Thursday, 28 February 2008

Auxiliary Verbs....Help!

Auxiliary...what's that? Well, it's Latin again. It's from auxilium which means 'help' so these auxiliary verbs are help verbs.

And what do they help? In English they help to form different kinds of sentences; perhaps a negative sentence or a question or a Present Continuous...

So, what are these strange mysterious "auxiliary verbs"?

To do, to be, to have.

Hang on a minute, you know them already: I do my homework, he is on holiday, I have a Ferrari...

That's all fine BUT these verbs have a second job in English as auxiliary verbs. And when they are doing this job they don't have their usual meaning; they only have a function.


I have a Ferrari.
I have seen a Ferrari.

In the first sentence 'have' means have but in the second 'have' doesn't mean anything; it is only there to form the Present Perfect tense.

So, 'to have' helps to form the Present Perfect:
you read English is Easy?
We haven't met before.
I have known John for years

'To be' helps to form the Present Continuous:

I am reading English is Easy.
Is she watching TV?
They aren't listening

And 'do' is for questions and negatives in the Present Simple and Past Simple:

Do you read English is Easy every week?
I don't live in
New York

Did you read English is Easy last week?
He didn't eat his breakfast.

Auxiliary verbs? Easy!!

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