|In the examples
of -ing and -ed forms which we looked at, you may have noticed
that in each case two verbs appeared:
 The film was produced in Hollywood
Auxiliary verbs are sometimes called HELPING
VERBS. This is because they may be said to "help" the main verb which comes
after them. For example, in The old lady is writing a play, the
auxiliary is helps the main verb writing by specifying that
the action it denotes is still in progress.
In this section we will give a brief account
of of each type of auxiliary verb in English. There are five types in total:
|Passive be||This is used to form passive constructions, eg.
The film was produced in Hollywood
It has a corresponding present form:
The film is
produced in Hollywood
We will return to passives later, when we look at voice.
|Progressive be||As the name suggests, the progressive
expresses action in progress:
The old lady is writing a play
It also has a past form:
The old lady was writing a play
|Perfective have||The perfective auxiliary expresses an
action accomplished in the past but retaining current relevance:
She has broken her leg
broke her leg)
Together with the progressive auxiliary, the perfective auxiliary encodes aspect, which we will look at later.
|Modals express permission,
ability, obligation, or prediction:
You can have a sweet if you like
This subclass contains only the verb do. It is used to form questions:
Do you like cheese?
to form negative statements:
I do not like cheese
and in giving orders:
Do not eat the cheese
Finally, dummy do can be used for emphasis:
I do like cheese
An important difference between auxiliary verbs and main verbs is that auxiliaries never occur alone in a sentence. For instance, we cannot remove the main verb from a sentence, leaving only the auxiliary:
|I would like a new job||~*I would a new job|
|You should buy a new car||~*You should a new car|
|She must be crazy||~*She must crazy|
Auxiliaries always occur with a main verb.
On the other hand, main verbs can occur without an auxiliary.
This is known as ellipsis -- the main verb has been ellipted from the response.
Auxiliaries often appear in a shortened
or contracted form, especially in informal contexts. For instance, auxiliary
have is often shortened to 've:
He's been in there
for ages ( = perfective auxiliary has)
She's eating her lunch ( = progressive auxiliary is)