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From Wikipedia

Auxiliary verb

In linguistics, an auxiliary (also called helping verb, helper verb, auxiliary verb, or verbal auxiliary, abbreviated ) is a verb functioning to give further semantic or syntactic information about the main or full verb following it. In English, the extra meaning provided by an auxiliary verb alters the basic meaning of the main verb to make it have one or more of the following functions: passive voice, progressive aspect, perfect aspect, modality, dummy, or emphasis.

In English, every clause has a finite verb which consists of a main verb (a non-auxiliary verb) and optionally one or more auxiliary verbs, each of which is a separate word. Examples of finite verbs include write (no auxiliary verb), have written (one auxiliary verb), and have been written (two auxiliary verbs). Many languages, including English, feature some verbs that can act either as auxiliary or as main verbs, such as be("I am writing a letter" vs "I am a postman") and have ("I have written a letter" vs "I have a letter"). In the case of be, it is sometimes ambiguous whether it is auxiliary or not; for example, "the ice cream was melted" could mean either "something melted the ice cream" (in which case melt would be the main verb) or "the ice cream was mostly liquid" (in which case be would be the main verb).

The primary auxiliary verbs in English are to be and to have; other major ones include shall, will, may and can.

Functions of the English auxiliary verb

Passive voice

The auxiliary verb be is used with a past participle to form the passive voice; for example, the clause "the door was opened" implies that someone (or something) opened it, without stating who (or what) it was. Because many past participles are also stative adjectives, the passive voice can sometimes be ambiguous; for example, "at 8:25, the window was closed" can be a passive-voice sentence meaning, "at 8:25, someone closed the window", or a non-passive-voice sentence meaning "at 8:25, the window was not open". Perhaps because of this ambiguity, the verb get is sometimes used colloquially instead of be in forming the passive voice, "at 8:25, the window got closed."

Progressive aspect

The auxiliary verb be is used with a present participle to form the progressive aspect; for example, "I am riding my bicycle" describes what the subject is doing at the given (in this case present) time without indicating completion, whereas "I ride my bicycle" is a temporally broader statement referring to something that occurs habitually in the past, present, and future. Similarly, "I was riding my bicycle" refers to the ongoing nature of what I was doing in the past, without viewing it in its entirety through completion, whereas "I rode my bicycle" refers either to a single past act viewed in its entirety through completion or to a past act that occurred habitually.

Perfect aspect

The auxiliary verb have is used with a past participle to indicate perfect aspect: a current state experienced by the subject as a result of a past action or state. For example, in "I have visited Paris" the current state is one of having a Paris visit in one's past, while the past action is visiting Paris. The past action may be ongoing, as in "I have been studying all night". An example involving the result of a past state rather than a past action is "I have known that for a long time", in which the past state still exists (I still know it) along with the resultant state (I am someone who knew that at some past time). An example involving the result of a past state that no longer exists is "I have felt bad in the past, but not recently". The alternative use of had instead of have places the perspective from which the resultant state is viewed in the past: "By 1985 I had visited Paris" describes the 1985 state of having a prior Paris visit.


Modality means the attitude of the speaker to the action or state being expressed, in terms of either degree of probability ("The sun must be down already", "The sun should be down already", "The sun may be down already", "The sun might be down already"), ability ("I can speak French"), or permission or obligation ("You must go now", "You should go now", "You may go now"). See modal verb and English modal verb.


Do, does, or did plays a dummy (place-filling) role in transforming simple (one-word) verbs into questions or negatives: "I go" → "Do I go?", "I do not go"; "He goes" → "Does he go?", "He does not go"; "I went" → "Did I go?", "I did not go".


The auxiliaries do, does, and did are also used for emphasis in positive declarative statements in which the verb otherwise contains only one word: "I do like this shirt!", "He does like this shirt", "I did like that shirt".

Properties of the English auxiliary verb


Auxiliaries take not (or n't) to form the negative, e.g. cannot (can’t), will not (won’t), should not (shouldn’t), etc. In certain tenses, in questions, when a contracted auxiliary verb can be used, the position of the negative particle n't moves from the main verb to the auxiliary: cf. Does it not work? and Doesn't it work?.


Auxiliaries invert to form questions:

  • "You will come."
  • "Will you come?"


Auxiliaries can appear alone where a main verb has been omitted, but is understood:

  • "I will go, but she will not."

The verb do can act as a pro-VP (or occasionally a pro-verb) to avoid repetition:

  • "John never sings in the kitchen, but Mary does."
  • "John never sings in the kitchen, but Mary does in the shower."

Tag questions

Auxiliaries can be repeated at the end of a sentence, with negation added or removed, to form a tag question. In the event that the sentence did not use an auxiliary verb, a dummy auxiliary (a form

Irregular verb

In contrast to regular verbs, irregular verbs are those verbs that fall outside the standard patterns of conjugation in the languages in which they occur. The idea of an irregular verb is important in second language acquisition, where the verb paradigms of a foreign language are learned systematically, and exceptions listed and carefully noted. Thus for example a school French textbook may have a section at the back listing the French irregular verbs in tables. Irregular verbs are often the most commonly used verbs in the language.

In linguistic analysis, the concept of an irregular verb is most likely to be used in psycholinguistics, and in first-language acquisition studies, where the aim is to establish how the human brain processes its native language. One debate among 20th-century linguists revolved around the question of whether small children learn all verb forms as separate pieces of vocabulary or whether they deduce forms by the application of rules. Since a child can hear a verb for the first time and immediately reuse it correctly in a different tense which he or she has never heard, it is clear that the brain does work with rules, but irregular verbs must be processed differently.

Historical linguists rarely use the category irregular verb. Since most irregularities can be explained historically, these verbs are only irregular when viewed synchronically, not when seen in their historical context.

When languages are being compared informally, one of the few quantitative statistics which are sometimes cited is the number of irregular verbs. These counts are not particularly accurate for a wide variety of reasons, and academic linguists are reluctant to cite them. But it does seem that some languages have a greater tolerance for paradigm irregularity than others.

Prefixed verbs

In English, to withhold conjugates exactly like to hold, and in Spanish, detener ("to detain") conjugates exactly like tener ("to have"). In each case, it is questionable if the compound verb and the main verb are both irregular verbs, or as a single irregular verb, with an optional prefix. The question is compounded by the fact that it is not always predictable if the compound conjugates the same as the base. In Spanish, bendecir ("to bless") conjugates almost exactly like decir ("to say"), but there are significant differences in a few tenses that are impossible to foresee.

Irregular in spelling only

For purposes of psycholinguistics and first language acquisistion studies, only irregularities in the spoken form are relevant. However in the foreign language classroom, the focus can be on the written form, and here irregularities of spelling are equally important.

Some verbs are irregular only in their spelling, but not in their pronunciation. For example, in Spanish, the verb rezar ("to pray") is conjugated in the present subjunctive as rece, reces, rece, etc. The substitution of "c" for "z" does not affect the pronunciation. It is strictly a matter of orthography and can be perfectly predicted (if one knew the rules of Spanish pronunciation and orthography but had never seen the verb "rezar" before, one would still know that the verb would have to be spelled with a "c" in the present subjunctive). Therefore, this verb is not considered to be irregular. Another example of a verb similar to rezar is pagar - to pay. In this verb, g always changes to a gu before an e.

English has similar cases; the verb "pay" sounds regular: "I pay", "I paid", and "I have paid" are all pronounced as expected. But the spelling is irregular and that cannot be perfectly predicted—for example, "pay" and "lay" turn into "paid" and "laid", but "sway" and "stay" turn into "swayed" and "stayed".

From Yahoo Answers

Question:What are they and how are they different...I do not understand =\

Answers:1. Linking Verbs. - Linking verbs do not show a physical action, there is not movement. -They show that two things are equivalent, kind of like an equal (=) sign in math. -For example: She is pretty. Is was the linking verb in the sentence because it is showing that she (subject) and pretty are the same thing. -Many more examples at website listed below. 2. Helping Verbs -are secondary verbs in a sentence. -Are 23 of them, here is the list: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been, has, have, had, do, does, did, can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, must. -often used when the main verb has -ing at the end of it, but is not the only use of them. - example: She was telling a story. Was is the helping verb and telling is the main verb. -example: he could win a prize. Could is the helping verb and win is the main verb. -more examples on website below 3. Action verbs -shows a action, may be physical or mental. -ask yourself: can you _____ ( fill in verb of sentence). If you can, it is an action verb. -example: she wants a doll ----> Can you WANT? yes--> it is an action verb -example: Joe swam 4 laps. ----> Can you SWIM? yes --> it is an action verb.

Question:I have to identify whether the verb is transitive,intransitive,linking, or helping. Please help. 1.The vegetarian burger tasted like salted cardboard.(tasted) 2.Her brother likes bananas, but she likes peaches. (likes) 3.The music sounded out of tune(sounded) 4.After the chef completed the demonstration,she left the students to clean the kitchen. (completed)

Answers:Here are some hints: 1. If a verb is used by itself, then it is not a helping verb. If a verb phrase has more than one verb in it, then, most likely, the last one is the main verb and the other verbs are helping verbs. 2. A linking verb expresses being. "Is," "are," and "were" are examples of linking verbs. Some verbs can act as either action or linking verbs, for example, the word "sound." If you said, "That sounds interesting," then you would be using "sounds" as a linking verb, because what you really mean is "That is interesting." You are still expressing being. 3. If a verb is an action verb and there is a direct object, then that verb is a transitive verb. 4. If a verb is an action verb and the subject is receiving the action instead of doing the action (for example, "The music was played by the musician"), then that verb is a transitive verb. 5. If an action verb does not have a direct object, and if the subject is not receiving the action, then that verb is intransitive. So, let's look at your first sentence. "Tasted" is the only verb, so it's not a helping verb. It is used to express being, though. The sentence means that the burger is like salted cardboard. The sentence does not mean that the burger opened up its mouth to taste something, and the burger's method of tasting was like salted cardboard. Since "tasted" expresses being, it's a linking verb. Second sentence: "Likes" is used by itself both times, so it is not a helping verb. It is not expressing being. (the sentence does not mean that "Her brother is bananas" or that "she is peaches"). "Likes" does have a direct object, though. The first time, "bananas" is the direct object, and the second time, "peaches" is the direct object. That means it must be transitive. I think you can figure out number three by using my example in hint #2. Sentence four: "Completed" is used by itself, not as part of a longer verb phrase, so it is not a helping verb. It does not express being. (The sentence is not saying that the chef was the demonstration.) "Completed" does have a direct object, though ("demonstration"), so it must be transitive.


Answers:Yes they are actions like the answer above but here is a little more on them. ::: * Action verbs can also be actions you can't see such as: Sue thought about pets. She wanted a puppy. * Action verbs are time-telling verbs. They also tell when something takes place. Examples: My dog runs faster than yours. (present tense) Yesterday he ran around the block. (past tense) Tomorrow he will run in a race. (future tense) * Actions verbs main be used alone as the main verb of a sentence; as in: My kitten fell into the pond. Or the action verb may use a helping verb; as in: If you get too close to the edge, you will fall too. So, do you think you understand Action Verbs? Try taking our little test to check your knowledge! Or learn more about Helping and Main Verbs or State-of-being Verbs. check out website below for more help.

Question:The directions read: In the sentence below, circle all the main verbs. Underline helping verbs. (Sentences may have more than one verb) The sentence: Hou's horse is learning acrobatics so that she can become a trapeze artist. (end sentence) I know that can should be underlined and become should be circled, but what about is and learning? I'm not sure I didn't think so but I want to be 100% correct! Thank You

Answers:Yes, 'is' would be a helping verb in that sentence. Any time you come across a present progressive (-ing), there will more than likely be a helping verb somewhere near.

From Youtube

helping verbs and main verbs :This short video shows how helping verbs are used with main verbs.

THIS IS VERB :This video will help the pupils to understand and be familiar with the term verb (action words). They might know the action but they also might not know that it is called verb. The reason I choose this song is because the pupils might be familiar with this song as it is a quite popular song by THE SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHTER, entitled There She Goes. PRINCIPLE:ENVIRONMENT BASED LEARNING