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June 27, 2014

Important Rules of Auxiliary Verbs in English


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An Auxiliary is a helping verb. When a verb consists of more than one part, the first part is the auxiliary. For example,
  • He is reading a book
  • I have done my work.

The following is the list of auxiliaries in English

  1. Be (is / are / am / was / were)
  2. Have, Has, Had
  3. Do, Does, Did
  4. May, Might
  5. Can, Could
  6. Shall, Should
  7. Will, Would
  8. Must
  9. Ought to
  10. Used to
  11. Need
  12. Dare
Now, lets have a look at them in detail

Be :

  • The auxiliary 'Be' is used,
      • to form continuous tenses
        • Eg : He is reading a novel
      • To form passive voices
        • Eg : A letter is written by him
  • Be followed by an infinitive is used to indicate a plan, arrangement etc., and to denote a command.
    • Eg :
      • I am to see him tomorrow
      • You are to complete the work before you leave.
  • Be followed by a perfect infinitive is used to indicate an arrangement that was made but not carried out.
    • Eg : We were to have gone to Delhi yesterday.

Have, Has , Had

  • Have is used
    • to form perfect tenses
      • Eg : He has just left the room.
  • Have followed by an infinitive is used to indicate an obligation.
    • Eg : We have to respect our elders.
  • In questions and negatives 'have' when used with do / does / did refers to a general situation and when used without do / does / did refers to a particular occasion. 
    • Eg :
      • Have you to get up early today ?
      • Do you have to get up early every day ?
      • We have not to go to school today 
      • We do not have to go to school on Sundays.

Do, Does, Did

  • to form questions and negatives
    • Eg :
      • Does she come ?
      • I did not bring the book.
      • Do you know him ?
  • To give an emphasis in an affirmative
    • Eg :
      • You do look pale
      • I did see him yesterday
  • to avoid the repetition of a verb
    • Eg 
      • She sings well and so does her sister
      • You like tea and so do I
      • He does not know driving, but I do.
  • to make a request more polite
    • Eg : Please do come with me to the office

May, Might / Can, Could

  • 'Can' refers to ability and 'May' refers to permission
    • Eg :
      • I can do this work alone
      • Can you lift this box
      • You may go home now
      • May I use your scooter for a day
    • Note : Can I / Could I... also used for permission in informal English
  • 'May' with affirmative sentences and 'Can' with questions and negatives refers to possibility.
    • Eg :
      • It may rain today
      • He may be at home now
      • Can it be true ?
      • It cannot be true
    • Note :
      • It cannot be true means it is impossible
      • It may not be true means it is improbable
  • 'May' is used to convey good wishes :
    • Eg : May god bless the couple.
  • 'Might' and 'Could' are used as the past equivalents of may and can.
    •  Eg
      • The teacher told that they might go home.
      • He could walk 10 miles an hour when he was young.
    • Note : To refer something done in the past, was able to / were able to is used. 
      • Eg : I was able to solve all the problems yesterday.
  •  'Might' is also used in present tense to show possibility of less degree.
    • Eg : He might be at home now.
  • 'Might have' is used to express the annoyance of the speaker over something happened. 
    • Eg : You might have come to the class yesterday.

Will, Would, Shall, Should

  • 'Will' with second and third persons and shall with first person denote simple future.
    • Eg :
      • I shall meet you next week.
      • My uncle will come tomorrow
  • 'Will' with first person and 'Shall' with second and third persons denote a promise, determination, threat, certainty etc.
    • Eg :
      • I will give you the notes tomorrow
      • We will succeed at any cost
      • You shall not come to the class without the books
      • He shall be punished for his misdeeds.
  • Shall is used in questions to know the intention (desire) of the other party :
    • Eg 
      • Shall I open the door ?
      • Which pen shall I buy ?
  • 'Should' with all persons indicates an obligation.
    • Eg :
      • We should obey the teachers
      • You should bring the notes tomorrow
  • Will you please / Would you please / Would you mind are used to make requests more polite.
  • Would have / Could have / Might have / Should have ... are used to refer something not materialized.
    • Eg :
      • If you had worked hard, you would have passed
      • If you had come into the hall, you could have met him
      • If the driver had been careful, the accident might have been avoided.
      • You should helped him

Must / Ought to :

  • Must is used to refer a compulsory obligation, ought is used to refer a normal obligation.
    • Eg :
      • We must obey the rules
      • You ought to love your neighbors.
  • Must not is used to show prohibition.
  • Need not is used to show absence of necessity
    • Eg 
      • You must not bring the books inside the Examination hall.
      • You need not bring the books to the class.

Used to :

  • Used to is used to refer a past habit :
    • Eg 
      • Last year I used to work till 12:00 PM on my blog

Need, Dare :

  • Need / Dare when used without do / does / did it is followed by an infinitive without 'to' and when used with do / does / did, it is followed by an infinitive with 'to'
    • Eg :
      • You need not go out now
      • I do not need to help him
      • He dare not go out
      • He does not dare to come before me 
Read more tips and tricks to crack English section of Competitive Exams from here
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  1. Wow bravo!!.. what a minor difference but big changes!!
    Thanks a lot team..


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