Sunday, May 27, 2012


Auxiliaries are part of function words. According to Harford (1994), in linguistic, an auxiliary (also called helping verb, helper verb, auxiliary verb, or verbal auxiliary, abbreviated AUX) is a verb functioning to give further semantic or syntactic information about the main or full verb following it. In English, the main verb to make it have one or more of the following function: passive voice, progressive aspect, perfect aspect, modality, dummy or emphasis.
Helping verb such as will, shall, may, might, can, could, must, ought to, should, would, used to, need are used in conjunction with main verbs to express shades of time and mood. The combination of helping verbs with main verbs creates what are called verb phrases or verb string. In the opinion of Krohn (1990), modal auxiliaries do not change their form for person or number. That is, there is no-s form for the third person singular.
1.      uses of shall and will and should
         In the opinion of Burchfield (1996), shall is used to express the simple future for first person I and we, as in (1) I shall visit my uncle tomorrow. Will would be used in the simple future for all other persons, like (1) they will go to theater movie.
         Shall is often used in formal situations (legal or legalistic documents, minutes to meetings, etc.) to express obligation, even with third-person and second-person constructions. For example: (1) the board of directors shall be responsible for payment to stockholder. (2) The collegepresident shall report financial shortfalls to the executive director each semester.
         Should is usually replaced, nowadays, by would. It is still used, however, to mean “ought to” as in: (1) you really should not do that. (2) If you think that was amazing, you should have seen it last night.

2.      Uses Do, Does and Did
         In the simple present tense, do will function as an auxiliary to express the negative and ask questions. Does, however, is substituted for third-person, singular subjects in the present tense. The past tense did works with all persons, singular and plural. For example (1) I do not study at night. (2) she does not work here anymore. (3) Do you like bakso? (4) Does he work here?
         These verbs also work as “short answer,” with the main verb omitted. For example: (1) Does she work here? No, she does not.
         With “yes-no” questions, the form of do goes in front of the subject and the main verb comes after the subject.  For example: (1) Did your grandmother know Truman? (2) Do wildflower grow in your back yard?
         Frodesen and Eyring (1997) state that, forms of do are useful in expressing similarity and differences in conjunction with so and neither. For example (1) My wife hates spinach and so does my son. (2) My wife does not like spinach; neither do I.
         Do is also helpful because it means you do not have to repeat the verb. For example: (1) Larry excelled in language studies; so did his brother. (2) Anton studies as hard as his sister does.
         In the absence of other modal auxiliaries, a form of do is used in question and negative constructions known as the get passive. For example: (1) DidTorres get selected by the committee? (2) The audience did not get riled up by the politician.
3.      Uses of Have, Has and Had
         Frodesen and Eyring (1997) state that, forms of the verb to have are used to created tenses known as the present perfect and past perfect. The perfect tenses indicate that something has happened in the past; the present perfect indicating that something happened and might be continuing to happen, the past perfect indicating that something happened prior to something else happening.
         To have is also in combination with other modal verbs to express probability and possibility in the past. (1) As an affirmative statement, to have can express how certain you are that something happened (when combined with an appropriate modal + have + a past participle): “Georgia must have voted already.” (2) As a negative statement, a modal is combined with not + have + a past participle to express how certain you are that something did not happen: “Clinton might not have known about the gifts.” “I may not have been there at the time of the crime.” (3) To ask about possibility or probability in the past, a modal is combined with the subject +have + past participle: “could Clinton have known about the gifts?” (4) for short answers, a modal is combined with have: “Did Clinton know about this?” “I don’t know. He may have.” “The evidence is pretty positive. He must have.”
         To have (sometimes combined with to get) is used to express a logical inference such as: (1) it’s been raining all week; the basement has to be flooded by now. (2) He hit his head on the doorway. He has got to be over seven feet tall!
         Have is often combined with an infinitive to from an auxiliary whose meaning is similar to “must.” For example: (1) I have to have a car like that! (2) She has to pay her own tuition at collage. (3) He has to have been the first student to try that.
4.      Uses of Can and Could
         As a verb, we use can and could to show ability to do something. Hairston and Ruszkiewicz (1996) identify that, the modal auxiliary “can” is used to: (1) express ability (in the sense of being able to do something or knowing how to do something) for example: He can speak Spanish but he can’t write it very well. (2) Expression permission (in the sense of being allowed or permitted to do something) such as: Can I talk to my friends in the library waiting room? (Note that can is less formal that may. Also, some writers will object to the use of can in this context.) (3) Express theoretical possibility. For example: American automobile makers can make better cars if they think there’s a profit in it. While the modal auxiliary could is used to: (1) express ability in the past. Example: I could always beat you at tennis whet we were kids. (2) Express past or future permission. Such as: Could I bury my cat in your back year? (3) Express present possibility. For example: We could always spend the afternoon just sitting around talking. (4) Express possibility or ability in contingent circumstance. For example: If he student harder, he could pass this course.
5.      Can versus May
         Whether the auxiliary verb cancan be used to express permission or not –“Can I leave the room now?” [“I don’t know if you can, but you may.”]- depends on the level of formality of your text or situation. As Bernstein (1998) puts it in The Careful Writer, “a writer who is attentive to the proprieties will preserve the traditional distinction: can for ability or power to do something, may for permission to do it.
         The question is at what level you can safely ignore the “proprieties.” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, tenth addition, says the battle is over and cancan be used in virtually any situation to express or ask for permission. Most authorities, however, recommend a sticker adherence to the distinction, at least in formal situations.
6.      Uses of May and Might
         Hairston and Ruszkiewicz (19960 state that, two of the more troublesome modal auxiliaries are May and Might. When used in the context of granting or seeking permission, might is the past tense of may. Might is considerably more tentative that may. For example: (1) may I leave class early? (2) If I’ve finished all my work and I’m really quiet, might I leave early?
         In the context of expressing possibility, May and might are interchangeable present and future from and might + have + past participle is the past from: (1) She might be my advisor next semester. (2) She may be my advisor next semester. (3) She might have advised me not to take biology.
         To avoid confusing the sense of possibility in may with the implication of might, that a hypothetical situation has not in fact occurred. For instance, let’s say there’s been a helicopter crash at the airport. In his initial report, before all the facts are gathered, a newscaster could say that the pilot “may have been injured.” After we discover that the pilot is in fact all right, the newscaster can now say that the pilot “might have been injured” because it is a hypothetical situation that has not occurred. Another example: a body had been identified after much work by a detective. It was reported that “without this painstaking work, the body may have remained unidentified.” Since the body was, in fact, identified, might is clearly called for.
7.      Uses of Will and Would
         In certain context, will and would are virtually interchangeable, but there are differences. Notice that the contracted from ‘ll is very frequently used for will. Will can be used to express willingness, such as: (1) “I’ll wash the dishes if you dry.” (2) “We’re going to the movies. Will you join us?” It can also express intention (especially in the first person) such as: “I’ll do my exerciseslater on.” And prediction such as: (1)“specific: The meeting will be over soon.” Timeless such as: “Humidity will ruin my hairdo.” Habitual such as: “Theriver will overflow its banks every spring.” Would can also be used to express willingness. For example:” Would you please take of your hat?” It can also express insistence (rather rare, and with a strong stress on the word “would”): “Now you’ve ruined everything. You would act that way.” And characteristic activity such as: (1) “customary: After work, he would walk to his home in West Hartford.” (2) “typical (casual): She would cause the whole family to be late, every time.” In a main clause, would can express a hypothetical meaning: “My cocker spaniel would weigh a ton if I let her eat what she wants.” Finally, would can express a sense of probability such as: “I hear a whistle. That would be the five o’clock train.”
8.      Uses of Used to
         In the opinion of Fowler and Aaron (1995),  the auxiliary verb construction usedto is used to express an action that took place in the past, perhaps customarily, but now that action no longer customarily takes place. For example: We used to take long vacation trips with the whole family.
         The spelling of this verb is a problem for some people because the”-ed” ending quite naturally disappears in speaking: We yoostoo take long trips. But it ought not to disappearin writing. There are exceptions, though. When the auxiliary is combined with another auxiliary, did, the past tense is carried by the new auxiliary and the “_ed” ending is dropped. This will often happen in the interrogative such as: (1) Didn’t you use to go jogging every morning before breakfast? (2) It didn’t use to be that way.
         Used to can also be used to convey the sense of being accustomed to or familiar with something. For example: (1) The tire factory down the road really stinks, but we’re used to it by now. (2) I like these old sneakers; I’m used to them.
            Used to is best reserved for colloquial usage; it has no place in formal or academic text.

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