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How to choose the right auxiliary
There are auxiliaries like "be" and "have", "the easy ones", and all the others that beginners learn and add as they improve their English. Of course, you have to put them in the affirmative form, then turn them into the interrogative and negative forms, then use them in « tags » and manipulate them quickly and correctly; let's not forget that we should know the full form and the reduced one as well. It doesn't always seem very easy, and most of the time, everything can be mixed up... but shouldn't!
We have already studied those that you find, at first, the most difficult ones: the do/ does/ did auxiliaries... test
Now, let's see the other ones...
The simple future and its auxiliaries will be studied in the first part. The other auxiliaries, following the same pattern will be studied quickly afterwards.
: I. THE FUTURE:
1 ) The affirmative form of verbs in the "simple future ": the verbs in the future follow the pattern: subject + shall/ will + complements.
- The kids will watch cartoons every day after school.
- Jesse and I will play tennis on Saturday afternoons.
2) Turn a verb in the future in the interrogative form: the auxiliary SHALL is used in the first persons (in the singular and plural). It then expresses a suggestion, an offer. WILL is used in the other persons according to the pattern:
SHALL/ WILL Auxiliary+ subject+ Verb Base+ complements+ ?
3) The negative form: we'll use the WILL auxiliary again and will add NOT following the pattern: Subject + WILL + not + base + compléments ; WILL NOT = WON'T...
- The kids won't watch cartoons every day after school.
- Jenny won't play tennis on Saturday afternoons but she'll play on Wednesday afternoons.
II) After studying WILL... let's see WOULD! Would expresses "a future in the past", but also the conditional with the imagination, and the uncertainty expressed by the context of the sentence. Would also expresses willpower:
- He said he would never accept your help.(future in the past = reported speech)
- He knocked and knocked, but she wouldn't open the door... (refusal, expression of willpower)
- Would you like a cake or a biscuit? (polite offer in the "conditional")
III) The HAVE/ HAD AUXILIARY: is certainly the most difficult one to handle... First, you have to determine if « have » is an auxiliary (which is what we're studying today!) or an ordinary verb (which is NOT!)
a) - He says he's an only child, but in fact, he has got a younger sister...
In the negative form, this sentence becomes: He says he's an only child and it's right, he hasn't got brothers or sisters.
In this case, “have“ is an auxiliary and behaves like one. ( subject/ verb inversion in the interrogative form; insertion of not between have and the past participle of the verb.)
b) - He says he's an only child, but in fact, he has a younger sister..
In the negative form, this sentence becomes: He says he's an only child and it's right, he does not have brothers or sisters.
Here, "have" is an ordinary verb needing an auxiliary (does) in order to be put in the negative.
c) As for the compound tenses, it's easier to determine: the auxiliary « have» is then followed by a past participle.
- Paul hasn't found the solution to the problem he has been working on for hours!
IV) MODAL AUXILIARIES : This is easy... They behave like the auxiliaries « be» and « have ».
Their interrogative form is done by the simple inversion of the subject and the verb and the negative form simply adding « not » : Can/could (capacity/ possibility) - May/might (eventuality/ permission) - Must (obligation/ interdiction// near certainty) – Should (advice/reproaches).
- In spite of her efforts she still cannot swim correctly. (physical incapacity)
- No! You may not take that phone to school; it's mine. (permission refused!)
- Should you really go now? I'd like you to stay a little more.(reproach)
You're now ready to take the test ! Good luck and thanks for working with me...
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