Which ones are the auxiliairies?

Hello everyone!

I am submitting the three sentences below. I need get some help from you about.

  1. I would have done something.

  2. You should be eating.

  3. We have been going to school.

  4. I had not been delivering te letters.

I would like you to ytell me how many auxiliaries, modals included, there are in each sentence and what tey are.

I thank you in advance.


Hi, how about you try to answer the question first and we tell you what you think later?

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Hi Torsten,

I thank you for your response. Well, I am unsure because but I am going to have a try.

In the sentence 1: I would have done something.
I think the auxiliary is would which is in fact a modal auxiliary while done is the verb do. I would say that have is an auxiliary or a verb which is in association with done (past participle of do).

In the sentence 2: You should be eating.
Should is also a modal auxiliary while be is a an auxiliary.

In the sentencde 3: We have been going to school.

In the sentence 4: I had not been delivering the letters.
The auxiliaries are had and been and delievring is the in-form of a verb. But I taught my pupils that we don’t use two auxliaries with a verb. The reason why I asked the question above and I also taught them that have and be are auxiliaries when they are used alone such as the following below.

  1. I was going to school.
  2. She has done her homwework.

They have also been taught about the sentence structure as follow.

Affirmative form: subject + auxiliary + verb

Negative form: subject + auxiliary + not + verb

Case 1: Auxiliary + subject + verb
Case 2: Auxialiary +subject + not + verb

Now I would like to teach them about the use of a modal and an auxialiry in a sentence like that:

Affirmative form: subject + modal + auxiliary + verb
eg: We should have eaten it.

Negative form: subject +modal + not + auxiliary + verb
eg: We should not have eaten it.

Case 1: Modal + subject + not + auxiliary + verb
eg: Should we have eaten it?

Case 2: Modal subject + auxiliary + not + verb
eg: Should we not have eaten it?


You are closer to the point.

As we know, English verbs have only two tense forms - Past and Present.

Except for the Past Simple and the Present simple, we need to have auxiliaries for a verbal. Each component of the verbal has a specific role assigned to it.

If we take the example ‘will have been going’ and parse it, we will find that will is a tense carrying auxiliary, have is a perfective aspect auxiliary, been is a supplementary perfective aspect auxiliary and going is a progressive participle indicating the main activity verb.


Hello and thank you for replying me.

I must confess that i have got lost a little for I am wondering how I could explain these to my little children I mean my younger pupils. They are in the sdifferent levels I mean from the firsqt to the fifth year oif their learning. And their age rank goes from 7 to 20.

Most pupils attend the English Club I run.


These grammatical nuances are a little too early and a bit difficult for learners who fall in the age range of 7 to 14. Let these children learn grammar in detail after they reach the 10th grade. Only then will they be able to digest it well!
Good luck.