what is auxiliary verb?

auxiliary verb

what is auxiliary verb!

Auxiliary verbs/Helping verb

Auxiliary means helping the main verb that’s why it is also called helping verbs. There are two types of auxiliary verbs, primary and modal.

The primary auxiliary verb is, haven’t, and don’t.

Ten modal auxiliary verbs are can, could, will, would, should, may, might, might, must, ought. A verb that expresses the meaning of its own is called a verb with full meaning or a principal verb.

  • “I lost my umbrella”

This sentence has merely helped another verb lose to from its perfect tense, and it is, therefore, an Auxiliary verb.

Primary auxiliary

There are three types of primary auxiliary all three take part in the formation of various grammatical construction and carry very little meaning themselves.


We use the primary auxiliary ‘DO’ for the present simple and past simple.  Generally, we only use it in question and negative sentences.

For example, we say

  • “Do you say so?”
  • “I do not say so.”
  • “They do say so.”

In sentence 1, the verb does help to form a question.

In sentence 2, the verb does help to form a question.

In sentence 3, the verb does help to emphasize the assertion.

  • “They do their work well”

In this sentence, the do express the meaning of its own, viz. to act.

The verb do is also used as a substitute for other Verbs, except be; as

  • He works more than you do (work).
  • I chose my wife as she did (chose) her wedding gown.


We use to have to form the perfect tenses. But each perfect tenses have a different use for example

We use present perfect when we thinking about the time before and up to now, we use the past perfect when we thinking about the t before and up to a point in the past. We use the future perfectly when we are thinking about the time before and up to a point in the future.

  • I have a camera.
  • I have to go.

In sentence 1, the verb has expressed a meaning if it owns, namely that of possession.

In sentence 2, the verb has us used with the infinitive to express necessity or compulsion.


Be auxiliary verbs has seven conjunctions:

Am, are, is, was been, being, were.

That only conjunction used in an auxiliary capacity have been included the primary ‘be’ take part in the formation of progressive verb phrases, as well as the formation of passive verb phrases

As an Auxiliary verb_

  • I am loved.
  • He was loved.
  • I am writing.
  • He was writing.

In sentences 1 and 2, the verb helps to form the passive voice. The passive voice consists of the auxiliary be followed by the past participle.

In sentences 3 and 4, the verb helps to form continuous tenses.

The verb be is also used as a verb of incomplete predication; as,

  • He is honest.
  • He was absent.

Modal Auxiliary verbs

Modal verbs are a kind of auxiliary verbs. It is a small class of auxiliary verbs that are used to express modality. Modal phrases are used to express the same things as modals but are a combination of auxiliary verbs and prepositions to facilitate the main verb, permission, possibility, and ability. When used with the main verb, the modal verb does not end with St for third-person singular they have a different form of past tense.

Modal auxiliary verbs in English are:

  • Shall
  • Should
  • Will
  • Would
  • May
  • Might
  • Can
  • Could
  • Must
  • Ought

Use of SHALL

Shall be used for forming the future tense of another verb when the subject is wrong or we don’t have a future tense of it’: own. “We shall see each other tomorrow.”. “I shall call from the school.”. “Some time verb shall express the meaning of its own, namely that of determination when we form an interrogative sentence shall is used to politely seek the listener or opinion about a future decision, as in. “where shall we begin?”


  • We shall offer the prayers.
  • We shall not occupy his property.
  • Shall I boil the eggs?
  • Shall we not spoil the grass?
  • we shall not pluck the flowers.
  • Shall we not be catching the butterflies?

Use of Will:

“Will” and negative firm “will not” or won’t is a modal auxiliary verb. We can use “will” to talk about the future. Will is particularly versatile, having several different meanings with first-person, “will’ is used for willingness or determination. Will is also used to express capacity or capability. It is used to express persistence.

When the subject is placed after “if” and “will’ after the subject, it indicates the subject’s willingness.


  • I will take this duty
  • I will come to your house.
  • We will cross the river, however deep it may be.
  • If she will marry, he will try to build a house.
  • He will go tomorrow.

Use of would:

Would is an auxiliary verb that has many uses, some of which even express the present tense. We use would mainly talk about the past. And to express something that has not happened at the time we are talking about mean to show possible future events.

  • “He left 50 seconds late, unaware that the delay would save his life.”

We use would foe other functions, such as to make polite requests, to show repetitive past action, to show wish and desire to show choice, to ask questions.


  • She said that she would go to Karachi.
  • I replied that I would play.
  • If I should find your coat, I will be sure to call you.
  • I would like to see this film.
  • We would like to invite her to the party.
  • You should brush your teeth after every meal.
  • In London, he met the woman that he would one day marry.

Use of May:

We use May to ask for permission or to give permission. May are more polite than can or could when asking for permission.

We can use ‘may not’ to refuse permission but it is formal. May are used to speculating about past actions. We use May when we are not sure about something in the present or future.


  • May borrow the bus tomorrow?
  • You may go now
  • He may travel for free
  • Your comment may have offended some people.
  • You may not leave the room without permission.
  • May I have some water, please?
  • You may open the window if you become hot.

Use of Might:

Might is a modal verb deal with situations that are speculative or did not actually happen, might modal verb most commonly used. It is often used in conditional. This can be used as a means of highlighting two different possible outcomes or courses of action we use that might suggest a possible action or situation to another person. We use might most often to refer to weak possibilities.


  • Ali might be stuck in traffic.
  • She might have ten cars.
  • We still might make our flight if we leave right away!
  • Might we go to the park this afternoon, father?
  • Sure, you might be able to make money quickly like that, but you’re inevitably going to run into difficulties down the line?

Use of can:

“Can” is used to express possibility requests. It is used to express someone able to do something. It is used to make a suggestion it is used in auxiliary function to express permission politely. It is used in a question to ask somebody to do something and request in an informal way.


  • He can work this sum.
  • I can swim, can you?
  • Can you open this box?
  • Can I have the bill?
  • You can’t have any dessert until you’ve finished your dinner.
  • You can do whatever you want.
  • I can lift this box.
  • You can go now.

Use of could:

Could commonly use in conditional sentences as a conditional form of ‘can’. Could use as a modal auxiliary in verbal phrases with present or future time reference, used to politely ask for permission to do something. It is also used to suggest something. We often used could in a question to ask somebody to do something.

Could is more formal and polite than can we use could make a general statement about the past.


  • Could you pass me the salt, please?
  • Why did you do that? You could have broken your leg.
  • It could be very cold there in winter.
  • Where are they? They could have got lost.
  • Could I ask questions, please?
  • I could swim when I was 5 years old.
  • Ali could go to jail for stealing the money
  • Mary couldn’t possibly go to jail for the crime.

Use of should:

Should is a modal auxiliary verb should express less possibility than shall. It Should is the only auxiliary verb that can be used after lest. Used to express future conditions. Used in a polite or tentative expression of opinion. Used to give advice or make recommendations. Should be used with pronouns of all the three persons to talk about duty and obligation. Should is the past tense of shall in indirect speech.


  • She should wash them, but there wasn’t time.
  • Should he buy a car?
  • Should wear my new dress?
  • I should think they will be pleased.
  • If I should die tomorrow if you should be late.
  • Watch and pray lest you should fall into temptation.
  • I should be able to meet peter.
  • Should it rain, we will cancel the trip.
  • I should be at work now.

Use of must:

Must is an auxiliary verb. The modal verb must is used to express obligation and necessity. Must mean that the obligation to do something comes from the speaker. We can use a must talk about the present or the future. We cannot use a must talk about the past. We use ‘have to’ to talk about the past. We use must not say that something is not permitted or allowed.


  • We must pay taxes.
  • John, you must come with me.
  • That must do until we get another one.
  • I must beg your indulgence.
  • I must, and I will go.
  • You must visit us soon.
  • Passenger must not talk to the driver.
  • Must you be so rude to my parents?

Ought to:

Ought to is a type of auxiliary modal verb used to express obligation and duty through advises the use of ought to is similar to should, but it is much less frequent. Ought to is rarely used in questions and negatives. When it is, it is confined mainly to formal styles. Ought is different from other auxiliary verbs. Ought to expresses ideas such as duty, a necessity. It is not as forceful as a must, but it is stronger than should. Ought generally points to present and future time. It can point to past time. When it is followed by the perfect infinitive.


  • You ought to be punctual.
  • You ought to try it sometime.
  • We ought to eat lots of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • They ought to have more parks in the city center.
  • We ought to leave now.
  • I ought not to have said those things to her.
  • Ought we make such a sacrifice for the benefit of future generations?

Modal Verbs – Video Lesson

Infographics (Auxiliary Verb) 

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use of modal verb rules

Auxiliary Verb Examples Sentences

  1. Do you like ice cream?
  2. Can you play the guitar?
  3. Will you come to the party?
  4. Should we go to the beach or the park?
  5. May I borrow your pen for a moment?
  6. Might it rain later today?
  7. Must you always be so critical?
  8. Would you like another cup of tea?
  9. Could you please turn down the volume on the TV?
  10. Shall we meet at the restaurant or the movie theater?
  11. Have you seen the new Star Wars movie?
  12. Has she finished her homework yet?
  13. Had they already left by the time you got there?
  14. Am I supposed to bring a gift to the party?
  15. Is he coming to the meeting today?
  16. Are they going on vacation this summer?
  17. Was she wearing a blue dress at the party?
  18. Were you at the concert last night?
  19. Be careful crossing the street!
  20. Been to Paris before?
  21. Being a doctor is a challenging but rewarding profession.
  22. Do you know how to fix a leaky faucet?
  23. Did you see that movie last weekend?
  24. Doing yoga every day can help reduce stress.
  25. Has he ever traveled to Asia?
  26. Have you ever tried sushi before?
  27. Having a good sense of humor can help in many situations.
  28. Will you be attending the conference next month?
  29. Would you prefer the chicken or the fish?
  30. Can I borrow your car for the weekend?
  31. Could you please pass the salt?
  32. Shall we order pizza or Chinese food for dinner?
  33. Should we start working on the project now or later?
  34. May I ask you a personal question?
  35. Might I suggest a different approach?
  36. Must we finish this task by tomorrow?
  37. Do you need any help with that project?
  38. Does he speak any foreign languages?
  39. Did you hear the latest news about the stock market?
  40. Having a positive attitude can make a big difference in life.
  41. Am I allowed to bring my dog to the park?
  42. Is it possible to learn a new language quickly?
  43. Are you going to the gym later?
  44. Was the party fun last night?
  45. Were there any issues during the presentation?
  46. Be quiet, I’m trying to concentrate!
  47. Been to the Grand Canyon? It’s a breathtaking sight.
  48. Being a teacher is a noble profession.
  49. Do you believe in ghosts?
  50. Did you enjoy your vacation in Hawaii?

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