another verb to construct tenses, questions, question tags, and the passive,” according to the Macmillan Dictionary. Am, are, do, and has been are all auxiliaries in the sentences “I’m listening,” “Are you working,” “You don’t like her, do you?” and “The bill has been paid,” for instance.

An auxiliary verb is defined as “a verb that is employed with another verb to generate tenses, negatives, and questions” by the Cambridge Dictionary. The auxiliary verbs in English are “be,””have”.

Auxiliary Verb Examples

Different tasks can be accomplished by auxiliary verbs in a sentence or context. In order to change the tense, voice, and mood of a sentence, auxiliary verbs serve as supporting verbs. Let’s see how each of these properties is met by these verbs.

Let us look at the following table to learn the uses of auxiliary verbs

Root Verb Auxiliary Verb Tense Form Examples
To be Am Present Continuous (Singular) I am working on this project.
Is Present Continuous (Singular) He is going to market.
Are Present Continuous (Plural) They are sleeping.
Was Past Continuous (Singular) She was doing her work.
Were Past Continuous (Plural) The children were playing in the park..
Have Have Present Perfect They have come to India after five years.
Has Present Perfect (Third person pronoun – ‘He’, ‘She’ and ‘It’) Tharun has finally found the keys to his car.
Had Past Perfect Neena and Vijay had brought their pet along with them when they came to have dinner with us.
Have been Present Perfect Continuous I have been waiting for my interview results since last week.
Has been Present Perfect Continuous Firoz has been working as a doctor in Uttar Pradesh for a year now.
(Third person pronoun – ‘He’, ‘She’ and ‘It’)
Had been Past Perfect Continuous Heera and Diana had been waiting to visit the Museum of Fine Arts from the day they reached Bangalore.
Will Will Simple Future I assure you that I will finish all my assignments by Friday.
Will be Future Continuous She will be attending the Parent-Teacher meeting next week.
Will have Future Perfect They will have reached London by this time tomorrow.

Auxiliary Verb List

Check out an Auxiliary Verb List here. You can download this Modal Auxilary Verb List image.

Auxiliary Verb List
Auxiliary Verb List


Types of Auxiliary Verbs

As auxiliary verbs assist the main verb in expressing tense, mood, and voice, there are 4 types of auxiliary verbs that execute these three duties.

Auxiliary Verbs for Expressing Tense

Because these auxiliary verbs can be confused with connecting verbs, it is crucial to examine the context of the surrounding words in the phrase, or context clues, to determine which verb is being used.
As an example:
When the car accident occurred, he was thankful that he was wearing his seatbelt.

Auxiliary Verbs for Mood Expression

Auxiliary verbs that reflect mood are frequently used in phrases that pose an inquiry or issue a directive.
Here’s an example of an interrogative sentence, or one that asks a question:

Did you remember to feed the dog the day before?

Even though the noun subject separates this auxiliary verb from the main verb, it nonetheless aids the main verb by questioning whether something was done yesterday or not.

Auxiliary Verbs for Expression of Voice

Voice can sometimes relate to a writer’s particular style, but in this context, voice refers to the distinction between active and passive voice.
When a verb is written in an active voice, the subject of the phrase performs the action.

For example, when he found himself surrounded by ravenous orcas, the lone dolphin screamed out urgently for his pod.
In this sentence, the subject, the dolphin, is carrying out the sentence’s action, which is termed.

Modality Expressing Auxiliary Verbs

The modal auxiliaries are a fourth sort of auxiliary verb that communicates possibility or ability.

Example – Remember when I said the girl wanted to color her hair? This is an example of a modal auxiliary since it demonstrates ability because she couldn’t determine which color to use.
Sure, if she had done more research or solicited opinions from her friends, she might have been able to make a decision, but as written, she was unable to do so, necessitating the addition of one of these auxiliary verbs.

Auxiliary Verb with Example Sentences

Modal auxiliary verbs can be used with main verb instead of auxiliary verbs but it is employed to emphasise a potential, capacity, necessity, or likelihood of an action occurring. See the samples below to get a thorough understanding of how modal auxiliary verbs function.

Modal Auxiliary Verbs Examples
Can I can solve this sum.
Could When I was young, I could swim.
May You may come in the evening.
Might It might rain.
Will She will solve the puzzle.
Would Would you like to have some coke?
Shall We shall come with you.
Should You should be careful.
Must You must take your medicine on time.
Ought to You ought to obey the rules.

What are 24 Auxilary verbs?

Auxiliary verbs, also known as helping verbs, are used in combination with main verbs to create different verb forms and convey various aspects of the action or state. Here are 24 common auxiliary verbs:

  1. Be: am, is, are, was, were, been, being Example: She is studying for her exam.
  2. Have: have, has, had Example: They had finished their homework.
  3. Do: do, does, did Example: He does his chores every day.
  4. Will Example: I will call you later.
  5. Shall Example: Shall we go to the park?
  6. Can Example: She can swim very well.
  7. Could Example: We could hear the music from the party.
  8. May Example: May I borrow your pen?
  9. Might Example: It might rain later.
  10. Must Example: You must complete the assignment.
  11. Should Example: They should arrive soon.
  12. Ought to Example: You ought to apologize for your mistake.
  13. Would Example: He would always help his friends.
  14. Used to Example: They used to live in that house.
  15. Need Example: We need to finish the project.
  16. Dare Example: She dared to take on the challenge.
  17. Going to Example: They are going to travel next week.
  18. Has to Example: He has to attend the meeting.
  19. Had better Example: You had better be on time.
  20. Have to Example: We have to catch the bus.
  21. Has got Example: She has got a new car.
  22. Had Example: They had seen that movie before.
  23. Be able to Example: I am able to solve difficult problems.
  24. Be going to Example: The team is going to win the match.

These auxiliary verbs help us express tenses, moods, questions, negation, and other aspects of the verb in a sentence.

How to identify Auxiliary verb?

You are probably aware that every sentence contains a verb of some kind.

  • Verbs can be divided into two categories. Action verbs are used to describe tasks that can be completed, while linking verbs are used to explain circumstances. The three primary auxiliary verbs—do, be, and have—can be accompanied by action verbs or connecting verbs.
  • Sometimes events or circumstances only happen once before ending. In situations like this, several verbs that are often used as auxiliary verbs are switched out for action or linking verbs. The word “is” can be seen in this illustration. This is one of the most popular auxiliary verbs, however since it stands alone in this sentence, it is not doing its intended job.

John slammed the door on Tom’s hand. He is in the pain.

In this line, “is” serves as a connecting verb. It is not an auxiliary verb because it is a stand alone verb.

  • Other times, a situation, activity, or condition is ongoing, predictable, or connected to another occurrence or series of events. In certain circumstances, phrases with auxiliary verbs are utilised instead of single-word verbs like is because they better capture what transpired. These could contain anything between two and four words.
  • A primary verb, usually referred to as a base verb, describes the nature of the activity or condition that is occurring. Auxiliary or assisting verbs are used in conjunction with the primary verb to express additional information that gives the reader more detail about the action that is taking place.


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What is an auxiliary verb?

Auxiliary verbs provide a supporting role behind the primary verb in the main sentence.

What is auxiliary verb example?

Am, is, are, was, were, will, have, has, had, may, might, can, could, shall, should, must, ought to, would, etc., are some examples of auxiliary verbs.

How do we use auxiliary verbs?

Auxiliary (or Helping) verbs are used together with a main verb to show the verb's tense or to form a negative or question.

What is V1 V2 V3 V4 English grammar?

V1- It is the first form of verb which is a part of present tense. V2- It is the second form of verb which is used in simple past tense. V3- It is the third form of verb which is a part of past participle. V4- It is the fourth form of verb which is a part of present participle.

What is primary auxiliary verb?

The primary auxiliary verbs are 'be', 'have' and 'do'.

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