Linking and helping auxiliary verbs

In English grammar, “Helping and linking auxiliary verbs” play greater role in forming tense, expressing state or condition, and guiding actions of main verb. By, this means, auxiliaries construct better meaning of a given sentence. For more, let’s know something about helping and linking auxiliary verbs.

Meaning and examples of linking auxiliary verbs

Linking auxiliary means to link or connect. These are used neither to express mood nor voice or state of actions.

But, they are used to describe subject in the form of complement. Here, complement means a word or phrase used to give meaning for subject, object or others. 

Simply, linking auxiliary connects subject with its description.

Generally, linking auxiliary is placed after subject about which they are going to describe. In this way, linking auxiliaries also play the role of “main verb”.

These verbs do not express actions, nor come with action verbs but show state, conditions of the subject.

Examples of linking auxiliary verbs

  1. Present tenselinking auxiliaries–Am, Is, and Are,
  2. Past tenselinking auxiliaries– Was, Were,
  3. Otherlinking verbs– feel, look, seem, become, appear, taste, act, get, be, being, been, etc.

Examples of linking auxiliaries in sentences

  • He is optimistic about his result.

Here, just raise a question –who? Obviously, the answer would be “He”

It means that “is” auxiliary verb describes the state of subject in the form of subject complement.

  • It seems too difficult to achieve. In this sentence, “seems” is the linking auxiliary.
  • Global warming looks big threat for mankind
  • Forest is dense and evergreen.
  • Water is the free endowment of nature.
  • Pollution is the product of human interventions.
  • They were badly exhausted at the end of the day.
  • It is the mighty nation.

Now, let’s see the meaning and examples of helping auxiliary verbs.

Meaning and examples of Helping auxiliary verbs

Unlike linking, helping auxiliary verbs are used to form tenses and voices but not moods. For expressing mood, there are modal auxiliaries that we learn in the next blogs.

Helping auxiliary verbs are placed before the verb to show state of actions of that verb. Most importantly, they changes theirs form according to the number and person.

These auxiliary verbs do not describe subject but express state of actions.

Examples of helping auxiliary verbs

  1. Beforms of present, past, and future tense – am, is, are, was, were, shall, will.
  2. Doforms in present and past tense – do, does, did.
  3. Haveforms of present and past tense – have, has, had.

These are forms of helping verbs according to tense, number, and person.

Examples in sentences

  • Water is flowing through the deep valley.

In this sentence, “is auxiliary” gives additional information about “Verb flow.” It is not describing the subject like in the linking auxiliary.

  • He has already finished his job.

In this example, “has” auxiliary is showing the perfect tense of third person singular subject “He”.

  • They have been chasing a horse since morning; but, the horse is still running. I think, it is going to defeat them.

All these sentences are useful to take better insight about the helping auxiliary verbs.


Linking auxiliary verbs are used to describe a state or condition of subject. Whereas, helping auxiliary verbs express state of actions of verbs.

Apart from both, modal auxiliaries are used to express possibilities, abilities, permission, and obligations.

Correct use of “but” and “yet”

Simple examples of degrees