Auxiliary Verbs | Meaning, Useful List & Examples in English

Auxiliary Verbs! Learn the definition, auxiliary verb examples & how to use them in an English sentence and the difference between auxiliary verbs and full verbs with ESL printable infographic.

Auxiliary Verbs Meaning

An Auxiliary Verb (or Helping Verb) is a verb that changes or helps another verb. Auxiliary means “extra” or “different”. Auxiliary verbs like “do” can be used to make a question. These verbs are usually used with other verbs. Auxiliary verbs are also called helping verbs.

Auxiliary Verb Examples

  • am writing a book.
  • He has done the work.
  • We will be there in a minute.
  • Would you help me with this homework?
  • Can you open the door?
  • Did you visit New York last holiday?
  • Do you like chocolate?
  • They must get there on time.
  • Does Tom write all his own reports?
  • The secretaries haven’t written all the letters yet.
  • Terry is writing an e-mail to a client at the moment.

Auxiliary Verbs List

This is a list of English auxiliary verbs:

  • Be (am, are, is, was, were, being),
  • Can
  • Could
  • Do (did, does, doing)
  • Have (had, has, having)
  • May
  • Might
  • Must
  • Shall
  • Should
  • Will
  • Would

Helping Verb or Full Verb?

To distinguish a full verb from an auxiliary verb, you can carry out the following test:

If the verb:

  • Allows subject-auxiliary inversion
  • Can take “not” in the negative form,
    => Then it is an auxiliary verb.

Examples:

You are going to travel to London.
Are you going to travel to London?
You are not going to travel to London.
are is an auxiliary verb.

You see what I mean.
*See you what I mean.
*You see not what I mean.
see is not an auxiliary verb; it is a full verb. 
(The asterisk * indicates that the sentence is not grammatical.)

Auxiliary Verb in English | Infographic

Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary Verbs | Meaning, Useful List & Examples in English 1

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