Forms of Helping Verbs

We use helping verbs (auxiliary verbs) with main verbs. The tables on this page show the forms of all helping verbs.

There are 2 groups of helping verbs:

1. Primary helping verbs

We use primary helping verbs to change the tense or voice of the main verb, and to make questions and negatives. There are only three primary helping verbs: do, have, be. These verbs can also function as main verbs. When we use them as helping verbs, here are the forms that we use:

base 3rd person singular present simple past simple
do does did
have has had
base present simple
(3 forms)
past simple
(2 forms)
present participle past participle
be am
are
is
was
were
being been
Look at these example sentences using primary helping verbs with main verbs:

2. Modal helping verbs

We use modal helping verbs to change the "mood" of the main verb. As you see, modal verbs have only one form each. They never change.

  invariable
modal verbs can
could
may
might
will
would
shall
should
must
ought to
semi-modal verbs need
dare
used to