Verbal Ability - Auxiliary Verbs


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Introduction

Auxiliary Verbs are also known as “supporting verbs”. They are often placed before the main verb to help identify the time of an action, or to confirm, deny and question an action. They are also used to convert sentences from active to passive.

These auxiliary verbs are (am/is/are/was/were, do/does/did, have/has/had, will). The “am/is/are/was/were” auxiliary verbs are collectively called be-verbs.

For Example

  • I am talking. (Main verb - talking, auxiliary verb - am)
  • I was listening. (Main verb - listening, auxiliary verb - was)
  • We have talked. (Main verb - talked, auxiliary verb - have)
  • We will listen. (Main verb - listen, auxiliary verb - will)
  • Do you listen? (Main verb - listen, auxiliary verb - Do)
  • Did you speak? (Main verb - speak, auxiliary verb - Did)
  • Has he spoken? (Main verb - spoken, auxiliary verb - Has)

Important

When there are no main verbs, auxiliary verbs perform the actions of the main verbs, as in case of existence, being, status, nature, etc.

For Example

  • I am good.
  • They are rich.
  • I was late.
  • They are not there.
  • Were they busy?

Usage of be-form auxiliary verbs with pronouns

In Simple Present

  • I am
  • He/she/it is
  • We/you/they are

1. I am excited.

Answer Main Verb

Description This verb represents the only action in the sentence, hence it will be treated as a main verb.

2. The students do not know his name.

Answer Main Verb

Description This verb represents the main action in the sentence, with the other verbs supporting the main verb by describing the time when the action took place.

3. Ajay does all his homework at night.

Answer Main Verb

Description This verb represents the only action in the sentence, hence it will be treated as a main verb.

4. How much is the price of this book?

Answer Main Verb

Description This verb represents the only action in the sentence, hence it will be treated as a main verb.

5. Does he speak fluently?

Answer Main Verb

Description This verb represents the main action in the sentence, with the other verbs supporting the main verb by describing the time when the action took place.

6. They have a couple of pets.

Answer Main Verb

Description This verb represents the main action in the sentence, with the other verbs supporting the main verb by describing the time when the action took place.

7. What do musicians do for a living?

Answer Auxiliary Verb

Description This verb is doing only the support action of mentioning the time of the event. The action is being determined by the main verb.

In Simple Past

  • I/he/she/it was
  • We/you/they were

1. The boys were in the rain.

Answer Auxiliary Verb

Description This verb is doing only the support action of mentioning the time of the event. The action is being determined by the main verb.

2. Did they see Rajesh?

Answer Auxiliary Verb

Description This verb is doing only the support action of mentioning the time of the event. The action is being determined by the main verb.

In Past Participle

  • I/we/you/they Have been
  • He/she/it Has been

In Progressive Cases

When main action words are mentioned in progressive forms (verb + “ing” form), they need auxiliary verbs. For example, in the sentence “I am talking”, the main verb is “talk”, which is in the verb + “ing” form. In these cases, auxiliary verbs are needed.

The structure is — Noun/pronoun + (corresponding auxiliary verb) + (main verb + “ing”)

  • He is playing football.
  • Rajesh was not playing football.
  • She was running.
  • We are talking.
  • You were going.
  • The relatives are coming.
  • Was he talking to you?

The verb “have-form”

The verb have, too, can be used both as an auxiliary and as a full verb. In sentences where there are no main verbs, “have-form” is used to mean a number of activities −

  • I have a book. (Ownership)
  • I had my breakfast. (Eating)
  • She has a test tomorrow. (Participate in a test)
  • We have a party every month. (Organize)

Important

When the have-form is not used as a main verb, then it is used to express actions that started in the past and have ended recently and people talking about its results or output. In such sentences, the have/has/had model will be used in the following model −

Have/has/had + verb in past participle form.

For Example

  • She has eaten her food.
  • She has not told us everything.
  • I had gone to the zoo.
  • You have broken the cup.
  • Have you seen him recently?

Some other cases where “have/has/had” is used

  • Present Perfect Progressive − He has been playing football.

  • Past Perfect Progressive − He had been playing football.

  • Present/Past Perfect − The housekeeper has/had left the job.

  • Passive voices − The work has been assigned to him (we will discuss this later in Active/Passive voice)

The verb “will”

In future time sentences

In future time sentences, the auxiliary verb “will” is used as an auxiliary verb when there is a main verb in the sentence. In case the sentence doesn’t have a main verb, the auxiliary verb “will be” is used.

  • I will go.

  • They will come.

  • They will not arrive on time.

  • Will they send me a bill?

  • She will be a certified dancer in June. (Here the word “will” is the auxiliary verb, and “be” is the main verb).

Important

“Will” is a pure auxiliary verb, i.e., you can’t use it as a main verb in any sentence. Sentences with only a subject and “will” don’t make any sense on their own.

For Example

  • I will
  • He will
  • I will not

The verb “do”

The verb “do” exists in all sentences in either the same form or the “did” form depending upon the main verb, except the sentences where the “do” form is the main verb. In the “he/she/it” category of verbs, the “do” becomes “does” and the verb loses the ‘s’.

Important

“Do” is the verb that is used to deny the happening of the action that is represented by the main verb, even if the main verb is a “do” form.

For Example

  • I wake up every day at 7.
  • I swim for an hour daily.
  • He brushes his teeth daily.

The hidden ‘do’ will make the sentences −

  • I (do) wake up every day at 7.

  • I (do) swim for an hour daily.

  • He (does) brush his teeth daily. (the “brushes” becomes “brush” as the hidden “do” become “does” in the “he/she/it” category and nouns)

Usage of “do” form as per pronouns

1. In present form

  • I/We/You/They- Do

  • He/She/It- Does

    For Example

    • I do all my work myself

    • He does all his work himself.

2. In present form for negative sentences

  • I/We/You/They- Do not

  • He/She/It- Does not

    For Example

    • I do not do all my work myself.

    • He does not do all his work himself.

3. In past form

  • I/We/You/They- Did not

  • He/She/It- Did not

    For Example

    • I did not do all my work myself.

    • He did not do all his work himself.

4. In past form for negative sentences

  • I/We/You/They- Do not

  • He/She/It- Does not

    For Example

    • I do not do all my work myself.

    • He does not do all his work himself.

Important

In question form also, “Do” form is the verb that is used to ask a question about the action that is represented by the main verb, even if the main verb is a “do” form.

For Example

In present form

  • He wakes up late on Sunday.
  • Does he wake up late on Sunday? (question form)
  • They sleep early on Sunday
  • Do they sleep early on Sunday? (question form)
  • They do all their work themselves.
  • Do they do all their work themselves? (question form)
  • He does all this work himself.
  • Does he do all this work himself? (question form)

In past form

  • He woke up late last Sunday.
  • Did he wake up late last Sunday? (question form)
  • They tried to dance properly.
  • Did they try to dance properly? (question form)
  • They did all their work myself.
  • Did they do all their work themselves? (question form)
  • He did all this work himself.
  • Did he do all this work himself? (question form)

Important

The negative form of “Do” is often used as a question to put emphasis on the speech, and also to show irritation.

For Example

  • Don’t you see that he is busy?
  • Don’t you have manners?
  • Didn’t he say these very words?
  • Doesn’t he know how to drive properly?


verbal_ability_auxiliary_verbs.htm
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