Helping Verbs


Helping Verbs (Modal & Auxiliaries Verbs)

Subject English

Grade VIII

  • An auxiliary verb is a helping verb which is used to make the form of another verb.
  • Auxiliary verbs are those verbs which help other verbs to form their tense, mood or voice.
  • An auxiliary verb is a helping verb because it helps the Principal Verb.
  • An Auxiliary verb is one which helps a Principal verb to form a tense or mood or voice. Hence it is also called a Helping Verbs.
  • The verbs which are used independently without help from other verbs are called Principal Verbs or Main Verbs.

Helping Verbs

  • Auxiliary Verbs or Helping Verbs are two types; as;

Primary Auxiliaries or Tense Auxiliaries/Modals Auxiliaries

Primary Auxiliaries

Modal Auxiliaries

Be: be, is, am, are, was, were, been, being.

Have: have, has, had, and having.

do: do, does, did

can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, must, need, dare, used (to) , ought (to)

Helping Verbs

  • Full form of Verbs:  Helping Verbs + Principal Verbs
  • (Be, have, do, modal) + (present, present +ing, past participle)
  • Use of Primary Auxiliaries or Tense Auxiliaries: as;
  • To be: for indicating continuous tense and passive voice: as;
  1. I am doing the sum.                            (Present Progressive)
  2. The kitten is crying.                            (Present Progressive)
  3. He was sleeping at night.                    (Past Progressive)
  4. The work is being done by me.          (Passive Voice)
  5. The sum has been worked out.           (Passive Voice)
  6. The will be done by him.                   (Passive Voice)
  • Note: ‘To be” may also be used as a Principal Verb: as;
  1. I am well.
  2. He is at home.
  3. You are here.
  4. Ali is an engineer.
  5. They are brave boys.
  • ‘To have’: for indicating Perfect Tense Forms, Passive Voice and Nominative Absolute. As;
  1. I have done the work.                                           (Present Perfect)
  2. He had left the school before the class was over. (Past Perfect)
  3. It has been raining for five days.                         (Present Perfect Continuous)
  4. The work has been done.                                    (Passive Voice)
  5. The sun having risen, darkness disappeared.     (Nominative Absolute)
  • Note: ‘To have’ may also be used as a Principal Verb: as; .he has a red shirt.
  1. She had a nice umbrella.
  2. How many children have they?
  3. What shall we have for dinner?
  • Note: British English uses both ‘have’ and ‘have got’ but prefers the second, as;
  1. We have /have got a cottage in the village.
  2. They have/ have got a small flat.
  • To do’ : [As Auxiliary Verb]
  • To make an interrogative sentence: as;
  1. Do you like football?
  2. Does he take tea?
  3. Did she write a letter?
  • To make a Negative Sentence: as;

Full forms

Shortened forms

I do not like him.

do not = don`t

He does not go to school.

does not = doesn`t

They did not play football.

did not = didn`t

  • To give a stress in a statement: as;
  1. I do hereby authorize you.
  2. He did help you and you should not deny that.
  • Note: ‘To do’ is generally used as a Principal Verb: as;
  1. We do our homework regularly.
  2. They did the work sincerely.
  3. They do practice ‘catch’ regularly.
  • Modal Auxiliaries are those helping verbs which help to express the mood or manner in which the action is done.
  • The models are different from other Auxiliaries ‘have’, ‘be’, and ‘do’ in three ways: as;
  • They don`t have –s forms, -ing forms, -ed forms or –en forms:  do—does –did; have –having –had; be, being, been. But not may –maying or mayed.
  • Modals take only the base form of Principal Verbs after Modals Auxiliaries them: as;
  1. I can do the work alone.
  2. He may not come here today.
  3. You must abide by the rules.
  • Modals modify the meaning of the Main Verbs: as;

Helping Verbs

  • Does he play football? (‘Does` not to modify the main verb ‘play’, but to form a mere question)
  • [But] He can play football. [‘Can’ modifies the main verb ‘play’ expressing ability]
  •  Here is a complete list of Modal Auxiliary Verbs:







Will you go to school?



Would you give me a ball?



Shall I do the work?



You should work hard.



He can drive a bike.



He could not do the sum./could you help me to do the sum?



He may come here today./may I come in?/may you live long.



His statement might be true./you might to go to Italy for training.



It must be good./ you mustn`t do this./you must obey your teachers.



You mustn`t run in the sun.



he need not go there



I dare say you are a fool./ he dares to stand alone.


bold assertion/daring courage

I dare not follow you./he dare not do it.


afraid to do

We ought to love our neighbors/ this is really a good film; you ought to see it.

Ought (to)


moral obligation/suggestion

he used to walk early in the morning.

Used (to)



  • Note:Dare: in the Third Person Singular ( in simple present ) the modal is ‘dare’ and not ‘dares’—provided it is followed by a negative.
  • Some more examples
  • Expressing ability [Can]
  1. The boy can write a poem.
  2. The girl can dance gracefully.
  3. The deer can run fast.
  • Expressing request [could]
  1. Could you lend me your book?
  2. Could I have a cup of tea?
  • Expressing possibility [May]
  1. May I come in, ‘sir’?
  2. May I climb the hill? Yes, you may.
  • Expressing possibility (past tense) [might]
  1. He might do the work at ease.
  2. They might join the party for the picnic.
  3. They might just as well go.
  • Asking permission (past tense) [might]
  1. He asked the headmaster if he might go after the first period.
  • Expressing certainty / obligation [must]
  1. You must do your duty.
  2. He must leave the class.
  • Expressing advice [should / ought o]
  1. You should have (take) a morning walk.   
  2. You ought to be here at 9 a.m.
  • Modals Auxiliaries in short answers are as;
  1. Can you drive a car? No; I can`t.
  2. May I go out, sir? Yes, you may.  


Leave a Comment