Auxiliaries – Definition & Meaning

Auxiliaries are an essential part of the English language. They are an integral part of the grammar, and their use can significantly impact the meaning of a sentence. In this article, we will discuss the definition and meaning of auxiliaries, their origin, associations, synonyms, antonyms, and provide examples of their usage.


Auxiliaries are verbs that are used in conjunction with other verbs to form various tenses, moods, and voices. They are also known as helping verbs. Auxiliaries are used to express grammatical relationships between the subject and the predicate. They help to clarify the tense, voice, and mood of the sentence.


The word auxiliary comes from the Latin word auxilium, which means help or assistance. The use of auxiliaries in English can be traced back to Old English, where they were used to indicate tense and mood. Over time, their use has evolved, and they are now an essential part of English grammar.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an auxiliary is “a verb used in forming the tenses, moods, and voices of other verbs.” Merriam-Webster defines an auxiliary as “a verb used in combination with another verb to denote a mood or tense.”


Auxiliaries are closely associated with the main verb in a sentence. They are used to indicate tense, voice, and mood, and they help to clarify the meaning of the sentence. Without auxiliaries, it would be challenging to express complex grammatical relationships in English.


Synonyms for auxiliaries include helping verbs, auxiliary verbs, and modal verbs.


Antonyms for auxiliaries include main verbs, base verbs, and lexical verbs.

The same root words

The same root words for auxiliaries include auxiliary, auxilium, and auxiliar.

Example Sentences

  1. I am studying for my exam. (The auxiliary verb “am” indicates the present tense and the first person singular subject.).
  2. She will be arriving at the airport in an hour. (The auxiliary verb “will be” indicates the future tense and the continuous aspect.).
  3. They have been working on the project for three months. (The auxiliary verb “have been” indicates the present perfect tense and the continuous aspect.).
  4. He could have been more careful. (The auxiliary verb “could have been” indicates the past conditional tense and the perfect aspect.).
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