Auxiliary verbs are known as helping verbs because they add functional or grammatical meaning to the clauses in which they appear.

There are three main auxiliary verbs: have, be and do.


A main verb indicates an action (run, read, write, drink, etc.).

An auxiliary verb accompanies the main verb in different verb phrases but it can also stand alone, functioning as a state verb (verbs that express a state and not an action).



  • Rachel has a new friend. (state verb)
  • Mary has finished her exams. (auxiliary verb)


  • John does his homework regularly. (action verb)
  • Mary doesn’t study every day. (auxiliary verb)


  • Mary is happy. (state verb)
  • John is studying at the moment. (auxiliary verb)