Helper or auxiliary verbs are forms of "to have" and "to be" that help other verbs in a sentence. They can help clarify when an action is taking place, as in "They had already eaten dinner by the time the package arrived." In that sentence, "had ... eaten" indicates that the action had finished.
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- Hey David do you teach anything else besides Grammar on Khan academy? You're one of the best teachers i have ever had and in Grammar you have taught me so much! I had never understood much of Grammar because i was never into it and i just thought it was no fun but now i have a whole other prospective Grammar is now one of my favorite subjects. Thanks so much!(78 votes)
- @David - Video is great and accurate but couldn't it be that the use of
to bemight be a bit confusing to non-native speaking learners? Since some languages rely on inflection and the verb
to bedoes not co-opted into verb tenses, I wrote up a short explanatory page. I can edit it if you think of anything that would add more clarity.
- can every verb have more than one helping verb?(11 votes)
- I just randomly had a thought, is "before was was was, was was was" a sentence?(6 votes)
- If you mean it like this, yes:
Before 'was' was 'was', 'was' was 'was'.
It works because the word 'was' is a noun, while the was in the middle acts as a verb. However... the sentence not very logical, because it's saying that before something existed, it existed.
Anyway, nice work - this is pretty clever!(9 votes)
- Why is to be an action, linking, and helping verb?(3 votes)
- Hi @dchung21! Hmm, this is a tough one. I wouldn't consider "to be" an action verb. It's more a state of being. Even in the famous quote from Hamlet, "To be or not to be," Hamlet is suggesting a state of being (being alive) rather than a specific action.
In terms of linking and helping verbs: Helping verbs help establish certain facts about a sentence, often when they are happening in time. Like the example in the video, "Brian is eating a pizza," the helping verb helps place this action in the present progressive (it's happening right now). For linking verbs, the "to be" form serves as a way to link ideas, like "to be" hungry. Another example from the video: the bear "is hungry."
So the "to be" verb can link ideas and can help us situate actions in time, but I'd argue it's not really an action on its own. Let me know if you have questions!(3 votes)
- So a linking verb basically just connects subjects and objects?(3 votes)
- What about contractions? Take for example, "haven't". Why is the "have" part in that contraction a helping verb and not the "n't"?(3 votes)
- "n't" cannot be the helping verb because "not" is an adverb and not a verb.
"Have" is the only verb out of the two which is why it is the helping verb in the contraction "haven't"(3 votes)
- Is "had been" used for anything else except, to express that "something was happening but got stopped at one point" ??(3 votes)
- So technically the words have, had, and will are helping verbs?(1 vote)
- Which tense is the "has eaten" and "ate"?
Actually, I know that "ate" is past tense but I am confused about the "has eaten"(3 votes)
- Ate is the past tense form, as in I ate macaroni last night. Eaten is the past participle form and is used to form the perfect verb tenses, as in She has eaten every flavor of ice cream they offer (present perfect tense) and She had eaten every ice cream flavor before they added five new ones (past perfect tense).(1 vote)
- [Voiceover] Hello grammarians! Now, we've already talked about how verbs can show actions and link concepts, and today I'd like to talk about a third function of the verb, which is helping other verbs. Now we call this the helping verb, you may have heard it called that, or the auxiliary verb. These are just two words for the same thing, auxiliary is just a more Latin way to say helping, that's all it means. Now I've brought along an image of my friend Brian to help explain this principle. What helping verbs are is really just inflected forms of the verbs to have, and to be. And as we get deeper into the verb, I'll explain what each one means in each one of its different versions, but for now, suffice it to say, I'm just gonna throw out some examples, just so you can see what it means for a helping verb to be a helping verb. So the specific way in which helping verbs help is that they establish certain facts about a sentence, usually when they're happening in time. And we'll get more and more into that as we get more into tenses and aspect, but I just wanna give you some examples. So, here we have Brian is eating a pizza. Brian and I love pizza, we used to eat a lot of pizza. Brian has eaten a pizza. Brian was eating a pizza. And, finally, Brian had been eating a pizza. So the presence of all these helping verbs has different effects depending on which ones you use. And, as I said, we'll get into those later, but, just for a brief overview, for example, let's see, Brian is eating a pizza, that suggests that it's going on now. Brian has eaten a pizza, that means he had done it, it's over, in the past. Brian was eating a pizza, which means he was in the middle of eating a pizza when something happened. And, finally, Brian had been eating a pizza. So he was doing it, and then he stopped at some point in time. And this is just the most basic introduction to helping verbs. So, verbs can show actions, verbs can link concepts, verbs can help other verbs. You can learn anything. David out.