Language Matters: The English Verb System (3a) - Auxiliary Verbs


NB: I am aware that the volume of the  presentation in this section is very low. On my computer it is just audible - better with headphones. Make sure your computer sound is set to maximum.

A. Auxiliary verbs, modal verbs, modality - isn't it all the same thing? 

Before you watch the video (approx 19 mins), make notes (check with a grammar or other reference sources if you need to) on the following :

a) What is an auxiliary verb? What can auxiliary verbs do that main verbs (also called lexical verbs) can't?
b) How many categories of auxiliary verb are there? What are the differences between them?
c) Is have to an auxiliary verb or a main verb? And what about ought toneedused tobe able to?
d) What do you understand by these terms : operator; catenative verb; periphrastic verb ?

Click on the link below to listen to the presentation (see the note above regarding the volume).

Auxiliary Verbs

B. Follow Up Reading

You may choose to do the reading for this section before working on the tasks in the next section, or while doing them. You should :
- check all the areas mentioned in the PPT presentation and the tasks in any grammar(s) or books on grammar you have access to. 
If you have access to it,  Lewis' The English Verb (Heinle) is particularly recommended.

In addition, the following may also be useful :

An ELT Notebook
Teaching Grammar - several of the articles in this section discuss auxiliary and semi-modal verbs.

C. Check your understanding

If you've looked at all the articles in this series so far (see also Tense and Time, and Aspect), you can now test your understanding with this quiz: So you think you know your verb forms?  It has 21 questions, and you'll see the correct answers when you submit your own. 

In the next part of this series, we'll go on to look at the meanings of the individual modal verbs