Main Verb and Helping Verb, Definition and Example Sentences

Main Verb and Helping Verb, Definition and Example Sentences





Main Verb and Helping Verb

In this lesson, we will take a closer look at main verb and helping verb. The main verb is also called a sentence or a basic verb. This statement means the existence of the verb, which is extremely important in the sentence. In general, the main verb shows the presence of the subject or what action he / she has taken. The main verbs can be used alone or in conjunction with an helping verb, also called the helping verb.

Helping verbs generally make aid and help as in their name. Different types of helping verbs support or encourage the main verbs in different ways. For example, we can show tense (when and where the actions are used), intention, possibility or ability. The primary helping verbs are ‘to do’, ‘to be’ and ‘to have’.




In order to better understand how and how helping verbs support parent verbs, it is necessary to consider the following examples:

  • Example: You are driving to the cinema.

In this example, the helping verb “are” (a form of the helping verb) is the “driving” in this example. This example is continuous at the present time. These verbs allow the listener or reader to know. When using ‘to be’ driving in different forms (for example, will drive, was driving and had been driving), an helping verb is always used to describe this main sentence.

Note: Helping verbs are important types of verbs that can help with the main verbs in a sentence by expanding the meaning of the sentence. However, details can be added to how time is transferred in a sentence. Consequently, helping verbs should be used to clearly form the most complex sentence. Helping verbs also clearly describe the time expressions used in the sentence. These verbs will also serve to convey complex meanings such as permission, expectation, probability, liability, direction and potential.

  • Example: Tomas did empty the trash.





In the sentence in this example, “did” (an example of the type ‘to do’), which can help, “empty” emphasizes the main verb. For example, if Tomas’s partner asked to take the trash out of the house and had already taken this action, he probably won’t say “I emptied the trash.” Instead, he says, “I did empty the trash.”

  • Example: Elisa had seen the dog before.

The verb “had” used here (to have form) is used to express the past perfect time. This shows that the action of the sentence occurred much earlier in the past. For example, if someone tells you a dog with the phrase “saw”, you might think that he has finished watching the dog. However, if they say this with the phrase “had seen”, you know that he saw the dog earlier.

Helping Verbs as Main Verbs

As stated before, the main verbs cannot be action verbs in any case. In some cases, they can also express the presence of a possible subject. In such cases, the main verbs are called helping verbs because they link their subjects to information related to their existence (also known as the actual complement). Let’s take a closer look at the following examples:

  • Example: Starting to write with a pencil, Tom was very handsome.

Note: The main verb “was” refers to the state of existence (i.e. handsome), not what Tom did.

  • Example: Susanna is a doctor at the generally hospital.

Note: In this example, the main verb ‘is’ associates the subject (Susanna) with its complement “a doctor”.

  • Binding Verb Tip: It can be extremely useful to think of binding verb types as equal terms. If there is an equal sign in a sentence for the main verb and this is a logical action, the main verb is a bond verb.
  • Important Rule: The most important rule to keep in mind is that the verb phrases in a main sentence should not contain more than three helping verbs. The fact that verbs can help when used properly will do some of the most complex work in English verb sentences. The more complex aspects of the perfect and progressive should be approached by people who could already have advanced knowledge of the English sentence structure. For those who learn a second language (such as English), helping verbs can create certain problems in some cases, and must therefore be studied in detail after a solid foundation.




Intransitive and Transitive Main Verbs

Main verbs that can take objects are transitive. In order to understand whether a main verb is transitive in practice, we ask “what, who” questions to the main verb. The main verb is transitive if we can address these questions, the main verb is transitive if we cannot. Another method is the following: If we can bring the pronoun “her” to the main verb, the verb is transitive, if we cannot, the verb is transitive. For example:

  • I hear you (Transitive verb)
  • How nice this place smells. (Intransitive verb)

Note: For a verb to be transitive, it is not absolutely necessary to have an object in the sentence. Even if there is no object in the sentence, the sentence can be transitive. The important thing is whether we can ask “what, who” questions.


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