As characterized by traditional grammars, verbs space “action or state of gift words.” within verb phrases in English, there are four varieties of verbs:

Copular verbsAuxiliary verbsModal verbsMain Verbs

English Copular Verbs

The an initial type of verb in the English language is the copular verb. Copular verbs space verbs that attach the grammatical topic with the grammatical subject complement. The most usual copular verb in English include:


For example:

That sculpture is ugly.I felt happy.Your brothers proved stupid again.The soup tastes delicious.

You are watching: Copula vs auxiliary

Copular verbs are likewise referred to together linking verbs and also copula.

English auxiliary Verbs

The second type of verb in the English language is the assistant verb. Auxiliary verbs are verbs that provide additional semantic or construction information around the main verb in the verb phrase. The three most typical auxiliary verbs in English are:


For example:

Do you eat meat?He is feeling ill.The son has finished she vegetables.A paint was steal from the museum.

Auxiliary verb are also referred to together helping verbs.

English Modal Verbs

The third kind of verb in the English language is the modal verb. Modal verbs are verbs that express modality, that room neutral and also defective, and also that occupy only the initial place in a verb phrase. Quasi-modal verbs, which share some but not every properties of full modal verbs, are a subset the the English modal verb. The nine modal verbs and also five quasi-modal verbs in English are:

For example:

cancoulddarehad much better (had best)maymightmustneedought toshallshouldused towillwould

For example:

Could girlfriend close the window?You might it is in a small sick.She used to walk to institution every day.I would to wash my hand if ns were you.

Modal verbs including quasi-modal verbs are also auxiliary verbs.

English key Verbs

The fourth type of verb in the English language is the key verb. Main verbs room dynamic or stative verb that function as the head of the verb phrase. All other verbs that are not assistant or modal verb are key verbs in English. For example:

My cat stole mine yarn.The dog has actually eaten his dinner.Our shopping perform includes turkey, cranberries, and also peas.A good author wrote that disastrous poem.

Copular verbs are also main verbs. Because that example:

He became a teacher last year.The pleasure has actually been all yours.This pumpkin smells funny.Your son has been turning green.

The four species of verbs that show up in verb paragraph in the English language room copular verbs, auxiliary verbs, modal verbs, and also main verbs.

See also English Verbs: Copular, Intransitive, Transitive, Ditransitive, and also Ambitransitive.

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Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A quick course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction come the grammar that English. Cambridge: Cambridge college Press.