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Be Have Do

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The verbs be, have and do can all be used as the main verb in a sentence:
My sister is at university.
We have a break at half past twelve.
I usually do the shopping on Saturday morning.

Auxiliary verbs

We use be, have and do to form tenses, questions and with negative forms. When be, have and do are used in this way they are called auxiliary verbs.


We use be + verb in ing form to form the continuous tenses:
Present continuous – He is working in Italy at the moment.
Past continuous – He was working in a hotel when I met him.


We use have + past participle to form the perfect tenses:
Present perfect - She’s been here for three months.
Past perfect - The film had already started when we got there.


We use do in simple tenses for questions and negative forms:
Do you know John?
I didn’t get your e-mail.

Short answers

In conversations a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to any question might sound impolite so the auxiliary is used as an answer. Notice that the auxiliary used in the question is repeated in the answer.
Are you still working at the Ritz?
Yes I am.

Have you spoken to Sarah yet?
Yes, I have.

Does your family live in Rome?
My parents do but my sister doesn’t. She lives in Manchester.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Choose the correct version of the following:

  • 1. Which is correct?

  • 2. Which is correct?

  • 3. Which is correct?

  • 4.Which is correct?

  • 5.Which is correct?

  • 6.Which is correct?

  • 7.Which is correct?

  • 8.Which is correct?