Helping Verbs in English - How it Is Used with Examples

Do you often get confused about how to use main verbs and helping verbs in sentences? This article will help you with examples and all that you need to keep in mind when using helping verbs.

Table of Contents

What Is a Helping Verb?

In a sentence, the verb which is used along with the main verb or the principal verb that denotes the action done by the subject is called a helping verb. As the name suggests, a helping verb is a verb that helps another verb and is employed in a sentence to modify the tense, voice or mood of the sentence.

Definition of a Helping Verb

A helping verb is “a verb (as am, may, or will) that is used with another verb to express person, number, mood, or tense”, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

How to Use Helping Verbs with Examples?

To use helping verbs effectively, you should know how it is conjugated to represent a different tense, mood or voice. Have a look at the examples given below to understand how.

Examples:

  • I am going to speak at the inaugural ceremony tomorrow.
  • We are having spaghetti for dinner tonight.
  • What are you doing?
  • The children have been waiting to have ice cream.
  • The Pavilion Apartments was built by M & M Builders.
  • You cannot change your parents.
  • I did have an imaginary friend.
  • Do you need any help?
  • Were you feeling nervous when you were on stage?
  • Tony will take care of the students.

List of Helping Verbs of All Tenses

Here is a list of helping verbs and how they are conjugated to represent the different tenses.

Tense

Examples

Helping Verb

Present Continuous

Monica is making lasagna.

Is

Present Perfect

She has spoken to the Dean about it already.

Has

Present Perfect Continuous

Chandler has been smoking for an hour.

Has been

Past Continuous

Rachel was working at the cafe.

Was

Past Perfect

Ross had not worked at the museum for ten years.

Has not

Past Perfect Continuous

My friends had been wanting to come home for a while now.

Had been

Future Continuous

Phoebe will be playing the guitar at the party tomorrow.

Will be

Future Perfect

The plumber will have fixed all the pipelines in two days.

Will have

Future Perfect Continuous

The waitress will have been serving dinner for fifty people at this time tomorrow.

Will have been

Check Your Understanding of Helping Verbs

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate helping verb in the following sentences:

1. We _____ been waiting for our results for over a week.

2. I ______ meet someone soon.

3. We ______ going to be fine.

4. I just ________ stand your friends.

5. She _______ working as a teacher for four years now.

6. They ______ be reaching Chennai by 9 p.m.

7. _____ you still staying near Central Perk?

8. The flight ___________ arrived at the airport by 6 p.m. tomorrow.

9. You ________ looking very pretty.

10. The Prime Minister ______ giving the presidential address for the Republic day ceremony.

 

Check how far you have understood the concept of using helping verbs.

1. We have been waiting for our results for over a week.

2. I will meet someone soon.

3. We are going to be fine.

4. I just cannot stand your friends.

5. She has been working as a teacher for four years now.

6. They will be reaching Chennai by 9 p.m.

7. Are you still staying near Central Perk?

8. The flight will have arrived at the airport by 6 p.m. tomorrow.

9. You are/were looking very pretty.

10. The Prime Minister will be giving the presidential address for the Republic day ceremony.

Frequently Asked Questions on Helping Verbs in English

What are helping verbs?

In a sentence, the verb which is used along with the main verb or the principal verb that denotes the action done by the subject is called a helping verb. As the name suggests, a helping verb is a verb that helps another verb and is employed in a sentence to modify the tense, voice or mood of the sentence.

What is the definition of a helping verb?

A helping verb is “a verb (as am, may, or will) that is used with another verb to express person, number, mood, or tense”, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Give some examples of helping verbs.

Is, can, will, have, are, must, will be, do, had and has are some examples of helping verbs.

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