Auxiliary Verbs: BE, HAVE, DO

These three verbs, which are also used as ordinary verbs with their own meaning, are widely used in English as auxiliary verbs. Be and have are used to form several tenses in English, while the forms do-does are used for the negative and interrogative of the simple present, and did for the simple past.


Be is used as an auxiliary:
  • In Progressive (Continuous) tenses.
  • In the passive form.
  • I am working in the office.
  • She was talking when he came in.
  • I will be arriving by plane at 10:50 tomorrow.
  • The butter is kept in the fridge.
  • The painting was stolen.


Have is used as an auxiliary in perfect tenses.
  • She has lived in London since 1987.
  • They had stopped for a drink when he telephoned.


Do & does are used as auxiliaries to form the interrogative and negative of ordinary verbs in the simple present tense, while did, followed by the basic form of the verb, is used in the Simple past tense.
  • Do you speak English?
  • Did Peter live in Hong Kong?
  • Does Helen know Peter?
  • I don't speak English.
  • Peter didn't live in Hong Kong.
  • Helen doesn't know Peter.
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Pers. BE
aff neg int neg?
I am I'm not am I aren't I*
YOU, WE, THEY are aren't Are you? aren't you?
HE (SHE, IT) is isn't is he? isn't you?

Pers. HAVE
aff neg int neg?
I (YOU, WE, THEY) have haven't have I haven't I
HE (SHE, IT) has hasn't has he? hasn't he?

Pers. DO
aff neg int neg?
I (YOU, WE, THEY) do don't Do I Don't I
HE (SHE, IT) does doesn't does he? doesn't he?

Pers. DID
aff neg int neg?
All persons did didn't did I didn't I