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Grammatik auf Englisch - Was Hilfsverben können

Schlagwörter: Grammatik auf Englisch, Englisch Grammatik, Englische Grammatik, Englisch Grammar, Gramatik auf Englisch, Englisch Gramatik, Englische Gramatik, Englisch Grammar, Hilfsverben

Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, are those tiny verbs that appear before other verbs to clarify the meaning, mood, or tense of a sentence. In the context of ‘helping’, they have no formal meaning of their own.

At first glance, their use may seem straightforward. In truth, you should be aware of a number of nuances they bring along for the ride before putting them into action.

The main rules
If you’ve ever been dismayed by long strings of helping verbs in some of the past tenses, you’ll be happy to learn that English does place a limit on helping verbs:

They may only be used before the main verb
No more than three may be used per sentence

Primary helping verbs
Shall, will, and the forms of have, do, and be are known as primary helping verbs. They help change the time and voice of the main verb:

I shall meet you in the lobby.
Martin claimed he had served on the board of directors for five years.
Jim and Susan did complete their project on time after all.
We will be notified.
We’ve been partnering with Suspiro Products for more than ten years.
We are considering selling off that arm of the business.

In all such cases, the helping verbs are not really part of the main verb. They are part of the verb phrase in the sentence, which as a unit functions as a single verb. The result of using these verbs is to affect the time ( past, present, and future tense ) or voice ( active or passive ) of the sentence.
There are a few nuances you should be aware of.

Do is used to express negatives and form questions:

I don’t believe she married him.
Do you have a moment?
Do also serves to emphasize:
Do come in!
I do like my job. Really!

Person 1: You didn’t turn in your sales repor on time.
Person 2: Oh, but I did! Why don’t you have it?

You can also use do to express similarity, but the words so and neither are necessary for this:

My boss hates brown-nosers and so do I.
Susan didn’t offer a single opinion and neither did I.

Do is also useful for creating short answers because it allows you to avoid repeating the subject and verb in the question:

Did you remember to send off that proposal yesterday? No, I didn’t.
Did Tim manage to reach his boss yesterday to clarify the situation? No, he didn’t.

As you already know, have, has, and had help form many of the past tenses:

I have had trouble with that before.
Susan had been hoping to be promoted.

Modal helping verbs like can, could, may, and might ( we’ll review modal verbs next month ) function to convey a feeling of certainty, probability, or possibility in the past tenses:

I may have received your email, but I haven’t had a chance to check my mailbox yet.
The train must have left by now.
Lawrence might not have known about the software bug.
Could we have done anything to avoid this outcome?

Have can also express inference:

Martin’s presentation has to be complex given the subject.
The exits have to be well-placed since we’ve never had people jamming up at the door.

Shall, will, and should
Shall forms the first person of the simple future:

I shall be there promptly at 7

Will forms all other persons of the simple future:

We will see you there.

You can also use will in the first person, but it carries a nuance of commitment or confirmation:

I will be there promptly at 7.
I will see you there.

North American speakers use shall a bit differently. There, shall forms polite questions that have a nuance of asking for permission or seeking consensus:

Shall we leave now?
Shall we consider their offer or not?

North American speakers often use should instead of shall in this context:

Should we leave now?
Should we consider their offer or not?

The difference here is that should feels more tentative than shall. Should we leave now, for example, has the feeling of asking permission or making a suggestion. Shall we leave now has the feeling of assuming that it has been agreed to leave, and that the speaker is seeking confirmation that the leaving should be now.
Shall can also express obligation:

You shall not enter the room unescorted.
I shall be responsible for the financial aspects.

The British have a special but common use for should that in other parts of the world sounds very formal, and for this reason is rare outside the UK.

I should have thought that might happen.
I should imagine it’ll be mentioned in the news tomorrow.

Should functions in this context to express opinion. Other English speakers would skip should and instead shorten the sentence down to the main verb:

I thought that might happen.
I imagine it’ll be mentioned in the news tomorrow.

Schlagwörter: Grammatik auf Englisch, Englisch Grammatik, Englische Grammatik, Englisch Grammar, Gramatik auf Englisch, Englisch Gramatik, Englische Gramatik, Englisch Grammar, Hilfsverben

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