What Are Auxiliary Verbs?
Auxiliary Verbs are words that help the main verb to create tenses and voices in sentences. They are also used to make questions and negative sentences. Take a quick glimpse at the table below to get a clear understanding of the functions of different verbs in English:
|Modals||Main Verbs||Auxiliary Verbs|
|Making the Tense\Voice||✓|
|Creating the Meaning||✓|
|Making Questions and Negative Sentences||✓||✓|
|Being Used More than Once||✓|
English Auxiliary Verbs
The most commonly used auxiliary verbs in English are listed below:
All of these three verbs are used as both the main and the auxiliary verbs. Let us examine each one closely.
The Verb 'Be'
The verb 'be' means to exist in itself. Let us look at different ways this verb is used:
As you can see, 'be' is the main verb.
Here, the 'be' verb is an auxiliary and the main verb is 'go'.
The Verb 'Have'
The verb 'have' when used as the main verb means 'to possess', 'to eat or drink'. When it is used as an auxiliary verb, it simply helps the main verb to make the tense and the voice. Pay attention to the examples below:
Here, the verb 'have' is used as the main verb and has a meaning of itself.
Here, the conjugated form of 'have' is used as an auxiliary to show the tense and the voice.
The Verb 'Do'
Just like the other two verbs, When we use 'do' as the main verb, it means 'to act', 'to perform'. However, when we use it as an auxiliary verb, it simply has no meaning itself and is there to help the main verb create the tense and the voice. Let us look at some examples below:
Here, 'do' is an auxiliary verb helping the main verb make a question.
As you can see, 'do' is the main verb.
As mentioned above, these auxiliary verbs are used to help form:
- The Tense and the Voice
- Questions and Negative Statements
The Tense and the Voice
One of the uses of auxiliary verbs is to show the tense and the voice of the statement. Different tenses like present continuous, past perfect, future perfect, and different voices like active or passive voices are recognized through these auxiliary verbs. Let us take a look at some examples:
As you can see, the auxiliary shows that the action happened in the past and this is a passive voice.
Here, the verb 'be' is used as both an auxiliary and the main verb and it shows the sentence is in the present continuous tense.
Questions and Negative Statements
As mentioned above, another use of these auxiliary verbs is to turn the sentences into
Here, the auxiliary verb helped make a negative sentence.
As you can see, the sentence is turned to question form and the auxiliary shows that it is present continuous tense.