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Auxiliary verbs in English

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This chapter will discuss the auxiliary verbs in English. There are many auxiliary verbs in English, for example 'to be', 'to do', 'to have', 'will', and 'would'. 

Definition and usage of auxiliary verbs

An auxiliary verb is a verb that can never be alone in the sentence, because it adds an extra meaning to another verb in the sentence. There have to be two or more verbs in the sentence. 

SituationExample
Auxiliary verbs of modality
  • She will make the invitations. 
  • He will wait for you at the station. 
Auxiliary verbs of time
  • She is talking with him. 
  • They had walked to the supermarket. 
To make a question and negative sentences, and expressing emphasis
  • Do you want a sandwich?
  • We don't talk a lot anymore. 
Passive auxiliary verbs
  • The house was built.
  • The letter was typed by the student. 

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Auxiliary verbs of modality

The auxiliary verbs of modality are modal verbs that give an attitude towards another verb. Some of these modal verbs are 'can', 'may', 'must', 'shall', and 'will'. 

  • I can sing very well. 
  • They will buy a bike. 

Auxiliary verbs of time

The auxiliary verbs of time in English are used for the present perfect, past perfect, present continuous, past continuous, future tenses. In English the verbs 'to be', 'to have', and 'will' are used as auxiliary verbs of time.

  • I have watched a movie. 
  • She is playing a game with him. 

Auxiliary verbs to make a question and negative sentences, and expressing emphasis

The auxiliary verb that is used to make a question or negative sentence or that is used to put emphasis on something, is the verb 'to do'. 

  • Do you like to play soccer?
  • I do like to go out for dinner!

Passive auxiliary verbs

For passive sentence the auxiliary verb 'to be' is used. The passive auxiliary verb is used when it is not important who performed the action. It focuses on the action and not the subject. 

  • The bike is bought. 
  • The house was built.  

Take a look at the subchapters to find out how to conjugate 'to be', 'to have''to do', the difference between 'will' and 'shall' and the verb 'would'.  

Train your skills by doing the exercises below!


Exercises

  1. Exercise to mark the English auxiliary verbs
  2. Choose the correct English auxiliary verb
  3. Fill in the correct English auxiliary verb

Exercise to mark the English auxiliary verbs


Choose the correct English auxiliary verb


Fill in the correct English auxiliary verb


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Next lessons

1 Conjugation of the auxiliary verb to be in English Learn all about the conjugation of the verb 'to be'.
2 Conjugation of the auxiliary verb to have in English Learn all about the conjugation of the verb 'to have'.
3 Conjugation of the auxiliary verb to do in English Study all the conjugations of the verb 'to do' in English here.