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English Arts - Lessons

Main Verbs and Helping Verbs

Sometimes verbs are made up of more than one word. There is a main verb, and one or more words that are called helping verbs. Together they make the whole verb.

Whole Verb

Helping Verbs

Main Verb

had climbed

had

climbed

was seen

was

seen

can go

can

go

might have run

might have

run

must have been caught

must have been

caught

Here is a list of words often used as helping verbs:

can                 shall                  will                   may                  must

could              should              would               might

It reads like a poem!

Sometimes the words of a whole verb are separated from each other by words that are not part of the verb.

I did not run fast enough.  (whole verb: did run)

Mike was rapidly walking away.  (whole verb: was walking)

The separating words are never part of the verb.

Exercise:

Find the helping verbs and the main verbs in the sentences. Write HV about the helping verb, and MV above the main verb.

  1. We are going to the mall tomorrow.
  1. We have not finished our study of the solar system.
  1. Everyone had quietly gone to bed.
  1. It must have rained all night.
  1. We are going out for dinner after the play.
  1. I was writing a story at my desk.
  1. My brother is running in the track meet.
  1. Kate and I have never skated at the park.
  1. The small plane landed in the field.
  1. My Dad will go to Florida in  April.

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