Auxiliary Verbs for beginners

Auxiliary verbs help the main verb to express tense or voice or help make questions and negative sentences. That's why they're also called 'helping verbs'.

"Auxiliary Verbs" in English Grammar

What Are Auxiliary Verbs?

Auxiliary verbs are helping verbs. They do not have separate meanings and are only used with other verbs to make questions, negation, different tenses, etc. Here are the major auxiliary verbs in English:

using the auxiliary verb 'be'


Be is one of the irregular verbs. It has several forms.

Subject Present
I am
He/She/It is
We/You/They are

You are a lawyer. (main verb)

He is singing. (auxiliary verb)

Subject Past
I/He/She/It was
We/You/They were
Present participle Past participle
being been

Be Question Forms

If the main verb of the sentence is 'to be', the question form is:

Statement Question
I am Adam. Am I Adam?
He is a doctor. Is he a doctor?

If the sentence has a main verb and the auxiliary verb is 'to be', the question form is:

Statement Question
We are staying at the hotel. Are we staying at the hotel?
He is watching television. Is he watching television?

Be Negative Form

To be in the negative form has this structure:

Statement Negative Short Form
I am Ken. I am not Ken. -
She is happy. She is not happy. She isn't happy.
We are lawyers. We are not lawyers. We aren't lawyers.


Do is an irregular verb. It has different forms:

Subject Present Past
I/We/You/They do/don't did/didn't
He/She/It does/doesn't did
Present participle Past participle
Doing done


Have is an irregular verb. It has three different forms:

Subject Present Past
I/We/You/They have/haven't had/hadn't
He/She/It has/hasn't had
Present participle Past participle
Having had


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