May 5, 2017

Auxiliary Verbs Do and Can

Usage of the auxiliary verb do’, ’didanddoes:

1) The auxiliary verbs ‘do’, ’did’and ‘does’ are used to form the negative and interrogative of the simple present and simple past tenses. Here are some examples:

  • John left for London. (Affirmative)
  • John did not leave for London. (Negative)
  • Did John leave for London? (Interrogative)
  • John leaves for London. (Affirmative)
  • John does not leave for London. (Negative)
  • Does John leave for London? (Interrogative)

2) The auxiliary verbs ‘do’, ’did’ and ‘does’ are used to avoid repetition of an ordinary verb, as in the following examples.

  • A: Do you know how to cook food?
  • B: No, I don’t. = No, I don’t know how to cook food.
  • A: He cooks well.
  • B: Yes, he does. = Yes, he cooks well.

3) The auxiliary verbs ‘do’, ’did’ and ‘does’ are also used to emphasize the affirmative nature of a statement. Examples

  • John did hurt me. = John definitely hurt me.
  • David does look cool. = David definitely looks cool.

4) The auxiliary verbs ‘do’, ’did’ and ‘does’ are also used in the imperative mood to make a request or invitation sound more persuasive.

  • Do acknowledge his efforts.
  • Do invite him for dinner.

Usage of Can

The auxiliary verb canis used to express ability. Following are some examples:

  • He can play cricket, tennis and football = He is able to play cricket, tennis and football
  • I can stitch clothes = I am able to stitch clothes.
  • Can you drive the car = Are you able to drive the car?

The auxiliary verb canis used in the sense of word‘may’ to seek or grant permission, though may is more appropriate to seek/grant permission.

  • You can eat now.
  • Can you please let me in?

The auxiliary verb canis used to indicate possibility. The auxiliary verb cancan be used in negative and interrogative sentences to talk about possibility.

  • What could be the reason for his sudden disappearance?
  • Can this be a reality?
  • No, it can’t be.