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to be

English grammar help. Grammar questions from ESL learners

Moderator: Alan

to be

Postby hanuman_2000 » Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:28 am

Sir,

The verb "to be" used ,without any main verb , may be considered as a main verb.


I am a doctor.

here verb "am" helping verb or main verb.

some one use "main verb" while other "ordinary verb".
What is difference between them.

Thanks.
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Postby Alan » Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:59 am

You seem to be confused about terminology: a MAIN verb is a finite verb, either the only or the first element in the verb phrase of a sentence, illustrated respectively by 'is' in

[1] He IS a doctor.

and

[2] The house IS cleaned every day .

Thus a main verb contrasts with a NONFINITE verb, such as 'being' in

[3] The food is BEING cooked.

The distinction to which you seem to be referring, however, is that between FULL verb and AUXILIARY verb, a quite different matter. When 'be' (or any form of it, finite or nonfinite) is complemented by a participle, it is termed an auxiliary verb, as in [2] and [3] above. Otherwise it is a full verb, as in [1].

Thus, as a main (or 'finite') verb it may be either full or auxiliary, and as a nonfinite verb it may equally be either full or auxiliary.
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