IELTS grammar. Lesson 8: Auxiliary verbs (do, have, be)

Auxiliary verbs are verbs do, have and be. This lesson will cover all the necessary information about auxiliary verbs that you need to know to succeed in IELTS.

This lesson will guide you through the theory about using auxiliary verbs (do, have, be) and show some common mistakes that you need to avoid.

To complete this lesson, read the theory in green box and do the exercises below.

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Do, be and have are called auxiliary verbs. In other words, they help us to change the main verb.

Do is used with the infinitive to make

  1. questions:
    • Do you agree? (Not are you agree.)
    • Why does he think so?
    • Did you write a message to me?
  2. negatives:
    • I don’t agree with this statement.
    • I didn’t find you at the party last night.

Do can also be used to make an emphasis:

  • I do think that animals should be protected (= I really think ...)

Be is used with -ing verbs to make the continuous tenses:

  • Sam is drinking tea.
  • I was walking along the road, when a heavy rain started to fall.

Have is used with the past participle to make the perfect tenses:

  • I have never been to Sydney.
  • Has Sam already prepared the dinner?

Avoid these common mistakes:

  • The auxiliary verb must agree with the main verb:
    Does your boyfriend smoke? (Not Do your boyfriend smoke?)
    Did you see the film yesterday? (Not Do you see the film yesterday?)

  • Don't use do in the questions or negatives if another auxiliary verb is used:
    Are you working today? (Not Do you are working)

Practice. Complete sentences using a correct auxiliary verb (if needed):

  1. I totally agree with you.
  2. What your mother tell you yesterday?
  3. Why people believe in aliens?
  4. I been to a theatre this week.
  5. she talking on the phone right now?
  6. you love snakes?
  7. Where he going?
  8. Where you been? I been waiting here for ages!
  9. When you going to renew your drivers license?
  10. worry, everything will be alright!

Choose the correct options:

  1. I ....... agree with this idea
    am not
    do not

  2. ....... you going to the cinema today?

  3. Sandy has a very strange hairstyle, but she ....... care what people think.

  4. Why ....... he leave the party last night?

  5. ....... you studying here?
    Do are