Unit 3: THE VERB
The verb of a sentence can be:
one word - He works in a hospital
two words - He is working in the hospital
three words - He has been working in the hospital
or even four words - He must have been working in the hospital
In the sentences above, work (works and working) is an example of a LEXICAL VERB. Lexical verbs give basic information. Every simple sentence has one lexical verb in it.
In the sentences above, the words between He and work are examples of AUXILIARY VERBS. There are not many auxiliary verbs. They are: do, have, be, can, could, will, would, shall, should, may, might, must.
They are very important because we can use them together with lexical verbs. For example:
Where [a] shall I [l] meet you?
[a] Is John [l] getting a flu shot? No, he [a] is not.
He [a] does not [l] like shots, [a] does he?
[a] Have they [l] finished? Yes, they [a] have.
We use auxiliary verbs to:
- make a negative sentence (Unit 5)
- make a question (Unit 9)
- give a short answer (Unit 11)
- make a tag question (Unit 12)
- make passive sentences (Unit 43)
- show what we feel about what we are saying (Unit 27)
- and in continuous and perfect verb formations (Unit 15)
To learn about do, have, be as auxiliaries, look at Unit 17.
The other auxiliaries are called MODAL VERBS. You can learn about them in Unit 27.