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Auxiliary Verb Definition, List and Examples

Auxiliary Verb Definition

Auxiliary Verbs: Auxiliary verbs, often referred to as helper verbs or aiding verbs, support the main verb in a phrase to convey difficult grammatical ideas, such as modalities or time aspects. For instance, the auxiliary verb helps the main verb to finish the sentence, “I have finished the report.”

Because auxiliary verbs might be challenging, we’ve provided all the information you need below. We give concrete examples of typical auxiliary verbs and describe when and how to use them.

What is an Auxiliary Verb?

Auxiliary verbs provide a supporting role behind the primary verb in the main sentence. They are mostly employed to construct intricate grammatical tenses, like as the perfect and continuous tenses, which depict several facets of time or the duration of an action.

For examples:

  1. I like to study. (Simple Present Tense).
  2. I am going to play. (Present Continuous tense).

In the above examples, first sentence doesn’t require an auxiliary verb because in simple/indefinite tense, auxiliary verb is not used. However, in second sentence ‘am’ is used which is an auxiliary verb because other than simple tenses all tenses need auxiliary verb to support the main verb.

Auxiliary Verb Definition

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.”

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 Use with 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.

Modal Auxiliary Verb with Examples

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.

Auxiliary Verbs List

Auxiliary Verb Definition, List and Examples_40.1
Auxiliary Verb List

24 Auxilary Verb List

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.

Auxiliary Verb- QNAs

Que. What is an auxiliary verb?

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

Que. What is auxiliary verb example?

Ans. 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.

Que. How do we use auxiliary verbs?

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

Que. What is V1 V2 V3 V4 English grammar?

Ans. 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.

Que. What is primary auxiliary verb?

Ans. The primary auxiliary verbs are ‘be’, ‘have’ and ‘do’.


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