Helping Verb

Team English -
Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: June 18, 2024

Helping Verb

Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, assist the main verb in a sentence by extending its meaning. Common helping verbs include “is,” “are,” “was,” “were,” “has,” “have,” “do,” and “does.” They help form various tenses and mood sentences.

What Is a Helping Verb?

A helping verb, also known as an auxiliary verb, is a verb that accompanies a main verb to help express its tense, mood, or voice. Helping verbs do not stand alone but work together with a main verb to create a complete verb phrase. They provide additional information about the action or state of being indicated by the main verb.

Examples of Helping Verbs

  1. She is singing beautifully.
  2. They are going to the market.
  3. He was reading a book.
  4. We were watching a movie.
  5. I am learning Spanish.
  6. You have completed your assignment.
  7. They had finished their lunch.
  8. She has been working hard.
  9. He does know the answer.
  10. I do believe in magic.
  11. She did finish her work on time.
  12. You can achieve your goals.
  13. He could swim very fast.
  14. She may attend the meeting.
  15. They might visit us tomorrow.
  16. You must wear a helmet.
  17. We shall overcome this challenge.
  18. I should call my parents.
  19. He will go to the store.
  20. She would like some tea.
  21. They are being noisy.
  22. He was being helpful.
  23. The cake is being baked.
  24. The project was completed on time.
  25. She had been waiting for hours.
  26. We will be going on a trip.
  27. They are going to win the game.
  28. He is planning a surprise party.
  29. She has been teaching for ten years.
  30. I am thinking about the future.
  31. They were being considerate.
  32. He had been playing for hours.
  33. She is not feeling well.
  34. We will not be attending the event.
  35. You must not lie.
  36. He should not be late.
  37. She could have been more careful.
  38. They might have missed the bus.
  39. He was not aware of the situation.
  40. She has not received the package.
  41. They are not going to the party.
  42. I will be arriving soon.
  43. She can not believe the news.
  44. We do not agree with the decision.
  45. He had been informed about the changes.
  46. She would have helped if asked.
  47. They might not come to the event.
  48. He could not solve the problem.
  49. She should have called earlier.
  50. We are planning a vacation.

Simple Predicate Examples with Helping Verbs

  1. She is reading a book.
  2. They have finished their homework.
  3. He was playing the guitar.
  4. We are going to the park.
  5. She will bake a cake.

Examples of Helping Verbs With Answers

  1. She is writing a letter.
  2. They have completed their project.
  3. He was singing a song.
  4. We are watching a movie.
  5. She will visit her grandmother.

Example of Helping Verb in a Sentence

  1. She is studying for her exams.
  2. They have arrived at the airport.
  3. He was watching a documentary.
  4. We are planning a trip.
  5. She will call you later.

Main verb and Helping Verb Examples

  1. She is (helping verb) running (main verb) in the park.
  2. They have (helping verb) completed (main verb) their project.
  3. He was (helping verb) reading (main verb) a novel.
  4. We are (helping verb) planning (main verb) a trip.
  5. She will (helping verb) bake (main verb) a cake.

Example of Plural Helping Verb

  1. They are playing soccer.
  2. We have finished our work.
  3. The students were studying for exams.
  4. The dogs are barking loudly.
  5. They will attend the meeting.

Example of Singular Helping Verb

  1. She is cooking dinner.
  2. He has completed his assignment.
  3. The cat was sleeping on the couch.
  4. It is raining outside.
  5. She will arrive soon.

Have as Helping Verb Examples

  1. I have completed my homework.
  2. She has gone to the store.
  3. They have been studying all night.
  4. We have finished the project.
  5. He has visited that museum before.

Helping Verbs List

cancouldmaymightmustought to

Example of Primary Helping Verb

  1. She is painting a picture.
  2. They have gone to the market.
  3. He does enjoy reading books.
  4. We are studying for the test.
  5. He was talking on the phone.

Types of Helping Verbs

Primary Helping Verbs

Primary helping verbs are used to form different tenses. They include be, have, and do.

  • Be: Used to form continuous tenses and the passive voice.
  • I am studying. (Present continuous)
  • The cake was baked by Mary. (Passive voice)
  • Have: Used to form perfect tenses.
  • She has finished her homework. (Present perfect)
  • They had left before I arrived. (Past perfect)
  • Do: Used for emphasis and to form questions and negatives.
  • Do you like pizza? (Question)
  • I do not understand. (Negative)

Modal Helping Verbs

Modal helping verbs express necessity, possibility, permission, or ability. Common modal verbs include can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, and would.

  • Can/ Could: Express ability or possibility.
  • She can swim very well.
  • Could you help me with this?
  • May/ Might: Express possibility or permission.
  • You may leave early.
  • It might rain later.
  • Must: Express necessity or strong recommendation.
  • You must wear a helmet.
  • Shall/ Should: Express future action or advice.
  • We shall meet at noon.
  • You should see a doctor.
  • Will/ Would: Express future action or willingness.
  • I will call you tomorrow.
  • Would you like some tea?

Helping verbs vs Linking verbs

AspectHelping VerbsLinking Verbs
DefinitionVerbs that assist the main verb in forming tenses, moods, and voices.Verbs that connect the subject with additional information about the subject.
FunctionExtend the meaning of the main verb by showing tense, mood, or voice.Link the subject to a subject complement (predicate adjective or noun).
Common Verbsbe (am, is, are, was, were, being, been), have, do, can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, wouldbe (am, is, are, was, were, being, been), become, seem, appear, feel, look, sound, taste, smell
ExamplesShe is running. (present continuous) They have finished. (present perfect) Do you know? (question)She is a teacher. (linking to a noun) The soup tastes good. (linking to an adjective) He seems tired. (linking to an adjective)
Presence of Main VerbAlways used with a main verb to form a complete verb phrase.Do not require a main verb; they stand alone connecting the subject to more information.
Tense FormationHelp form various tenses (e.g., continuous, perfect, passive).Do not typically indicate tense by themselves but connect to the subject’s state or identity.
Negation & QuestionsUsed to form negative sentences and questions (e.g., does not, have not, can not).Not used to form negatives or questions; these functions are usually handled by helping verbs.

Present Tense Helping Verb

Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, assist the main verb in a sentence to form different tenses, moods, and voices. In the present tense, helping verbs are essential for constructing various verb forms, especially in continuous tenses, perfect tenses, and passive voice.

Common Present Tense Helping Verbs

  1. Am/Is/Are: Used with present participles to form the present continuous tense.
  2. Have/Has: Used with past participles to form the present perfect tense.
  3. Do/Does: Used for emphasis and in questions and negative sentences in the simple present tense.

Past Tense Helping Verb

Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, assist the main verb in a sentence to form different tenses, moods, and voices. In the past tense, helping verbs play a crucial role in constructing various verb forms, particularly in perfect tenses and passive voice.

Common Past Tense Helping Verbs

  1. Was/Were: Used with present participles to form the past continuous tense.
  2. Had: Used with past participles to form the past perfect tense.
  3. Did: Used for emphasis and in questions and negative sentences in the simple past tense.

List of Helping Verbs of All Tenses

TenseHelping Verb(s)
Simple Presentdo / does
Present Continuousam / is / are
Present Perfecthave / has
Present Perfect Continuoushave been / has been
Simple Pastdid
Past Continuouswas / were
Past Perfecthad
Past Perfect Continuoushad been
Simple Futurewill
Future Continuouswill be
Future Perfectwill have
Future Perfect Continuouswill have been

How to Use Helping Verbs to Change Active Voice to Passive Voice

Steps to Convert Active Voice to Passive Voice

  1. Identify the subject, verb, and object in the active sentence.
  2. Move the object of the active sentence to the subject position of the passive sentence.
  3. Use the appropriate form of the verb “to be” as a helping verb, based on the tense of the main verb in the active sentence.
  4. Change the main verb to its past participle form.
  5. Move the subject of the active sentence to the end of the passive sentence, preceded by “by” (optional if the subject is not important or unknown).

Check Your Understanding of Helping Verbs

Exercise 1: Fill in the Blanks

  1. She ___ (is/are) reading a book right now.
  2. They ___ (have/has) completed their homework.
  3. He ___ (was/were) running when it started to rain.
  4. I ___ (do/does) not understand the question.
  5. We ___ (shall/will) go to the park tomorrow.
  6. They ___ (had/have) left before we arrived.
  7. You ___ (is/am) always on time.

Exercise 2: Choose the Correct Helping Verb

  1. She ___ (am/is/are) cooking dinner.
    • Correct Answer: is
  2. They ___ (has/have) seen that movie before.
    • Correct Answer: have
  3. He ___ (was/were) studying all night.
    • Correct Answer: was
  4. We ___ (shall/will) start the meeting at 10 AM.
    • Correct Answer: will
  5. I ___ (do/does) like chocolate.
    • Correct Answer: do
  6. They ___ (had/have) been working here for five years.
    • Correct Answer: have
  7. She ___ (will/shall) be arriving soon.
    • Correct Answer: will

What is the role of a helping verb?

Helping verbs work with main verbs to provide additional information about tense, mood, or voice.

Can a sentence have more than one helping verb?

Yes, sentences can have multiple helping verbs, especially when forming perfect continuous tenses (e.g., “She has been working”).

What are modals?

Modals are a type of helping verb that express necessity, possibility, permission, or ability (e.g., “can,” “could,” “may,” “might,” “must,” “shall,” “should,” “will,” “would”).

How do helping verbs change the tense of a sentence?

Helping verbs combine with main verbs to indicate different tenses (e.g., “She is running” vs. “She was running”).

What is the difference between helping verbs and main verbs?

Main verbs express the main action or state of being, while helping verbs provide additional information about the action or state.

Do helping verbs change with subject-verb agreement?

Yes, helping verbs must agree with the subject in number and person (e.g., “He is” vs. “They are”).

How do helping verbs form the passive voice?

Helping verbs combine with the past participle of the main verb to form the passive voice (e.g., “The cake was baked by Mary”).

Can helping verbs be contracted in sentences?

Yes, helping verbs can be contracted with subjects (e.g., “He’s” for “He is” or “He has”).

How do you use helping verbs in negative sentences?

Helping verbs combine with “not” to form negatives (e.g., “He is not going” “They have not finished”).

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