Auxiliary Verb: Definition, List and Examples of Auxiliary Verbs

What are auxiliary verbs? The auxiliary verb is a verb which is used as a way of forming the mood, tense and voice of other verbs within a sentence. This is something which is commonly seen in the English language and is essential for anyone looking to create sentences which sound grammatically correct.

Auxiliary Verb

In this section, we are going to look at the auxiliary verb in a lot more detail and give you the opportunity to start forming sentences with them that will make you sound much more like a native speaker of the language.

What is an Auxiliary Verb?

An auxiliary verb (or a helping verb) is a verb that adds functional or grammatical meaning to the clause in which it appears, such as to express tense, aspect, modality, voice, emphasis, etc. An auxiliary verb is most generally understood as a verb that “helps” another verb by adding grammatical information to it.

Auxiliary Verbs Examples

Certain auxiliaries have contracted forms, such as ‘d and ‘ll for had/ would and will/ shall.

  • Forms of the verb do (do, does, did)
  • Forms of the verb have
  • Forms of the verb will

Auxiliary Verbs

Learn the useful list of helping verbs in English with rules, example sentences, video and ESL printable worksheets.

Auxiliary Verbs List

DO

Forms of the verb do (do, does, did), when used with other verbs to enable the formation of questions, negation, emphasis, etc.

Examples:

  • Simple Present Tense: He does not play volleyball.
  • Simple Past Tense: He did not play volleyball.
  • Simple Present Tense: Does he play volleyball?
  • Simple Past Tense: Did he play volleyball?

HAVE

Forms of the verb have, when used to express perfect aspect.

Examples:

  • Present Perfect Simple Tense: He has played volleyball.
  • Past Perfect Simple Tense: He had played volleyball.
  • Present Perfect Progressive Tense: He has been playing volleyball.
  • Past Perfect Progressive Tense: He had been playing volleyball.

When used to express passive voice. Note that have is an irregular verb.

Example: The house has/had been built.

TO BE

We use this verb for compound tenses and the passive voice. Note that “be” is an irregular verb.

Examples:

  • They are teachers.
  • This was a very interesting experience to them.

When used to express progressive aspect.

Examples:

  • Present Progressive Tense: He is watching TV.
  • Past Progressive Tense: He was watching TV.
  • Present Perfect Progressive: He has been watching TV.
  • Past Perfect Progressive: He had been watching TV.

When used to express passive voice.

  • Example: A letter will be written.

WILL

Forms of the verb will, when used form the future tenses.

Auxiliary Verbs | Infographic

Auxiliary verbs list in English with example sentences.

Auxiliary VerbsPin

Auxiliary VerbsPin

Last Updated on February 27, 2023

15 thoughts on “Auxiliary Verb: Definition, List and Examples of Auxiliary Verbs”

  1. Thank you! It’s so helpful to be able to access this lovely chart which is easy for the students to read and doesn’t have too much info. Great work 🙂

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