You are on page 1of 7

Exercises on Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary Verbs are the verbs be, do, have, will when they are followed by
another verb (the full verb) in order to form a question, a negative sentence, a
compound tense or the passive.
The verb "be"
The verb be can be used as an auxiliary and a full verb. As an auxiliary we use
this verb for compound tenses and the passive voice. Note that be is an irregular
verb:
Simple Present:
I am, he/she/it is, we/you/they are
Simple Past:
I/he/she/it was, we/you/they were
Past Participle:
been
You can tell that in the following sentences be is an auxiliary because it is
followed by another verb (the full verb). (For progressive forms use the "-ing"
form of the full verb; for passive voice, use the past participle of the full verb.)
Progressive Forms
Present Progressive:
He is playing football.
Past Progressive:
He was playing football.
Present Perfect Progressive:
He has been playing football.
Past Perfect Progressive:
He had been playing football.
Passive
Simple Present/Past:
The house is/was built.
Present/Past Perfect:
The house has/had been built.
Future I:
The house will be built.
"be" as a full verb
The verb be can also be a full verb. In this case, it's not followed by another verb.
If be is used as a full verb, we do not need an auxiliary in negative sentences or
questions.
positive sentence:
They are fifteen years old.
negative sentence:
They are not fifteen years old.
question:
Are they fifteen years old?
The verb "have"
The verb have, too, can be used both as an auxiliary and as a full verb. As an
auxiliary we use this verb to form compound tenses in active and passive voice.
(Use the past participle of the full verb.)
Compound Tenses - Active Voice
Present Perfect Simple:
He has played football.
Past Perfect Simple:
He had played football.
Present Perfect Progressive:
He has been playing football.
Past Perfect Progressive:
He had been playing football.
Compound Tenses - Passive Voice
Present/Past Perfect:
The house has/had been built.
Note that have is an irregular verb, too:
Simple Present:
I/we/you/they have, he/she/it has
Simple Past:
I/he/she/it/we/you/they had
Past Participle:
had
"have" in positive sentences
As a full verb have indicates possession. In British English, however, we usually
use have got (have being the auxiliary, got the full verb).
full verb:
I have a car.
auxiliary verb:
I have got a car.
"have" in negative sentences and questions
When we use have as a full verb, we must use the auxiliary do in negative
sentences and questions. If we use have got, however, we do not need another
auxiliary.
have as a full verb:
I do not have a car.
Do I have a car?
have as an auxiliary verb:
I have not got a car.
Have I got a car?
The verb "will"
The verb will can only be used as an auxiliary. We use it to form the future
tenses.
The auxiliary verb "will"
Future I:
He will not play football.
Future II:
He will have played football.
The verb will remains the same for all forms (no "s" for 3rd person singular). The
short form for negative sentences is won't.'
Examples:
I will, he will
I will not = I won't
The verb "do"
The verb do can be both an auxiliary and a full verb. As an auxiliary we use do in
negative sentences and questions for most verbs (except not for be, will, have
got and modal verbs) in Simple Present and Simple Past. (Use the infinitive of
the full verb.)
The auxiliary "do" in negative sentences
Simple Present:
He does not play football.
Simple Past:
He did not play football.
The auxiliary "do" in questions
Simple Present:
Does he play football?
Simple Past:
Did he play football?
The verb do is irregular:
Simple Present:
I/we/you/they do, he/she/it does
Simple Past:
I/he/she/it/we/you/they did
The full verb "do"
As a full verb we use do in certain expressions. If we want to form negative
sentences or questions using do as a full verb, we need another do as an
auxiliary.
positive sentence:
She does her homework every day.
negative sentence:
She doesn't do her homework every day.
question:
Does she do her homework every day?
Sentences without the auxiliary "do"
In the following cases, the auxiliary do is not used in negative
sentences/questions:
the full verb is "be"
Example:
I am not angry. / Are you okay?
the sentence already contains another auxiliary (e.g. have, be, will)
Example:
They are not sleeping. / Have you heard that?
the sentence contains a modal verb (can, may, must, need, ought to, shall,
should)
Example:
We need not wait. / Can you repeat that, please?
the question asks for the subject of the sentence
Example:
Who sings that song?

THE 23 AUXILIARY VERBS

1. Twelve (12) verbs, when used as auxiliary verbs, combine with the base form
only (“base form” = infinitive minus “to”; for example: to go = infinitive; go =
base form).

will would may do

shall should might does

can could must did

OK: I will go. You can go. He should go. We may go. They do go.
Not OK: I will going. You can gone. He should goes. We may went. They do
going.
2. Seven (7) verbs, when used as auxiliary verbs, combine with present
participles (base form plus ing: for example, going ) OR past participles (I have
walked. I have gone.)

am is are was were be been

OK: I am going. He is going. He is gone. You are going. You are gone. She
was going. She was gone. We were going. We were gone. They will be going.
They will be gone. It has been going. It has been gone.

Not OK: I am go. I am went. He is goes. He was wenting. She will be goning.
Note: Been is the past participle of to be. But, none of the 7 verbs above
combines with been. In fact, only three auxiliaries combine with been: have,
has, had. One of these three is always immediately in front of been (for
example: I have been sick. He has been sick. I had been sick.), except in the
negative and interrogative (for example: I have not been sick. (negative) Has
he been sick? (interrogative)). Also Note: Been cannot stand alone. For
example: Not OK: I been here two years. OK: I have been here two years.
Not OK: I been living here two years. OK: I have been living here two years.

3. Four (4) verbs, when used as auxiliary verbs, combine with past participles
only.

have has had being

OK: I have gone. He has gone. I had gone. I was being robbed.

I have chased. He has chased. I had chased. I was being chased.

Not OK: I have go. I have going. He has go. He has going. I had go . I had
going. I was being rob. I was being robbing.
I have chase. I have chasing. He has chase. He has chasing. I had chase. I
had chasing. I was being chase. I was being chasing.

Note: Being works best in the continuous form of passive voice, simple present
and simple past only. For example: I am being chased (simple present). I was
being chased (simple past). Not OK: I will be being chased. I have been being
chased. I had been being chased. I will have been being chased. I am being
tired = Not OK. I am tired = OK. I was being lost = Not OK. I was lost = OK.

4. Of the 23 “auxiliaries,” nine (9) are auxiliary verbs ONLY.

will shall can would should could may might must

OK: I will go. I shall go. I can go. I would go. I should go. I could go. I may
go. I might go. I must go.
Not OK: I will here. I shall there. I can this. I would that. I should him. I could
her. I may them. I might it. I must us.

Note: Many times every day you might hear people say: I do. She will. He
does. We might. You should. They might. I must. It could. It seems like the
auxiliary verb is being used as a principal verb, but the principal verb is not
expressed. The examples above occur only in response to questions. Do you
like candy? Yes, I do (like candy). No, I don’t (like candy). Will she come here?
Yes, she will (come here). No, she won’t (come here). Does he study
English? Yes, he does (study English). No, he doesn’t (study English).

5. Of the 23 “auxiliaries,” fourteen (14) are auxiliary verbs OR principal verbs.

do does did am is are was were

be being been have has had

OK: Auxiliary Principal

I do not like cats. I do my homework.

He does like cats.* He does a good job.

Did you eat?** You did the laundry.

I am reading. I am poor.

She is not listening. She isn’t rich.

It was running. It was sunny.

We were robbed. We were in New York

They will be kissed. They will be here at noon.

I have been studying. I have been sick.


I have talked to her. I have some money.

He has driven a car. He has a new car.

You had fallen down. You had a cold.

She was being prepared. She was being polite.

*He does like cats. I do like cats. I did like cats. These sentences are in the
emphatic form, and they are used only in the simple present and simple past;
they are usually responses to statements or questions. For example: (1) John
doesn’t like cats. Yes, he does like cats. John doesn’t like cats, does he? Yes,
he does like cats. (2) You don’t like cats. Yes, I do like cats. You don’t like
cats, do you? Yes, I do like cats. (3) She didn’t like cats. Yes, she did like
cats. She didn’t like cats, did she? Yes, she did like cats. BUT: If the
principal verb is a form of to be , do-does-did is unnecessary. OK: He is rich.
Yes, he is. No, he isn’t. He is rich, isn’t he? Yes, he is. No, he isn’t. ALSO:
If there is an auxiliary, do-does-did is unnecessary. OK: She isn’t working. Yes,
she is working. She isn’t working, is she? Yes, she is working.

**In the interrogative and the negative, do, does, and did are auxiliaries for the
simple present and simple past--they are not emphatic. They are not used when
the principal verb is a form of to be or when there is an auxiliary verb. For
example (principal verb is a form of to be) : He is sick. Interrogative = Is he
sick? Negative = He isn’t sick.

For example (an auxiliary verb): I am talking. Interrogative = Am I talking?


Negative = I am not talking.