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Auxiliary verbs are sometimes also termed as helping verbs because they are required to form a lot of the tenses. The most frequently used auxiliary verbs are to be, to do and to have.

For instance: the auxiliary ‘to do’ is required to ask a question in the present and past simple tense. The ‘to be’ is required for present and past continuous, and all passive structures. The auxiliary ‘to have’ is used in present and past perfect tenses. The further auxiliary verbs are known as modal verbs which are will, would, must,  may, could etc. Some of the common examples of auxiliary verbs in action are:

Do you like American food?

Does your brother speak French?

A new building is being built behind the garden.

Have you eaten your lunch?

My brother has never visited the Paris.

How long have you been staying in the US?

By this time next year, I will have been teaching Science for 15 years!

Did you come to the library yesterday?

Why are you playing? You should be talking to me!

I was having a dinner when you called!


Functions Performed By the Auxiliary Verbs


Auxiliary verbs are also called helping verbs as they append functional or grammatical significance to the phrases in which they appear. Generally, auxiliary verbs perform their functions in quite a lot of diverse means such as:


1.       By conveying tense: It gives a time-related reference, such as past, present, or future

2.       Grammatical form: It expresses how verb communicates with the flow of time

3.       Modality: It quantifies the verb

4.       Voice function: It explains the affiliation between the action articulated by a verb and the participants recognized by the verb’s subject, object, etc

5.       Adds importance to the sentence


How to Recognize the Auxiliary Verb?


You must know that each sentence has at least one verb in it and generally, there are two major types of verbs i.e. action verbs and linking verbs. The linking verbs are used to illustrate conditions while the action verbs are used to represent actions that are possible. Both these verbs can come with auxiliary verbs together with the three central ones i.e. do, be, and have.


Sometimes the action or condition arises only one time and then they’re finished. It’s at occasions like these that a number of the similar verbs that are used as auxiliary verbs are instead used as actions or linking verbs.


For example, John smashed the room door on his finger. He is in horrific ache.


In the above-mentioned example, we observe the word “is”. It is one of the most common auxiliary verbs, but since it rests single-handedly here, it is not performing as an auxiliary verb. In the very same example, “Is” is the linking verb in a sentence because it stands unaccompanied and it is not considered as an auxiliary verb.


Some Auxiliary Verb Examples


Here are a few examples of auxiliary verbs and verb phrases. In these examples, the auxiliary verb is highlighted in italic to make you understand better.


Jenny is taking Jennifer to the movies.

I have bought a fresh pair of shoes to replace the ones that were misplaced in my luggage.

We hope you don’t have a mishap on your way to university.

He was preparing a pie for dessert.

She has been working hard all day long.

Jenny doesn’t play hockey or football.

Did John bring brownies?

If she doesn’t arrive on time, she’ll have to get another flight.

Unfortunately, our lunch has been eaten by the cat.


Most Common Auxiliary Verbs


There are only three common auxiliary verbs which are: ‘have’, ‘do’ and ‘be’. In this segment, you will find in detail about how these common verbs work with some examples.



It is an exceptionally significant verb that can rest alone in all its tenses, including has, having, or had not. It is typically used to indicate ownership, and it can also be used to converse ability or explain appearance. The “have” is also an incredibly well-liked alternate for the verbs “eat” and “drink such as: ‘let’s have a drink’. The ‘have’ is always grouped up with a further verb to form an absolute verb phrase, when it is used as an auxiliary verb, making it simple to distinguish between uses.


 You can observe the differentiation in the sentence such as:


 Jenny has a big coffee stain on her blouse (‘has’ is an action verb)

Jenny has bought a new blouse to substitute the one that was spoiled earlier (‘has’ is an auxiliary verb; bought is a past participle that completes the verb phrase.

Jenny should have been more watchful (‘have is the auxiliary verb; the phrase “should have been” states time and assess Jenny’s actions.




 It can be used as an action verb that rests unaccompanied in all its tenses, including to do, does, doesn’t or did not. The ‘do’ is always coupled up with another verb to make a complete verb phrase when used as an auxiliary verb.  In some instances, it is used to include importance in the sentence such as: ‘I did eat the dinner”. The ‘do’ is frequently used to make questions, annulled clauses and in elliptical sentences; where the major verb is unstated and is absent as a result.


For example: “She plays tennis well, doesn’t she?” or “They all had lunch, but I didn’t.”




“Be” or “to be” is a significant verb that has a huge number of uses in the English language. It can be used as an action verb that rests alone in all its tenses including to be, am, is, were, was not aren’t, or weren’t. The ‘be’ is always coupled up with another verb to make an absolute verb phrase when used as an auxiliary verb. It can be singular, plural, past, present and the negative sentences are structured by affixing the word “not” in it.  For example, Jenny is chaotic.  (Here ‘is’ action verb)

Jenny is going to be taking extra classes for the rest of this month (Here ‘to be’ = auxiliary verb)


Some Important Auxiliary Verbs Resources:


Assignment Help: This website provides samples, articles and useful resources on writing auxiliary verbs.

My English Pages: It is a very useful resource to get practical and useful examples related to auxiliary verbs.

Introduction to Auxiliary Verbs: This website gives a nice and easy-to-understand view of the auxiliary verbs.

Essay Writer: For people or students looking to get detailed articles about auxiliary verbs, it is the best resource.

Soft Schools: This is a significant resource for learning auxiliary verbs with useful information.

Grammar in English: It is the very useful website which gives in-depth detail about the various forms of verbs.