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.
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.
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.