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Auxiliary Verbs "Be," "Do," "Have"

An auxiliary verb helps the main (full) verb and is also called a "helping verb." With auxiliary verbs, you can write sentences in different tenses, moods, or voices. Auxiliary verbs are: be, do, have, will, shall, would, should, can, could, may, might, must, ought, etc.

  • I think I should study harder to master English.
  • I am having a cup of coffee.
  • You have been practicing hard.
  • It was written by a petitioner.
  • You may choose what you like.
The verb forms of be, do, and have can be used either as a main (full) verb or an auxiliary verb. The following examples show these verbs used as auxiliary verbs.

1. "Be" as an auxiliary verb

a. Used in progressive sentences:

  • I am taking a bath.
  • She is preparing dinner for us.
  • They have been studying all night.
b. Used in passive sentences:

  • I was given a free meal.
  • He was seen by fans at the airport.
  • This song has been sung by all nations.
2. "Do" as an auxiliary verb

a. Used in negative sentences:

  • I do not know the truth.
  • She doesn’t agree with me.
  • They didn’t arrive here yet.
b. Used in questions:

  • Do you want to have another one?
  • Did he finish his homework?
  • Do we need to keep going straight?
3. "Have" as an auxiliary verb

a. Used in perfect sentences:

  • I have been following you for a mile.
  • We have done a lot so far.
  • She had been queen of the town.

[Quiz 19.1]

Identify all auxiliary verbs in the following paragraph.

I have just heard that you didn’t attend the meeting yesterday. Did you have a conflict with that time? I must ask that you explain the reason.


[Quiz 19.2]

Which of the following sentences does not show any auxiliary verbs?

1) I didn’t have any reason to go there.
2) Have we practiced this song enough?
3) Three seats have been reserved for us.
4) I am a professor in the economics department.

View Answers


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