ABE English Tutorials/Simple sentences/helping verbs
More about Verbs:
In the last lesson, you were introduced to verbs. Many verbs are action verbs. These are verbs like: run, jump, slide, see, lift, give, worship. You can actually see, inside your head, an idea of somebody doing these things.
Other verbs are helping verbs. These are verbs like: have, can, might, is, would (for a longer list, see the box to the right). Sometimes you find these verbs by themselves, but most of the time they are with another verb:
- I was shopping last week.
- He had been coughing for a month.
- I am going to bed at 10 o'clock.
- My father must lose some weight.
- He doesn't like hamburgers.
- I am very tired.
- John is a tall man.
Can you pick out the whole verb (helper verb + action verb) in each of the following sentences?
- I was sitting on a red ant hill.
- Howard could eat 20 hamburgers.
- My mother might like a new car.
- The dog became excited about the smell.
Ready for the answers?
- He was sitting
- could eat
- might like
- became excited
Of course, some sentences have more than one helper verb. And some sentences have no action verbs at all. Sometimes the helper verb can be combined with the word "not"; as in don't (do not), doesn't (does not), won't (will not). For example, in the sentence:
She couldn't remember her phone number.
... the full verb is "couldn't remember". The word "of" is never a helping verb!
Incorrect: Marlene should of done her homework earlier in the day.
Correct: Marlene should have done her homework earlier in the day.
See if you can find the full verb in each of the following sentences:
- Carmen won't forget your birthday.
- The house has been empty for six months.
- Mike is my grandson.
- The weather could be getting colder tomorrow.
Here are the answers:
- won't forget
- has been
- could be getting
Sometimes when the sentence is a question, the two parts of a verb can get a word in between them. Here are some examples. The two parts of the verb have been bolded.
- Have you finished your supper yet?
- Did you want another cup of coffee?
- Couldn't you go to the store later on today?
Find the verbs in these questions:
- Can you wait for me a little longer?
- Will he be going to work today?
- Have the boys been good while I was gone?
Now for the answers:
- can wait
- will be going
- have been
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