Cover Page ofThe Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
Table of ContentsWriting TimelineHelpCredits

Section 11.3.4

Auxiliary Verbs

An auxiliary verb is a helping verb used to express tense, mood, or voice. The auxiliaries include have (has,had),be (am, is, are, was, were), do (does/did), and the modal auxiliaries (such as must, can, will, andshould).


Some researchers assert that clockless processors willsoon become cheaper, more reliable, more energy efficient, and easier to designthan chips based on today's prevailing technology.

--W. Wayt, "Turning Back the Clock," Scientific American(modified)


Auxiliary verbs differ from other verbs in the way they arenegated and in the positions they may occupy in thesentence.

Negation and Auxiliary Verbs

You can negate a sentence or clause by placing thefirst auxiliary verb before the negative word not.


Virtually every developing country can point to examples of dilapidatedwind pumps or photovoltaic power systems that either did not work orcould not be repaired with local materials.

--Daniel Kammen, "Cookstoves for the Developing World," ScientificAmerican


If you use more than one auxiliary verb in a verb phrase, place only the firstauxiliary verb before not; place the rest after not.


Unacceptable

If transistors had been not developed during the firsthalf of this century, the world in which we live would be drastically differenttoday.

Acceptable

If transistors had not been developed during the firsthalf of this century, the world in which we live would be drastically differenttoday.


You can negate a sentence or clause that does not contain an auxiliary verb byintroducing the auxiliary do before not.


Unacceptable

The planet Mercury tilts not, so it does not haveseasons.

Acceptable

The planet Mercury does not tilt, so it does not haveseasons.

--"Take It or Leave It," Valley Comic News (modified)


Remember that there are two have verbs, one an auxiliary and one a mainverb. The auxiliary have is associated with perfect tense. The main verb have refers topossession, obligation, or causation. You can place only the auxiliaryhave before not; the main verb have must be negatedwith do.


Unacceptable

The planet Mercury does not tilt, so it has notseasons.

Acceptable

The planet Mercury does not tilt, so it does not haveseasons.

--"Take It or Leave It," Valley Comic News (modified)


Where Auxiliary Verbs Can Appear in aSentence

Auxiliary verbs can appear before the subject of asentence if inverted word order is called for (as inquestions, for instance).


How can physicists seek the massive particles that givelogic and symmetry to theories of the fundamental elements of matter?

--David B. Kline, "Low Energy Ways to Observe High-Energy Phenomena,"Scientific American


Reference Link Text
## Auxiliary Verbs ##
Reference Link Text

[ Home | Table of Contents| Writing Timeline | Index |Help | Credits]

Copyright ©2001 The McGraw-Hill Companies. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. McGraw-Hill Higher Education is one of the many fine businesses of
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
.
Corporate Link