What are auxiliary verbs? Auxiliary verbs are ‘helping’ verbs that are divided into two main categories; The ‘main auxiliaries’ that are; ‘be, have and do’ and the ‘modal auxiliaries’ which are; ‘can, could, may, might, should, must, shall, will, would, ought to, need to and dare to‘. Dictionary definition of auxiliary verbs: ”accompanying another verb and typically expressing person, number, mood, or tense In; “I will go,” the word “will” is an auxiliary verb”.
Base form = be
Present form = am/is/are
Past form = was/were
Present participle/gerund = being
Past participle = been
(1) To be is used to form the passive in English. All passive forms are below:
- Present simple – passive
- Present continuous – passive
- Present perfect – passive
- Present perfect continuous – passive
- Past perfect continuous – passive
- Past continuous – passive
- Past simple – passive
- Past perfect – passive
- Future simple – passive
- Future continuous – passive
- Future perfect – passive
- Future perfect continuous – passive
(2) To be is used to make a sentence attributable, that is, to talk about experiencing very common physical conditions, such as; heat, thirst, cold, hunger, and overall, one’s general well-being. The construction is be + adjective.
- I am hungry.
- She is tired.
- They are happy.
- She was surprised.
Hungry, tired, happy and surprised are all adjectives. We use to be to make sentences attributive.
(3) We use to be to talk about people’s age, height, weight and size plus colours and sizes.
- I am twenty-five years old.
- She is 1.80, which is very tall for a woman.
- They are 100 kilograms.
- My shoes are too big for me.
- The sea is blue and the grass is green.
(4) We use to be to form the present continuous in English (to be + verb + ing):
- Maria is leaving for Athens today.
- Are you working?
- She’s having a great time with us.