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How to Use Helping Verbs- ‘to do' / ‘to have’ for English

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Brief overview of the Helping Verb- ‘to do / ‘to have’

An auxiliary verb helps the main (full) verb and is also called a "helping verb." Using the helping / auxiliary verbs, we can write sentences in different tenses, moods, or voices in the English language. The main helping verbs are ‘to be, ‘to do, and ‘to have’. Here we are going to discuss the two main helping verbs ‘to do’ and ‘to have’

The verb forms of do and have can be used either as a main (full) verb or an auxiliary verb.

  • e.g.: ‘To Do’ as an auxiliary verb- I do not know the entire truth.

  • e.g.: ‘To Have’ as an auxiliary verb- I have been following your work for long

All grammar rules for Helping Verb- ‘to do / ‘to have’

1. ‘To have’ in the form of have, has, had is used in perfect tenses.

  • e.g.: I have read many books on the subject

2. ‘To do’ in the form of do, does, did are used as the emphatic verbs. They generally emphasize the main verb.


  • I do know your family.

  • Does he know the truth?

3. Don't, doesn't, and didn't are contractions for do not, does not, and did not. The not here is not a helping verb.

Sentence patterns for Helping Verb- ‘to do / ‘to have’

Here are the various uses of ‘to do’ and ‘to have’ in tenses

To have

  • Present Perfect: He has been to Sri Lanka many times

  • Present Perfect Continuous: They have been waiting for a long time.

  • Past Perfect: Tim had already eaten before I reached

  • Past Perfect Continuous: Melissa had been working for two hours when he rang.

  • Future Perfect: They will have running for 3 hours by 4’o clock.

To do

  • Present simple- e.g.: She doesn't like noodles

  • Past Simple- e.g.: Did they talk about yesterday’s show?

  • To do is used as the main verb when asking general questions such as what happens, is happening, is going to happen, etc.


  • What are you doing?

  • What will you do?

The helping verb ‘to have’ is used in a number of different ways as discussed below-

1. ‘To have; is used as a main verb to indicate possession of objects, relationships, characteristics, or other qualities.

  • e.g.: Tim has a younger brother in the UK

2.’ to have got’ is generally used to indicate possession of objects, characteristics, relationships or other qualities.

  • e.g.: He's got the entire family in States

3. To have is also used as a main verb to express a range of actions such as

  • have a shower, was etc.-e.g.: She is having a shower

  • have lunch, dinner etc- e.g.: We are going to have dinner at a nearby restaurant

The helping verb ‘to do’ has many uses for reference, self-study and in-class as discussed below-

  1. ‘To do’ is used as a principal verb in many phrases used with the various tasks we do in general life.

  • do the dishes –e.g.: Please do the dishes while I clean up the house

  • do sport- e.g.: Kids try to do sports on a regular basis in a week

  • do homework- e.g.: I need to do the homework before mom asks

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