Helping Verbs List with Useful Examples and Usage

Helping Verbs List with Useful Examples and Usage

Helping Verbs List with Examples: Understanding the concept of helping verbs is essential for mastering English grammar. Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, work in conjunction with main verbs to express various tenses, moods, voices, and aspects in a sentence.

helping verbs list, list of helping verbs

In this article, we will present you with an extensive helping verbs list, accompanied by clear examples, to help you master their usage and elevate your command of the English language. So let’s dive in and explore the world of helping verbs together.

24 Common Helping Verbs With Examples

Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, are used in conjunction with the main verb to express various tenses, moods, voices, and aspects in a sentence. Here are 24 common helping verbs with examples:

  1. am: I am going to the party.
  2. is: He is reading a book.
  3. are: They are playing soccer.
  4. was: She was studying all night.
  5. were: We were at the park.
  6. be: You should be careful.
  7. being: He is being silly.
  8. been: They have been waiting for hours.
  9. have: I have completed my homework.
  10. has: She has written a letter.
  11. had: They had already eaten dinner.
  12. do: I do my homework every day.
  13. does: He does his chores regularly.
  14. did: They did a great job.
  15. can: She can sing beautifully.
  16. could: I could swim when I was younger.
  17. shall: We shall go for a walk.
  18. should: You should apologize.
  19. will: They will arrive soon.
  20. would: She would like some tea.
  21. may: You may leave now.
  22. might: He might come later.
  23. must: We must finish this project.
  24. ought to: They ought to be more respectful.

These examples demonstrate how helping verbs can modify the meaning of the main verb and express different aspects of the action, such as tense, mood, possibility, obligation, and more.

Primary Helping Verbs List with Examples

Primary helping verbs include “be,” “have,” and “do.” They can function as main verbs as well as helping verbs, depending on the context.

1. “Be” Verbs:

am, is, are, was, were, been, being

The “be” verbs indicate the state of being or existence and are used to form continuous tenses, passive voice, and more.


  • She is running in the park. (Present continuous tense)
  • The book was written by Jane. (Passive voice)

2. “Have” Verbs:

have, has, had

The “have” verbs indicate possession, experience, or obligation. They are used to form perfect tenses and can also function as main verbs.


  • They have completed their homework. (Present perfect tense)
  • I had already eaten dinner when she arrived. (Past perfect tense)

3. “Do” Verbs:

do, does, did

The “do” verbs are used to form questions, negatives, and emphatic statements. They can also function as main verbs.


  • Do you like chocolate? (Question)
  • He didn’t finish his assignment. (Negative)

Modal Helping Verbs List with Examples

Modal helping verbs, also known as modal auxiliaries, are a type of auxiliary verb that combine with the base form of a main verb to express various shades of meaning such as possibility, necessity, ability, permission, and obligation. Here is a list of modal helping verbs along with examples and their typical usages:

1. Can:

  • Example: She can swim.
  • Usage: Expresses ability or possibility.

2. Could:

  • Example: I could go to the party if I finish my work.
  • Usage: Indicates past ability or possibility, or polite requests.

3. May:

  • Example: You may borrow my book.
  • Usage: Indicates permission or possibility.

4. Might:

  • Example: He might arrive late.
  • Usage: Expresses possibility or uncertainty.

5. Must:

  • Example: We must finish the project by tomorrow.
  • Usage: Expresses necessity or obligation.

6. Shall:

  • Example: Shall we go for a walk?
  • Usage: Used in questions or suggestions, especially in British English.

7. Should:

  • Example: You should eat your vegetables.
  • Usage: Indicates advice, recommendation, or obligation.

8. Will:

  • Example: They will arrive at 8 o’clock.
  • Usage: Expresses future actions, promises, or willingness.

9. Would:

  • Example: She would like a cup of tea.
  • Usage: Indicates polite requests, preferences, or hypothetical situations.

10. Ought to:

  • Example: You ought to apologize for your behavior.
  • Usage: Expresses obligation or duty.

11. Need:

  • Example: He needs to finish his homework.
  • Usage: Indicates necessity or obligation.

12. Have to:

  • Example: We have to leave early tomorrow.
  • Usage: Expresses necessity or requirement.

13. Dare:

  • Example: She dare not speak up.
  • Usage: Expresses challenge or defiance.
It’s important to note that the usage and meaning of modal helping verbs can vary depending on the context and sentence structure.

Additional Helping Verbs List with Examples

Here are some additional helping verbs list:

1. “Will” and “Would”:

“Will” and “would” can function as both modal verbs and helping verbs. They are used to express future actions, intentions, willingness, or unreal situations.


  • I will call you later. (Future action)
  • If I won the lottery, I would travel the world. (Unreal situation)

2. “Would Have,” “Could Have,” “Should Have,” etc.:

These verb combinations are used to indicate past unrealized possibilities, regrets, or missed opportunities.


  • She would have passed the exam if she had studied harder. (Past unrealized possibility)

3. “Need” and “Ought to”:

“Need” and “ought to” express necessity, obligation, or recommendation. They can function as both main and helping verbs.


  • You need to finish your work before leaving. (Necessity)
  • She ought to apologize for her behavior. (Recommendation)

4. “Used To”:

“Used to” is used to express past habits or actions that are no longer true or relevant in the present.


  • I used to live in London. (Past habit)

5. “Dare” and “Needn’t”:

“Dare” and “needn’t” can function as both main and helping verbs. They express permission, necessity, or lack of necessity.


  • You needn’t worry about it. (Lack of necessity)
  • How dare you speak to me like that? (Permission)

6. “Seem” and “Appear”:

“Seem” and “appear” express a subjective judgment or impression about something.


  • She seems happy with her new job. (Subjective judgment)
  • The weather appears to be getting warmer. (Impression)

Here are a few more helping verbs to add to this list:

7. “Get” Verbs:

get, got, gotten

The “get” verbs can function as helping verbs in certain contexts, indicating a change of state, achievement, or an action performed intentionally.


  • I got my car repaired yesterday. (Change of state)
  • She has gotten better at playing the piano. (Achievement)

8. “Keep” Verbs:

keep, kept

The verb “keep” can serve as a helping verb, expressing the continuation or duration of an action.


  • Keep studying, and you will improve. (Continuation of action)
  • I have kept this book for a long time. (Duration of possession)

9. “Let” Verb:

The verb “let” functions as a helping verb when it is used to form the imperative mood or to express permission.


  • Let us go to the park. (Imperative mood)
  • She let her sister borrow her car. (Permission)

10. “Seem” and “Tend”:

“Seem” and “tend” can function as helping verbs to express likelihood, probability, or inclination.


  • It seems that she is not feeling well. (Likelihood)
  • He tends to procrastinate when it comes to deadlines. (Inclination)

11. “Become” Verb:

The verb “become” can function as a helping verb, indicating a change in state or transformation.


  • She has become a successful entrepreneur. (Change in state)


Understanding the various helping verbs and their usage is crucial for constructing grammatically correct and nuanced sentences. This comprehensive list of helping verbs provides you with a solid foundation to enhance your English language skills. By mastering the appropriate usage of these verbs, you can communicate effectively and express your thoughts with precision.

Remember to practice using helping verbs in different contexts to reinforce your understanding. With time and practice, you will become proficient in incorporating these essential elements into your writing and conversation.

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