Modal Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verbs

A verb which helps another verb with respect to formation of its tense, voice or specific meaning is known as an auxiliary verb.
Auxiliary verb are of two types: Primary Auxiliary Verbs and Model Auxiliary Verbs.

Primary Auxiliary Verb
To be: am, is are, was, were, shall, will, being, been
Formation of the progressive tense, passive voice.
To have: have, has, had,
Formation of the perfect tense
To do: do, does, did
Formation of interrogation and negation, emphasis, request, invitation


1. They are enjoying themselves in the garden. (Progressive tense)

2. The car was being repaired by the man. (Passive voice)

3. The computer has completed its task. (Perfect tense)

4. Do you know that? (Interrogation)

5. I did not buy any papers today. (Negation)

6. We did check all the cabin. (Emphasis)

7. Do come with me to the cinema. (Request)

Model Auxiliary Verb
Ability, Informal permission, possibility
Ability, Informal permission, possibility
Formal permission, possibility, expression of wish
Formal permission, possibility
Future action, command, compulsion, formal request
Future action, determination, threat, promise intension, wish, invitation.
Duty/ obligation, advice, condition approval.
Habitual action, polite request, wish, refusal, determination, invitation.
Compulsion, determination, duty/obligation.
Moral obligation, advice
Have to
Compulsory obligation

Examples to understand.

1. I can study well in quite hall. ability

2. Can I see your beautiful eyes. Informal permission.

3. He could not survive in such a critical situation. inability

4. Could I have this letter typed? Polite request.

5. You may enter the room. Formal permission.

6. I may go to Pune next week. Possibility

7. I might rain this evening. Probability

8. We shall watch a film this evening. Future action.

9. Shall i get you a cup of tea? Informal request.

10. You shall not leave until I permit you to do so. Command.

11. You must remain silent. Compulsion.

12. We ought to respect our senior citizens. Duty/obligation.

13. He dared to face the consequences. Courage.

14. She needs to fill in this form. Necessity.

15. My father has to go to office on Sundays too. Compulsive obligation.

16. You shouldn't talk so impolitely. Obligation.

17. Would you care for a continental meal? Formal request.

18. Ajith would go out jogging every morning. Habitual request.

19. The students would not admit their fault. Determination/ refusal

20. Father would like a cup of coffee. Formal request.

Identify the auxiliary verb and state its functions:

1.I don’t  know exactly how much it costs.

2. we’ ll settle up when you get back.

3. But I couldn’t find it.

4. Parking was prohibited.

5. It was not commercially economic to grow it.

6. It will produce certain volatile oils.

7. He had to consult many  scholars.

8. She dose not give up easily even when the odds are against her.

9. She would do well  to practise a little more.

10. India has committed itself  to reducing its carbon emissions by 20-25 per cent by 2020.

11. Power shortages  could be the single biggest factor to derail  the country from its high- growth trajectory.

12. Solar water heaters  can save enough electricity  to pay back for their cost in three to five years.

13. The government has launched  the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC ) mechanism.

14.We had to borrow from a lady, who was a housemaid in Chaupati in Mumbai.

15.Few people realize that the application of these well tried methods can revolutionize more new departments of human life.

16.Before an idea or opinion can be accepted as truth, it must satisfy certain conditions.

17.It must be rational.

18.The idea or belief must be consistent with the knowledge already acquired.

19.Can faith take the place of reason, knowledge, hard work or right conduct in daily life.

20.Can you please take her home ?

21.Europe has forgotten it, whereas India still uses it.

22.It would not be as tasty.

23.Politicians dont really catch my attention.

24.I dont think it is a correct work ethic.

25.This however , does not last long and cannot be considered as mehendi in its true sense.


1.don’t  - to form negation

2.will  settle – to from the tense

3.Couldn’t – to show no possibility

4.was  - to form the tense

5.was – to form the tense

6.will – to form the tense

7.had  to – to show compulsive obligation

8.dose not – to from negation

9.would – to show possibility

10.has committed –to from the tense

11.could – to show possibility

12.can –to  ability

 13.has launched – to form the tense

14.had to – to show compulsive obligation

15.can – to show possibility

16.can be –to show possibility

      Must – to show compulsion

17.must – to show compulsion

18.must – to show compulsion

19.can – to show ability

20.can – to show ability

21.has – form the tense

22.would – to show possibility

23.don’t – to form negation

24.don’t – to form negation

25.dose not – to form negation

Cannot – to show inability