Unit 3: THE VERB

The verb of a sentence can be:

one word - He works in an office

two words - He is working in the office

three words - He has been working in the office

or even four words - He must have been working in the office

In the sentences above, work (works and working) is an example of a LEXICAL VERB. Lexical verbs give basic information. Every simple sentence has one lexical verb in it.

In the sentences above, the words between He and work are examples of AUXILIARY VERBS. There are not many auxiliary verbs. They are: do, have, be, can, could, will, would, shall, should, may, might, must.

They are very important because we can use them together with lexical verbs. For example:


Where [a] shall I [l] meet you?

[a] Is John [l] coming to the party? No, he [a] is not.

He [a] does not [l] like parties, [a] does he?

[a] Have they [l] finished? Yes, they [a] have.

We use auxiliary verbs to:

To learn about do, have, be as auxiliaries, look at Unit 17.

The other auxiliaries are called MODAL VERBS. You can learn about them in Unit 27.

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Exercise 3.1