- Practice in Identifying Helping Verbs
- Habitual Past
- Marginal Modal
- Modal Auxiliaries, Primary Auxiliaries, and Semi-Auxiliaries
- NICE Properties
- Notes on Do: Ten Things You Can Do With the Verb Do
- Short Answer
- Ten Quick Questions and Answers About Verbs and Verbals in English
- Ten Types of Verbs
- Using Correct Forms of the Verb Be
Etymology:From the Latin, "help"
Examples and Observations:
- "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."
- "A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
(Sir Francis Bacon)
- "We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm."
- "I did not invent Irish dancing."
(Bart Simpson, The Simpsons)
- "In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."
- "After I die I shall return to earth as the doorkeeper of a bordello, and I won't let a one of you in."
- "And as for Gussie Fink-Nottle, many an experienced undertaker would have been deceived by his appearance and started embalming him on sight."
(P.G. Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves, 1934)
- "The auxiliary verbs of English are the following:
- can, may, will, shall, must, ought, need, dare [modals]
- be, have, do, use [non-modals]
(R. Huddleston and G. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002)
- Differences Between Auxiliary Verbs and Main Verbs
"The auxiliary verbs differ from main verbs in the following ways:
1. They do not take word endings to form participles or agree with their subject. Thus, we say She may go to the store, but never She mays go to the store.(The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style. Houghton Mifflin, 2005)
2. They come before not in negative clauses, and they do not use do to form the negative: You might not like that. A main verb uses do to form the negative and follows not: You do not like that.
3. They come before the subject in a question: Can I have another apple? Would you like to go to the movies? Main verbs must use do and follow the subject to form questions: Do you want to go to the movies?
4. They take the infinitive without to: I will call you tomorrow. A main verb that takes an infinitive always uses to: I promise to call you tomorrow."
- The Maximum Number of Auxiliaries
"English allows up to three auxiliaries in a sentence, four in a passive . . .. The first must be finite and the others nonfinite. In the following example, we have a modal followed by have followed by the past participle of the verb 'to be':
I could've been a contender.(Barry J. Blake, All About Language. Oxford University Press, 2008)
(Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront)"
- Irregular Auxiliaries
"The verbs be, have, do, and go are irregular in many of the world's languages. They are the most commonly used verbs in most languages and often pitch in as auxiliaries: 'helper' verbs that are drained of their own meanings so that they may combine with other verbs to express tense and other grammatical information, as in He is jogging, He has jogged, He is going to jog. Many language scientists believe that the meanings of these verbs--existence, possession, action, motion--are at the core of the meanings of all verbs, if only metaphorically."
(Steven Pinker, Words and Rules. HarperCollins, 1999)
- Omitting Words After Auxiliary Verbs
"To avoid repeating words from a previous clause or sentence we use an auxiliary verb (be, have, can, will, would, etc.) instead of a whole verb group (e.g. 'has finished') or instead of a verb and what follows it (e.g. 'like to go to Paris'):
- She says she's finished, but I don't think she has. (instead of . . . has finished.)If there is more than one auxiliary verb in the previous clause or sentence, we leave out all the auxiliary verbs except the first instead of repeating the main verb. Alternatively, we can use two (or more) auxiliary verbs:
- 'Would any of you like to go to Paris?' 'I would.' (instead of I would like to go to Paris.)
- Alex hadn't been invited to the meal, although his wife had. (or . . . had been.)(Martin Hewings, Advanced Grammar in Use, 2nd ed. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2005)
- 'They could have been delayed by the snow.' "Yes, they could.' (or . . . could have (been).)"