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Thread: Auxillary verbs

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    Default Auxillary verbs

    I need some help. What is an auxillary verb? Please show me some examples of how it can be used.

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    Default Re: Auxillary verbs

    An auxiliary (or "helping") verb is a verb that doesn't really mean much at all, but helps with the grammar.

    For example, take this sentence:

    Sally did not pass the exam.

    What does "did" mean in that sentence? Well, nothing; but it so happens that in English, if you want to make a negative statement in the past simple tense, you need the extra verb "did", the past tense of "do" -- it's an auxiliary verb.

    This is a trickier case:

    How do you do?

    In this sentence, the first "do" is an auxiliary verb -- it is merely required to form a question in the present simple. The second "do" is the main verb.

    You have to be careful; in English, auxiliary verbs also double as main verbs.

    The English auxiliary verbs are:

    do -- used to form questions and negatives in the simple tenses
    have -- used to form the perfect tenses (I have made -- I had made)
    be -- used to form the continuous (or progressive) tenses (I am making -- I was making) and the passive (it is made -- it was made)

    Remember that these verbs also function as main verbs: "do" is a general-purpose verb (e.g. I did my homework), "have" can mean "possess" (I have a car), "be" can mean "exist" or "behave" and many other meanings besides (I am English). They are only auxiliary verbs when they serve only grammatical purposes.

    In addition, the so-called modal verbs also function as auxiliary verbs (and so are sometimes called "modal auxiliaries"). These indicate possibility or obligation, and include will/would, can/could, shall/should, may/might, must and ought to.
    Last edited by RonBee; 20-Oct-2007 at 14:17. Reason: Add previously ommitted word ("verb" in first sentence)

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    Default Re: Auxillary verbs

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    An auxiliary (or "helping") verb is a verb that doesn't really mean much at all, but helps with the grammar.

    For example, take this sentence:

    Sally did not pass the exam.

    What does "did" mean in that sentence? Well, nothing; but it so happens that in English, if you want to make a negative statement in the past simple tense, you need the extra verb "did", the past tense of "do" -- it's an auxiliary verb.

    This is a trickier case:

    How do you do?

    In this sentence, the first "do" is an auxiliary verb -- it is merely required to form a question in the present simple. The second "do" is the main verb.

    You have to be careful; in English, auxiliary verbs also double as main verbs.

    The English auxiliary verbs are:

    do -- used to form questions and negatives in the simple tenses
    have -- used to form the perfect tenses (I have made -- I had made)
    be -- used to form the continuous (or progressive) tenses (I am making -- I was making) and the passive (it is made -- it was made)

    Remember that these verbs also function as main verbs: "do" is a general-purpose verb (e.g. I did my homework), "have" can mean "possess" (I have a car), "be" can mean "exist" or "behave" and many other meanings besides (I am English). They are only auxiliary verbs when they serve only grammatical purposes.

    In addition, the so-called modal verbs also function as auxiliary verbs (and so are sometimes called "modal auxiliaries"). These indicate possibility or obligation, and include will/would, can/could, shall/should, may/might, must and ought to.


    http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary.html
    Last edited by RonBee; 14-Oct-2007 at 12:22.

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