Auxiliary Verbs

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Welcome to your Auxiliary Verbs lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• What is an auxiliary?
Other uses of auxiliary verbs
“So” and “Neither”
“I think so” and “I hope so”
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

What is an auxiliary?

Have a look at these examples of sentences:

Subject Auxiliary verb Main verb Compliment
James has climbed that mountain.
Marcus won’t work later.
We have tried black pudding.

In these examples, “has”, “won’t” and “have” are auxiliary verbs. They are basically words that tell us what tense someone is using.

You also use auxiliary verbs when you answer closed questions:

“Did you eat the beans?” “Yes I did.”

“Has she seen the film before?” “No, she hasn’t.”

Auxiliary verbs can also be used when you don’t want to repeat some information:

“She wanted me to cook, but I didn’t.”
(I didn’t cook.)

“Brian was working yesterday, but I wasn’t.”
(I wasn’t working.)

“You’re drinking my tea!” “No I‘m not!”
(I am not drinking your tea.)

Other uses of auxiliary verbs

Using auxiliaries in this way shows interest or surprise:

“I’ve just seen James.” “Oh, have you? How is he?”

“She never visits her grandmother.” “Doesn’t she? That’s terrible.”

“It rains all the time in the south.” “Does it? That’s surprising.”

“So” and “Neither”

Auxiliaries can also be used with “so” and “neither” to say that you are similar to the other speaker:

“I love sausages.” “So do I.”

“I don’t like horror films.” “Neither do I.”

“I have tasted black pudding.” “So has Jen, she loves it.”

“I am not going to work tomorrow.” “Neither am I.”

“I think so” and “I hope so”

These expressions are used when you don’t want to repeat information:

“Is she French?” “I think so.”
(I think that she is French.)

“Are you going to get the promotion?” “I hope so.”
(I hope that I will get the promotion.)

“Does he smoke?” “I think so.”
(I think that he smokes.)

You can also use expressions like “I guess so”, “I’m afraid so” etc.

Here are the negative forms:

I think so / I expect so I don’t think so / I don’t expect so
I hope so / I’m afraid so / I guess so I hope not / I’m afraid not / I guess not
I suppose so I don’t suppose so / I suppose not