An auxiliary verb modifies the main verb to give more information about the main verb.

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34
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8answers
11k views

Is it appropriate to use short form of “have” ('ve) when it means possession?

I feel uncomfortable saying sentences like the following: "I've a car" instead of "I have a car" "They've a great time" instead of "They have a great time" "He's a pen" instead of "He has a pen" ...
25
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11answers
14k views

“May” & “Might”: What's the right context?

I may not be coming in tomorrow... I might not be coming in tomorrow... When could I use "may" & "might"?
22
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7answers
20k views

Is “must” ever grammatical as a past tense verb?

I have seen uses of must that appear to be in the simple past tense. Sometimes these seem grammatical, but sometimes not. Examples that help illustrate my confusion: He knew he must go to New York ...
17
votes
5answers
26k views

“How dare you” vs “How do you dare”

I know that dare is a semi-modal verb. I just don't know when to use it like a modal auxiliary verb and when to use it like a normal verb. Given the following examples: How dare you ... How do ...
17
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3answers
2k views

When did periphrastic tenses stop being tenses?

English sometimes has several different ways of expressing the same thing. For example, it can form a possessive either by using an old case inflection: The dog’s tail was always wagging. Or it ...
15
votes
5answers
29k views

“Have not” versus “do not have”

As a non-native English speaker, I have a little doubt about using, or not, the auxiliary verb "to do" with the verb "to have". Are there differences in meaning between "I have not" and "I do not ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

“did shoot” vs “shot”

This morning I read this sentence (see story): On July 24th and again on July 29th, Egyptian police did shoot dead unarmed African migrants attempting to cross that border. Why "did shoot" ...
13
votes
1answer
481 views

“All your commas are belong to Array” and similar — is this grammar form “proper”?

I've often come across "weird" sentences like, say, instead of: All of your commas belong to Array. It writes: All your commas are belong to Array. It's not just once or twice, I actually ...
12
votes
7answers
47k views

What does “if you will” mean?

A TV program says, they started this accounting gimmick, if you will, and they... What does "if you will" mean? Is it a short form of "if you will [a certain verb]"?
10
votes
1answer
7k views

Is “of” instead of “have” correct?

I have noticed a lot of people use of instead of have, for example: "that must of been really annoying". Is this correct?
10
votes
4answers
12k views

“She is gone” versus “she has gone”

When should I say "She is gone", and when should I say "She has gone" (and why)? I think that when I mean "She went away and she's still there", it should be "She has gone". Are there exceptions ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “am” in “I am right” an auxiliary verb?

Consider these sentences: The ice was thick enough to walk on. They were in a hurry. There is enough salt in it. It is freezing. I am right. Are the italicized verbs ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

In reply to “Do they have…”, which is correct — “yes, they do” or “yes, they have”?

My daughter is in an 5th grade English class in Germany with a teacher who teaches British English. The teacher asked what is the correct response to Do they have some? My daughter, who has ...
7
votes
4answers
856 views

“Wrote it I did” Is this grammatical?

Are the following two examples grammatical? Write it I have. Wrote it I did. Consider as possible contexts: They said that I have to write it, and write it I have. -- (for #1) They ...
7
votes
2answers
508 views

“I need it to lift 2 tons this time.” “I don't know if it *could* do.” Why do some people use “do” like this?

Sometimes, instead of saying "could/can" or "would/will" (the two most common I've heard), some people say "could/can do" or "would/will do". Instead of: I don't know if it can. I sometimes ...
7
votes
6answers
16k views

“I'm done” or “I've done”

When someone asks whether you have completed a task e.g. shopping, dinner. What should be your answer? I am done. or I have done. To me, the former sentence's formation, Sub + VBe+ Past ...
7
votes
4answers
577 views

When was the form “is become” first used?

In the famous “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah, a line goes: The kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of our Lord. I’ve noticed similar forms in many biblical texts and ...
7
votes
3answers
754 views

“Have” vs. “Is” + Verb

The phrases have expired and is expired are in practice more or less identical. Formally, of course, they are different in that the former uses expired as a verb with have as its auxiliary, whereas ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

needn't = don't need to?

Are these two sentences equivalent? You needn't pay at once. You don't need to pay at once. If yes, which one would you recommend? Is it an US/GB thing?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How do “need” and “not” mix and match?

You don't need to play You need to not play You need not play You needn't play You need not to play What does each of these mean, and which ones are equivalent to the others? Is the meaning of the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Make “will have been going to go” correct

Is there a situation or question where the phrase will have been going to go is the best, most natural, or clearest response (or included in said response)? I'm asking this probably somewhat silly ...
5
votes
4answers
75k views

What are the following words called: Am, Is, Are, Was, Were, Be, Being, Been?

Am, Is, Are, Was, Were, Be, Being, Been What are the above words called? I think someone called them auxiliary verbs. Edit: When I learned them, my curriculum called them "State of Being verbs" ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why would he do this to me?

Do the following two statements convey the same meaning? Why would he do this to me? Why did he do this to me? To me, both of them seem to imply something done to me in the past.
5
votes
2answers
978 views

Could “are he” be correct?

I was just trying to formulate a sentence in an email, and wanted to reference a third person, inquiring as to which of something that person was referring in the forwarded mail message. Is it: ...
5
votes
4answers
433 views

Do I have to use the auxiliary before all the verbs?

Which of the following is correct? I will dance and sing at the concert tonight. I will dance and will sing at the concert tonight. Does it happen with to, too? For example: I ...
5
votes
2answers
872 views

When can “have” be used without “got”?

I read this article and now I'm confused when got can be omitted when using have. Could this be explained in plain English without technical terms? Is there a different usage in past tense?
5
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1answer
2k views

Question about “how many”

Why don't we use the auxiliary do in the following question: How many people study there?
5
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4answers
6k views

Differences between Verb + to be + adjectives and Verb + adjective

If you have a more illustrative title, feel free to change it. I searched but I couldn't find one. This may be an easy and trivial question; if so, I am sorry. What are the differences between ...
5
votes
1answer
957 views

Comparing negatives: “she seems not to know” vs. “she doesn't seem to know”

What is the difference in style and meaning between the following two: She seems not to know. She doesn't seem to know. Is there a name to this type of construction?
5
votes
6answers
945 views

Why are present participle and infinitive equally acceptable for some verbs, but not others

This question about "started teaching/to teach" made me realise that even though the present participle and infinitive are both acceptable after "started", that's not the case with other superficially ...
5
votes
1answer
24k views

Is “is” an auxiliary verb? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is "is" an auxiliary verb? My Mum's bag is blue. Is is an auxillary verb in that sentence? If not, what part of speech is it?
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Subject + “have had” + bare infinitive … ever correct?

In writing an email today I came up with the following sentence: "We have had two other ladies express an interest in the room." I'm a native English-English speaker and this felt fine to me. My ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Auxiliary verb and adverb ordering

(I'm not really sure if the title is a correct definition of my problem at all) I'm not a native English speaker, and I'm used to say: Spaghetti suddenly can talk But I've seen a phrase from a ...
5
votes
1answer
233 views

Does “will” and other auxiliary verbs spread on all the sentence?

Consider the following example — I want to write down several sequential actions in future. Should I write: I will go home, will have dinner, will play tennis, etc. or: I will go home, have ...
4
votes
5answers
18k views

“Would” vs. “Will”

Which of the following sentences is correct and why? Please note that I "will" be working on another script this month. Please note that I "would" be working on another script this month. I should ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Can “did” be used in affirmative sentences? [duplicate]

Duplicate: “did shoot” vs “shot” When do you use “Did + 1st form” instead of “2nd form”? Use of “do” in affirmative statements I know that did is used when asking or when using a negative ...
4
votes
3answers
559 views

Is it Standard American English to ever contract “did” as “-'d”?

Assuming that it is Standard American English to contract would as -'d, is it standard to contract did as -'d? For example: I would really like to have a glass of single malt scotch right now. ...
4
votes
3answers
291 views

Are modal verbs and auxiliary verbs actually verbs?

A friend recently told me that "can" is a rare verb without an infinitive. I have since looked it up and discovered it is an auxiliary verb. In my mind it modifies a "proper" verb in much the same way ...
4
votes
3answers
807 views

What’s the difference between “come recommended” and “be recommended”?

… But their main business is in parts and refurbishing, and the old man, Deforges, doesn’t like to sell a used piano to someone who hasn’t come recommended. He says it’s more trouble than it’s ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the difference in meaning between “I play” and “I do play”? [closed]

What is the difference between I play and I do play? For example: If someone were to ask to me, do you play soccer?
3
votes
4answers
188 views

Usage of “is” and “does”

Which sentence is correct? The directory is not exist OR The directory does not exist This message informs a user about a folder he or she is trying to access.
3
votes
2answers
28k views

Difference between “does have” and “has” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “did shoot” vs “shot” 'Did see' and 'Saw' “I understand you” vs “I do understand you” What is the difference in meaning between “I play” and “I ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Can a person say “And I you”?

In a film I thought I heard a man say "And I you." I wondered if it were OK because there seemed to be no verb? Another man said to him "I like you my buddy". So why did he not reply "So do I ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

Difference between would and will

Thank you for your time reading this. I am from China and have learned British English for years from my middle school to undergraduate time. I normally take 'would' as the past form of 'will', ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Is it considered proper English to say “You best be…” or “You'd best…”?

Often, I hear people say something like this: You best be going. Or: You'd best sweep the floor before you leave. Essentially, you'd best/you best be just means you should. Is it ...
3
votes
1answer
12k views

“Might have” vs “could have”

What is the difference between might have and could have? He might have come. He might have studied. He could have come. He could have studied. How would you describe a possibility? For ...
3
votes
2answers
13k views

“Who wrote … ?” or “Who did write … ?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is there no form of “do” in questions of the type “who knows?” I want to know which is the correct way to ask this question: Who wrote ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

“How can X be” vs. “how does X can be”

I have a Spanish friend, who wrote the following sentence: "How does foo, bar, baz can be compared?" I corrected it to read: "How can foo, bar, baz be compared?" Other than the obvious, he ...
3
votes
2answers
10k views

Don't remember vs. can't remember

Could you tell me which is proper in English: I don't remember. I can't remember. And if both are possible and good English, what is the difference?
3
votes
3answers
249 views

Usage of “do” in “why do I want to do something”

Phrase: Maybe you'll ask why do I want to lift my keyboard off my desk. Question: Microsoft Word says that I should remove the "do". Why is that? I think the "do" should stay there.