Grammar » B1+ Grammar lessons and exercises » Auxiliary verbs – different uses
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  • Auxiliary verbs – different uses

    Exercise 1

    Choose the correct option to complete the sentences below.

    1 A: I've never seen anything like this before. B: Neither I.

    2 A: I had very good marks this term. B: ? That's great!

    3 A: Let's go to the movies, ? B: OK, and after the cinema we could go for a drink somewhere.

    4 A: She doesn't eat meat; I think she is a vegetarian? B: She meat, but not very often.

    5 A: She wants to buy a new house but he .

    6 A: We should finish before we leave, we? B: Yes, we can't leave until we finish.

    7 A: I used to play rugby when I was younger. B: ? I didn't know that about you.

    8 A: Were they living in London when he got the job overseas? B: Yes, they .

    9 A: I wouldn't ever do that to him. B: ? Well, that's good to know.

    10 A: You didn't do the dishes last night. B I the dishes; these aren't the dishes from last night.


  • Use auxiliary verbs:

    To agree using so and neither

    Grammar chart for using 'so' and 'neither' with auxiliary verbs in English, showcasing affirmative and negative agreement.

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    We use auxiliary verbs with so and neither to show agreement with something that has been said without having to repeat the same verb.

    We use so + auxiliary verb + subject to agree to affirmative sentences.

    • A: ‘I love jazz.’  B: ‘So do I.’
    • A: ‘I’ll try again.’  B: ‘So will I.’
    • A: ‘Tom has already finished.’  B: ‘So has Gina.’

    We use neither/nor + auxiliary verb + subject to agree to negative sentences.

    • A: ‘I’m not going to accept the invitation.’  B: ‘Neither am I.’
    • A: ‘I can’t concentrate.’  B: ‘Nor can I.
    • A: ‘I didn’t like the food’  B: ‘Neither did I.’
    • I couldn’t find the solution, and neither could my wife

    If there is an auxiliary verb in the previous sentence, we use the same verb to agree. If there is no auxiliary verb in the previous sentence, we use do or did.

    To disagree

    We use (Yes,/No,) + subject + auxiliary verb to show disagreement. If the verb in the previous sentence or clause is positive, we use a negative auxiliary, and vice versa.

    • A: ‘I’m not going to accept the invitation.’   B: ‘I am.
    • A: ‘I didn’t like the food’   B: ‘I did.’
    • I couldn’t find the solution, but my wife could.
    • A: ‘You will be here before midnight.’    B: ‘No, I won’t.’

    To avoid repetition

    We use auxiliary verbs to avoid repeating the same verb or verb phrase in a sentence.

    If the first part contains an auxiliary verb, we use the same verb in the second part.

    • I don’t like going to spas, but my wife does
    • I thought I had lost my keys, but I hadn’t.
    • Tom can play the guitar, and Tina can’t.  
    • She has never had to face such difficulties, but I have.

    If the first part doesn’t contain an auxiliary verb, we use do or did in the second part.

    • She shares your opinion, but I don’t.
    • Some wanted to go on with the plan, but others didn’t.

    In reply questions

    We use reply questions to show interest or surprise. In the reply question, we use the same auxiliary verb as in the previous sentence.  If there is no auxiliary verb in the previous sentence, we use do or did. If the verb in the previous sentence is positive, the reply question is positive, and if the verb in the previous sentence is negative, the reply question is also negative

    • A: ‘Sarah hasn’t passed the exam.’   B: ‘Hasn’t she? I thought she would pass it.’
    • A: ‘I won’t be able to be there.’   B: ‘Won’t you? That’s a shame.’
    • A: ‘I can find the answer without using a calculator.’   B: ‘Can you? That’s amazing!’
    • A: ‘She left without saying goodbye.’   B: ‘Did she? That’s very rude.’ 

    To show emphasis

    When we want to add emphasis to a verb, we often stress the auxiliary verb, if there is one, when we speak.

    • A: ‘Why aren’t you going to the party?’   B: ‘I am going to the party.’ (We stress am)

    However, we can’t do this in present and past simple affirmative sentences because we don’t use an auxiliary verb in those sentences. What we do in those cases is use do/does (present) or did (past) before the main verb.

    • A: ‘Why didn’t you go to the party?’   B: ‘I did go to the party.’

    We normally show this emphasis when we want to contradict what somebody says.

    • A: ‘Sally doesn’t speak Spanish.’   B: ‘She does speak Spanish. She lived in Spain for two years.’
    • A: ‘You didn’t say sorry.’   B: ‘I did say sorry, but he didn’t hear me.’
    • A: ‘You don’t want to save our marriage.’   B: ‘I do want to save our marriage, but you don’t let me try.’

    In question tags

    Informative grammar chart demonstrating how to form question tags in English, with examples for positive and negative statements across different verb tenses and modal verbs.

    Download full-size image from Pinterest

    We can use a question tag at the end of a sentence to ask for confirmation or to check information that we think is true. If the verb in the sentence is positive, we use a negative auxiliary verb in the question tag. If the verb in the sentence is negative, we use a positive auxiliary verb in the question tag.

    • He is from Liverpool, isn’t he?
    • You have done this before, haven’t you?

    In the question tag, we use the same subject that appears in the sentence, but always in the form of a personal pronoun: I, you, he, she, it, etc.  We also use the same auxiliary verb as the main verb in the sentence. If there is no auxiliary verb in the sentence, we use do or did in the question tag.

    • Lisa went by train, didn’t she?
    • The shops are closed today, aren’t they?
    • You don’t have a car, do you?

    There are some cases when the question tag takes a special form:

    • I am a bad person, aren’t I(I am  aren’t I?)
    •  Open the window, will you? (Requests ⇒ will you?)
    • Let’s go to the park, shall we(Suggestions ⇒ shall we?)
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