What are helping verbs?


Quick Answer

Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, occur before main verbs to modify meanings and to create the progressive and perfect tenses. Depending on the method of counting, between 13 and 26 helping verbs exist in English. The most prominent of these include "be," "will," "have" and "do."

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Full Answer

Helping verbs are divided into primary and modal helping verbs. The primary helping verbs consist of "be," "have" and "do," inclusive of the various forms of "be," such as "is" and "are." Modal helping verbs include "will," "can," "may" and "must."

An example of a helping verb is the word "will" in the sentence, "I will drive to the store." In this sentence, "drive" is the main verb.

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