Verbs: Helping Verbs

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. Lesson ID: 12566

We all need help sometimes. We can't do everything ourselves. Even some verbs can't quite do their job without a little help. That's where little words like "do," "be," and "will," and others come in!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

What do you do to help others? If you can lend a helping hand, you can lend a helping verb!

  • Do you like helping others?
  • What kinds of things do you do to help?
  • Do you just do what is required of you or do you go above and beyond what is required?

Before you move on, if you overlooked or want to review the previous Verbs Related Lessons, please find them in the right-hand sidebar.

It is very important to go beyond what is required of you. It builds character so that your future employers will trust you to not only get the job done, but to do it extremely well.

A helping verb does just that — it helps the main verb express tense and voice. It makes the main verb more specific. The following is a list of the most common helping verbs:

  • do
  • does
  • did
  • has
  • have
  • had
  • is
  • am
  • are
  • was
  • were
  • be
  • being
  • been
  • may
  • must
  • might
  • should
  • could
  • would
  • shall
  • will
  • can

The following video will help you memorize the list of helping verbs. Stand up, and as you catch on to the words, sing along with the Helping Verbs Song - "ShouldaWouldaCoulda" – Ben Leddy:

Image - Video


  • Did you notice that some of the words you learned as linking verbs are also on this list of helping verbs?
  • How can you tell when it is being used as a linking verb or a helping verb?

Read the following two sentences to see if you can determine the difference:

The boy is brave. The boy is answering the phone.

In the first sentence, “is” is being used as a linking verb: “boy = brave.” In the second sentence, “The boy is answering the phone,” “is answering” is the complete verb. It explains the action the boy is taking.

When there are other verbs with the “be” verb, the other verb is probably a helping verb and not a linking verb. Practice telling the difference in this interactive. You must type either "helping verb" or "linking verb":

Image - Video

  • Can you tell the difference between a linking verb and a helping verb?

Remember, when checking to see if a word is a linking verb, you should be able to replace the verb with an equals sign and it should make sense.

Continue to the Got It? section, where you will practice some more.

Image - Button Next