The two main classes of the verb are the main verbs, also called action verbs and auxiliary verbs that are also called helping verbs. Now, the verb forms of 'be' (is, am, are, was, were), 'do' (do, does, did), and 'have' ( has, have, and had) are called non-modal auxiliary verbs. These are used before the main verb and help to make tenses, passive forms, questions, and negatives. The verbs can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must, ought to, used to, need, and dare are modals auxiliary verbs. These are used to express permission, possibility, certainty, necessity, etc. The details of auxiliary verbs with examples are given below.
The forms of the auxiliaries 'be', 'do', and 'have' are used in the formation of interrogative sentences. In this kind of sentence, the auxiliaries are placed before the subject. Such placement of auxiliary verb is called 'inversion' or 'fronting'.
- Do they like tea or coffee?
- Do you want to do this work now?
- Does he go to school regularly?
- Does it matter how much they take time to complete this work?
- Did you know when did she go?
- Did Aman go to Patna last month?
- Have we reached home?
- Have they gone for a trial match?
- Has she given me a bottle?
- Has my mother opened the door?
- Had Maya read David Copperfield?
- Had they gone to South Africa last month?
- Is John a very good football player?
- Are we waiting for the magician?
- Am I looking good?
These auxiliary verbs are also used in the formation of negative sentences with the use of 'not'.
- Ramesh has not reached home yet.
- She does not tell a lie.
- People were not listening to the speaker.
- I don't have any idea how to do this.
- I have not bought this pen.
- You didn't take a risk.
- We had not waited for the bus.
- Manya is not reading the science book.
- I am not enjoying my food.
The forms of auxiliary 'be' (is, am, are, was, and were) are used to form the continuous action or the action in progress.
- I am going to purchase a new Scotty.
- John and Ajay are doing hard labor for their examination.
- She is searching for a proper place to live.
- Children were playing in the garden.
- He was playing the guitar at the annual function of his school.
It is also used in the formation of passive
- A football is kicked by Tom.
- The wall was painted by my father.
- The trees were planted by NGO.
- The mangoes are eaten by us.
It is used to indicate a plan, arrangement, or agreement
- I am to see him tomorrow.
- We are to be married next month.
It is used to denote commands.
- You are to write your name at the top of each sheet of paper.
- Mother says you are to go market at once.
The forms of the auxiliary verb 'have' ( has, have, had) are used to form the completed action.
These are used in the formation of the perfect form of tenses.
- He has worked.
- He has been working.
- You have scored well on the test.
- You have been scoring well on the test.
- She had completed her homework.
- She had been completing her homework.
- You will have done this work.
- You will have been doing this work.
These are also used in the formation of negative and interrogative sentences.
- He has not worked.
- Has he worked?
- He has not been working.
- Has he not been working?
- You have not scored well on the test.
- Have you scored well on the test?
- You have not been scoring well on the test.
- Have you not been scoring well on the test?
- She had not completed her homework.
- Had she not completed her homework?
- She had not been completing her homework.
- Had she not been completing her homework?
- You will not have done this work.
- Will you not have done this work?
- You will not have been doing this work.
- Will you not have been doing this work?
The verbs do, does, did are to do forms of the verb.
These are used in the formation of negative and interrogative sentences in simple present and simple past tense.
- You do not bake a chocolate cake.
- Do you not bake a chocolate cake?
- He does not bake a chocolate cake.
- Does he not bake a chocolate cake?
- They did not bake a chocolate cake.
- Did they not bake a chocolate cake?
These are also used with other verbs to emphasize something or to make a statement strong.
- He does resemble his mother.
- Do sit down, please.
- I told him not to go, but he did go.
The modal verbs express the idea of ability, possibility, duty, and many more. They are used before the main verb, and with it, the form of the verb always remains in its base and original form. Modal verbs also do not change with the number and person of the subject. They are thirteen in number; can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must, ought to, used to, need, and dare.
a) Can: It is used to express capability, ability, permission, and possibility.
- He can solve this problem. (ability)
- Sohan can come here any moment. (possibility)
- Can I take your pen? (permission)
- Can you lift this box? (capacity)
b) Could: It is used to express permission, request, possibility, and ability.
- Could you please pass me that notebook? (request)
- Could I go with you? (permission)
- Could it be possible to rain?
- He could do it properly. (ability)
c) May: It is used to express possibility, permission, wish, hope, or prayer.
- May I come in? (permission)
- May you live happily and long! (wish)
- May you win the match! (hope)
- May God bless you! (pray)
- He may come tomorrow. (possibility)
d) Might: It is used to express weak possibility and purpose.
- I thought he might be at the office. (possibility)
- He might help his friend. (possibility)
e) Shall and Will: Basically, shall and will are used to denote future time. In old English, shall is used to express the first person, but in modern English, the use of shall is avoided, and the use of will is dominated at all places. Sometimes these are used as a modal verb, especially 'will'. Will is used to express certainty, determination, promise, willingness, etc.
- Tomorrow will be Saturday. (future time)
- We shall meet you again. (future time)
- I will try to do better. (promise)
- I will work hard to get success. (determination)
- I will help you with cooking. (willing)
- I will complete my project next Monday. (certainty)
f) Should: It is used to express advice, desire, expectations, obligation, probability, supposition as well as it is used as a past equivalent to shall and will.
- You should help the person in need. (advice)
- We should be polite to the children. (desire)
- He should be polite to us. (expectation)
- They should be in the classroom now. (probability)
- Children should obey their parents. (obligation)
- I told him that I should go to Mumbai the next week. ( here expressing future in past tense)
g) Would: It is used to express habit, option, desire, preference, unreal condition, determination, etc., and it is also used as a past equivalent to shall and will.
- Would you like to have tea or coffee? (option)
- My granny would narrate stories to me. (habit)
- Would that I were a king! (desire/wish)
- I would prefer death to dishonor. (preference)
- Had you worked hard, you would have passed. (unreal condition)
- He would do it whether you like it or not. ( determination)
h) Must: It is used to express advice, obligation, compulsion, necessity, determination, and prohibition.
- You must pay your fee tomorrow. (obligation)
- You must learn your lesson regularly. (emphatic advice)
- We must follow the rules of the road. (compulsion)
- You must help your friend in the hour of need. ( necessity)
- I must leave for Bombay today. (determination)
- You must not leave home without taking breakfast. (prohibition)
i) Ought to: It is used to express obligation and probability also.
- We ought to love our neighbors. (obligation)
- We ought to respect our teachers. (obligation)
- Food prices ought to come down soon. (probability)
- This book ought to be very useful. (probability)
j) Used to: It is used to express past habits.
- When I was young, I used to work for twelve hours. (affirmative sentence)
- He used not to smoke, but now he is a chain smoker. (negative sentence)
- Used she to work hard when she was a student? (interrogative sentence)
- We are not used to telling lies. (Passive voice sentence)
k) Need to: It is both a modal auxiliary verb and a normal verb. The main use of 'need to' is to express necessity or requirement.
- He needs to go to the supermarket.
- One needs to be careful.
l) Dare: It is generally used to express negative and interrogative sentences. The word denotes challenge.
- How dare you take my pen?
- She dared not do it.
- They don't dare speak to me.