What are Auxiliary Verbs?

what is a verb

The Secret Helpers: Unveiling Auxiliary Verbs

Verbs are the essence of speech. These are the verbs that create motion and move the sentences forward expressing events and even states of being. But within the vast realm of verbs lies a group that works behind the scenes. 

As language learners, being aware of commonly used grammar structures is crucial to communicate effectively. In this article, we will be covering the main subtypes of the verb class - and its auxiliary verbs. These spectrum architects, silently, as if of their own accord, come together with nouns and adjectives to accentuate sentences that stand proudly embodying vivid meanings and connotations.

This article's purpose is to discover the auxiliary verbs world so that you can identify them, understand their functions, and use them appropriately in your texts both writing and communication. Then, by examining how auxiliary verbs combine with the main verb, you will be able to make it to your verb mastery successfully!


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What is a Verb?

A verb is a group of words that tells us what is happening, what is presented, or the action of an entity. Action verbs are the main providers of images and show exactly what someone does physically or mentally. e.g., run, think, dream). Subjects may think of verbs as a representation of action, but the verbs can also be used to mark the state of a being. e.g., mentioned (he speaks, observe, see), or happenings (what he knows, the facts) or the. e.g., happen, occur).

Auxiliary Verbs: Yet Invisible Architects

The main purpose of these verbs is not to show the action or some state but to connect it with other elements in the sentence. Thus, their main role is not to be grammatical objects, but more of a help to the main verb as it provides further details. 

  • Tense Tamers: Secondary verbs like "has, "have," "had," "will," "would," "can," "could," and other helpful verbs make it possible to the time (past, present and future). For example, in "She has eaten breakfast," "has" makes up part of the auxiliary verb that the present perfect tense of this sentence can be underlined.
  • Mood Mavens: Auxiliary verbs can always add extra flavor to a certain action, like how worried somebody is in a particular situation. "He knows French" is used to depict ability shown by "can" and "She should go now" is used to indicate obligation by "must".
  • Voice Sculptors: The combo of auxiliary and main verbs can furnish voice (active or passive) for the sentence. Active Voice stresses the subject issue of accomplishing the deed (the action). 

Let us solidify our understanding with some examples showcasing how to identify auxiliary verbs: 

  • Simple Sentence (Present Tense): "The birds delight us with their musically mellifluous voice" (Main verb: delight with their musically mellifluous voice).
  • Sentence with Auxiliary Verb (Past Tense): "We will have a picnic tomorrow". (Main Verb: Planned; Auxiliary: would have had).
  • Passive Voice: 'The cake was backed by Mary' (Verb phrase: the cake was baked; Passive voice with auxiliary verb was tied to the subject)
  • Modal Verb: "She was as fluent in French as she is in her native language" (Main verb: speak; Auxiliary verb: was)

Why Auxiliary Verbs Matter?

Auxiliary verbs are indispensable for crafting correct sentence structures that are meaningful and accurately encompass the intended information. They serve to the variations and adaptability of the language, helping to specify actions and persona across the tenses, moods, and voices.

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However, the article outlines the basic concepts, but in reality, usage of verbs takes continuous practice, and knowing verb conjugations, tense, and moods, it is possible to master them. Whereas most English programs just teach by rote learnings, 98Percentile’s English classes take a systematic method of grammar that goes as far as explaining the auxiliary verbs and their uses. 

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: Can there be a usage of “a helping verb” as a substitution for the main verb?

Ans: Yes! Verbs like "can", "may" and "must" can appear in a phrase, especially if they are used in a command or a question with no main verb. 

Q2: Are helping words necessary always?

Ans: No, not every verb phrasal group requires helping verbs. 

Q3: Can helping verbs ever be transitive?

Ans: No! Helping verbs assist the main verbs, so they do not carry the action and are not classified as transitive or intransitive.

Q4: How can I tell if a verb is both transitive and intransitive?
Ans: Look for context! Some verbs change based on the situation (e.g., "sleep" - intransitive, "sleep the baby" - transitive).

Q5. Can I schedule a complimentary class with 98thPercentile?

Ans: Yes! You can get up to 2 weeks of FREE trial classes with 98thPercentile. 

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