23 auxiliary verbs

The 23 verbs below are traditionally called ‘helping verbs,’ but linguist Geoffrey Pullum says we should stay away from the helping verb definition, so we will.

Pullum on Cambridge Grammar of the English Language

That said, please know that the words “helping verbs” and “auxiliary verbs” mean the same thing.

“Helping verbs” = “Auxiliary verbs”
“Auxiliary verbs” = “Helping verbs”

All other verbs are called lexical verbs.

THE AUXILIARY VERBS:
do
does
did
has
have
had
is
am
are
was
were
be
being
been
may
must
might
should
could
would
shall
will
can

CGEL says that need and dare can be used as either auxiliary or lexical verbs.


The two most important differences between auxiliary and lexical verbs occur in:

  • questions
  • not-statements
Auxiliary v. Lexical verbs in questions
Auxiliary verbs   Lexical verbs  
She is walking home.   She walks home.  
Is she walking home?   Walks she home?  WRONG
Subject & auxiliary switch places   Subject & lexical verb can’t change places  
    Does she walk home?
Must add auxiliary verb “does” in front of subject
 
Auxiliary v. Lexical verbs in ‘not’ statements
Auxiliary verb: has
“Not” is added after the
auxiliary verb:
  Lexical verb: brings
“Not” can’t be added after the
auxiliary verb:
 
Harry has brought his owl.   Harry brings his owl.
Harry has not brought his owl.   Harry brings not his owl. WRONG
    Harry does not bring his owl.
(must add “does” & place “not”
between “does” and the lexical verb)
 
Auxiliary verbs can form a contraction with ‘not’
Lexical verbs cannot form a contraction with ‘not’
do   don’t  
does   doesn’t  
did   didn’t  
has   hasn’t  
have   haven’t  
had   hadn’t  
is   isn’t  
am    
are   aren’t  
was   wasn’t  
were   weren’t
should   shouldn’t WRONG
Lexical verbs can’t form a contraction with ‘not’
Lexical verbs      
took   tookn’t WRONG
eat   eatn’t WRONG
see   seen’t WRONG

Here is Huddleston and Pullum’s definition of the auxiliary verb:

Auxiliary verb. A subclass of verb that prototypically marks tense, aspect, mood or voice. In English, auxiliaries can invert with the subject in interrogatives (Can you swim?), and have special primary negation forms (She hasn ‘t seen it).

AND SEE:
Huddleston & Pullum on auxiliary verbs
The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language
A short overview of English Syntax by Rodney Huddleston

Finite and nonfinite verbs

A complete sentence has a FINITE verb.

A FINITE verb changes spelling for the present and past tense:
The cow jumps over the moon. (PRESENT TENSE)
The cow jumped over the moon. (PAST TENSE)

FINITE verb also changes spelling for “person”:
The cow jumps over the moon. (3rd person SINGULAR)
The cows jump over the moon. (3rd person PLURAL)

A NONFINITE verb — a verb in the ing, ed, or infinitive form — does not change spelling for tense or person.
The cow is jumping over the moon. (is jumping is the PRESENT PROGRESSIVE)
The cows are jumping over the moon. (2 cows)
The cow was jumping over the moon. (PAST PROGRESSIVE)
The cow will be jumping over the moon. (FUTURE PROGRESSIVE)
The cow has jumped over the moon. (has jumped is the PRESENT PERFECT tense)
The cows have jumped over the moon. (2 cows PRESENT PERFECT)
The cow had jumped over the moon. (PAST PERFECT)
The cow will have jumped over the moon. (FUTURE PERFECT)
The cow wants to jump over the moon. (to jump is the INFINITIVE form)
The cows want to jump over the moon. (2 cows)
The cow wanted to jump over the moon.

EXAMPLES:
The cow jumps [FINITE] over the moon. (COMPLETE SENTENCE)
The cow jumped [FINITE] over the moon. (COMPLETE SENTENCE)
The cow is [FINITE] jumping over the moon. (COMPLETE SENTENCE)
The cow was [FINITE] jumping over the moon. (COMPLETE SENTENCE)
The cow  jumping [NONFINITE] over the moon. (INCOMPLETE SENTENCE or SENTENCE FRAGMENT)

The first verb in a verb phrase is FINITE. The verbs that follow are NONFINITE :
The cow is [FINITE] jumping [NONFINITE] over the moon.
The cow was [FINITE] jumping [NONFINITE] over the moon.
The cow wants [FINITE] to jump [NONFINITE] over the moon.
The cow wanted [FINITE] to jump [NONFINITE] over the moon.

AND SEE:
Tense and aspect chart at Deb’s Quick Picks Blog

Hansel and Gretel’s mother becomes a stepmother

The Grimms were told by friends that some of the material in the first edition [of Grimm’s Fairy Tales] was too frightening for children, and they did make a few changes. In a notable example, the first edition of “Hansel and Gretel” has the mother and the father deciding together to abandon the children in the woods. In later editions, it is the stepmother who makes the suggestion, and the father repeatedly hesitates before he finally agrees. Apparently, the Grimms could not bear the idea that the mother, the person who bore these children, would do such a thing, or that the father would readily consent.

ONCE UPON A TIMEThe lure of the fairy tale.
BY JOAN ACOCELLA
JULY 23, 2012

Readings and web sites for fairy tales

Richard Hudson defines anaphora

Anaphora is the name for the relationship between she and Mary in—

Mary looked out of the window. The sky looked threatening, so she decided to take an umbrella.

What the two highlighted words share is the fact that they both refer to the same person – they have the same reference. The word she refers back to the word Mary without repeating the name. This ‘reference back’ is called anaphora. Successful writers keep track of the various people and things that they mention by building a reference chain by means of anaphoric devices such as pronouns. KS3 writers sometimes fail to make these links clear, thus spoiling the coherence of their writing.

Introduction: coherence, anaphora and reference
Richard Hudson

3 ways to combine the 7 sentence patterns

BACKGROUND:

Traditional grammars list 4 types of sentences:

Simple sentence (1 independent clause)
Compound sentence (2 or more independent clauses)
Complex sentence (1 independent clause + 1 or more dependent clauses)
Compound-complex sentence (2 or more independent clauses + 1 or more dependent clauses)

All 7 sentence “patterns” — SV, SVO, SVC, SVA, SVOO, SVOC, SVOA — can be used in all 4 combinations above.

You can write a SIMPLE SV sentence, a SIMPLE SVO sentence, a SIMPLE SVC sentence, etc.

And: you can combine all 7 sentence patterns into COMPOUND, COMPLEX, and COMPOUND-COMPLEX sentences.

For example, you can include 2 SVs in one compound sentence:
Rex barks [SV], and Tigger meows [SV].

Or you can combine 2 SVOs:
Rex chases the cat,[SVO] and the cat chases the mouse [SVO].

You can combine 1 SVO with 1 SVA:
Rex chases the cat, [SVO] and the cat races up the tree. [SVA]

Simple sentence = 1 independent clause

A simple sentence has one independent clause.

REVIEW: An independent clause:

– Has a subject
– Has a finite verb
– Does not begin with a dependent marker word (also called a subordinating conjunction).

EXAMPLES:
The cow jumps over the moon.
The cow [SUBJECT] jumps [FINITE VERB – PRESENT TENSE] over the moon. [COMPLETE SENTENCE]
The cow jumped over the moon.
The cow [SUBJECT] jumped [FINITE VERB – PAST TENSE] over the moon. [COMPLETE SENTENCE]
The cow jumping over the moon.
The cow [SUBJECT] jumped [NONFINITE VERB – PAST TENSE] over the moon. [INCOMPLETE SENTENCE or SENTENCE FRAGMENT]

Dependent clause

In traditional grammar, a dependent clause (also called a subordinate clause) has a subject and a verb but cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. A dependent clause “depends” upon an independent clause.

Often — not always — a dependent clause begins with a dependent marker word:

while [DEPENDENT MARKER WORD] the cow jumped over the moon.
when [DEPENDENT MARKER WORD] the cow jumped over the moon.
although [DEPENDENT MARKER WORD] the cow jumped over the moon.

Compound sentence = at least 2 independent clauses

The cow jumped over the moon, and the dish ran away with the spoon.
The cow jumped over the moon; the dish ran away with the spoon.
The cow jumped over the moon; in addition, the dish ran away with the spoon.
The cow jumped over the moon: the dish ran away with the spoon.

NOTE: “in addition” is not a “dependent marker word.” (Good explanation here.)

And see this page by Vincennes University.)

Complex sentence = 1 independent clause + at least 1 dependent clause

The cow jumped over the moon [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE] while the little dog laughed. [DEPENDENT CLAUSE]

Compound complex sentence = at least 2 independent clauses + at least 1 dependent clause

The cow jumped over the moon [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE] while the little dog laughed, [DEPENDENT CLAUSE] and the dish ran away with the spoon [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE].

AND SEE:
SVO v. SVC
5 + 2: the 7 ‘canonical’ English sentences

3 ways to combine the 7 sentence patterns
10 basic sentence patterns in the English language
SM’s sophisticated SVOO sentence
DT’s astute observation (reflexive pronouns)
A short overview of English syntax by Rodney Huddleston tablehtml mergecells
Richard Nordquist defines “clause
Identifying Independent and Dependent Clauses (OWL)
Clauses (Richard Nordquist at about.com)
The Main Clause (chompchomp)
Dependent Clauses: Adverbial, Adjectival, Nominal (Towson)
Clauses and Sentences (Internet Grammar of English)

NOTE: This post follows the traditional categorization of sentences used by College Writing Skills and other composition textbooks. When I have time, I’ll update to the approach taken by The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.