Difference Between Main and Helping Verbs| Grade5 |ORCHIDS
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Main and Helping Verbs for Class 5 English

The main verb refers to the main action , while the helping verb indicates the time of the action. In this chapter, students will know the main verb and helping verb definition, and common mistakes that could occur.

In this learning concept, students will learn the following:

  • Characteristics of main verb.
  • Features of helping verb.
  • Types of helping verbs.
  • Identify the difference between main verb and helping verb

All the learning concepts covered for Class 5 have illustrations, mind maps, and examples. Students can check their understanding by solving the two printable PDF main verbs and helping verbs worksheet. The solutions to these main verb and helping verbs exercises are also available in PDF format.

Well, you know about verbs and their types . In this chapter, we will focus on the difference between the main verb and helping verbs.


  • The main verb in a sentence is the main action focused, while the helping verb helps to indicate the time of the action.
  • Examples:

    Example of main verb and helping verb

    b.She was eating.

  • In the above examples, the helping verb ‘is’ indicates the action eating is done in the present, but in the next sentence, the helping verb ‘was’ indicates that the action took place in the past.
  • Since the main verb refers to basic action, it is also known as the principal verb. Similarly, an auxiliary verb helps to complete the grammatical sense of the sentence. Thus, it is also known as the helping verb and vice versa.
  • There are two types of helping or auxiliary verbs:
  • Example of main verb

Differences between Main Verb and Helping(Auxiliary) Verb

Let us look at the differences between the main verb and a helping verb.

Main Verb Helping Verb
1. Must be present in every sentence. Only appears in certain types of sentences. For example:
  • Questions
  • Negative sentences
  • When ‘ing’ form is used
2. It can appear only once in a simple sentence. It can appear more than once in a sentence.
3. Indicates the basic meaning of the sentence. Shows grammatical meaning. (show the tense, aspect, voice, and emphasis)
4. It does not require any helping verb and can function as the only verb in the sentence. It requires the main verb and cannot appear as the only verb in a sentence.
5. No negation without the use of helping or auxiliary verbs. It is always formed when using negation in sentences.


  1. be: was not, isn’t, weren’t
  2. do: doesn’t, did not, don’t
  3. have: has not, haven’t

Common Mistakes

  1. Remember that a sentence must have the main verb, but it is not compulsory to have a helping verb. Affirmative sentences in the simple present and simple past have no helping verbs.
  2. Examples:

    1. She went away.
    2. He crossed the stream.
  3. Helping verbs change form according to the subject, tense and the verb they go with.
  4. Examples:

    1. Sentence pair 1:
      • I am going to the market today.
      • I had gone to the market yesterday.
    2. Sentence pair 2:
      • I do go to the market once a week.
      • I did go to the market once a week.

    Notice how the time of action changes for each sentence depending on the helping verb used.

  5. A helping verb is always placed before the main verb.
  6. Examples:

    Ritu can ride a motorbike.

    Ritu ride can a motorbike.

    They might visit today.

    They visit might today.

    In the above sentences,‘can’ and ‘might’are helping verbs that come before the main verb ‘ride’ and ‘visit’.

  7. There are some helping verbs (forms of be, have, and do) that, at times, do act as main verbs.
difference between main verb and helping verb chart
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