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Thread: auxiliary

  1. #1
    kirimaru is offline Junior Member
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    Default auxiliary

    I'm using a text book named A University Grammar of English ,an interesting but difficult one .In the chapter about verbs & the verb phrase ,I find the classification of verbs :
    verbs consist of two kinds,lexical verbs & auxiliary .Modal auxiliaries include can ,may shall ,will ,could ,might ,should,would,must,ought to,used to ,need,dare

    what's about have to ? Is have to a modal verb?
    If it is a modal verb ,why isn't it mentioned in this part?
    Please help me with this .

  2. #2
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: auxiliary

    Quote Originally Posted by kirimaru View Post
    I'm using a text book named A University Grammar of English ,an interesting but difficult one .In the chapter about verbs & the verb phrase ,I find the classification of verbs :
    verbs consist of two kinds,lexical verbs & auxiliary .Modal auxiliaries include can ,may shall ,will ,could ,might ,should,would,must,ought to,used to ,need,dare

    what's about have to ? Is have to a modal verb?
    If it is a modal verb ,why isn't it mentioned in this part?
    Please help me with this .
    Modal verbs like: can, will, must are also called defective verbs because they don't have a past participle like will, can or even a past tense like must. Hence they cannot be used in perfect or future tenses. You need substitutes which make up for this deficiency like: have to and be able to.
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 27-Mar-2008 at 07:54.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: auxiliary

    From a formal point of view, the true "defective" modals are 'can-could, may-might, must, ought, shall-should, will-would'. All of these may "take" all and any of the possible infinitives of a verb, i.e. active: base/simple, continuous, perfect simple, perfect continuous; passive: base/simple, perfect. Although 'need' and 'dare' are commonly thrown in with the "traditional" modals, not only may they occur as main verbs, but they suffer from certain restrictions.

    'Need' is normally used interrogatively or negatively, but not affirmatively (except in a clause subordinated to some kind of negative, e.g. 'I don't see why he need bother', 'I doubt that he need apply''). Also, 'need' rarely (if ever?) takes a continuous infinitive, while 'dare' only takes the base/simple infinitive. Should we call them "partial" modals?

    Structures like 'be (about) to, be going to, be able to, have to, be allowed to', etc., are often called "semi-modals" in EFL/ESL, as they complement and contrast in meaning/use/function with the traditional modals, and, as Dr Ibrahim rightly points out, some of them fill in for tense and infinitive forms that the traditional modals don't possess.

  4. #4
    kirimaru is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: auxiliary

    Thanks for your kind help,Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim and iconoclast.

    I am afraid to say that you two seem to forget my question.It is whether have to is a modal verb or not.

    'Need' is normally used interrogatively or negatively, but not affirmatively (except in a clause subordinated to some kind of negative, e.g. 'I don't see why he need bother', 'I doubt that he need apply'').

    I often see affirmative sentences using need such as :
    I need to know.
    You need to tell me exactly what he did.
    In these cases need is treated as a lexical verb ,not an auxiliary ,right ?



    Also, 'need' rarely (if ever?) takes a continuous infinitive, while 'dare' only takes the base/simple infinitive. Should we call them "partial" modals?
    Yeah,they are called "marginal" modal in my book.

    One more thing I would like you to help me is that why had better and ought to are called semi-auxiliary.
    Thanks a lot .

  5. #5
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    Default Re: auxiliary

    Sorry: 'have to' would be a "semi-modal"; 'ought to' is a living spanner in the works, for who ever heard of an auxiliary taking 'to'; and 'had better' is a totally ungrammatical-seeming head-scratcher whose origins, like those of so many funny little phenomena in English, have been lost in the mists of time.

  6. #6
    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: auxiliary

    I think it depends upon which criterion you are using to single out modal verbs - formal or semantic. In terms of form 'have to' is a regular verb since it has a whole paradigm of finite forms, but in terms of meaning it is definitely a modal verb as it expresses a speaker's attitude to an event.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: auxiliary

    hi.
    i've got a problem.
    I've been taught that the only form of imperative in English is
    "go [and] do sth"
    but to my surprise my friend just told me that the form "go + gerund" is also acceptable.
    [and i'm not talking about free time activities like "go surfing"]

    could you tell me if there are any conditions for that?
    can we use it interchangibly?
    is there any difference in meaning?
    are the sentences "go telling everyone" and "go [and] tell everyone" the same in meaning?

    all in all, what do you know about cases of gerund following "go"
    [except from those free-time activities].

    thanks very much.

    regards
    ax

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