Definition of auxiliary verb in English:

auxiliary verb


  • A verb used in forming the tenses, moods, and voices of other verbs. The primary auxiliary verbs in English are be, do, and have; the modal auxiliaries are can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, and would.

    • ‘Most of the functions of the old subjunctive have been taken over by auxiliary verbs like may and should, and the subjunctive survives only in very limited situations.’
    • ‘Because in French there is no auxiliary verb corresponding to our English ‘did ’.’
    • ‘Such words include pronouns, auxiliary verbs, conjunctions, and prepositions.’
    • ‘On Block Two print auxiliary verbs, such as ‘should,’ ‘would,’ ‘might,’ ‘can,’ ‘will,’ and ‘did.’’
    • ‘Bosnian uses fewer auxiliary verbs than English, and Bosnian speakers may be puzzled by questions in English, in which the auxiliary verb comes before the subject, as in ‘Did you eat?’’