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Using Auxiliary Verbs for Emphasis – Video Lesson

by Oli Redman on 22 November, 2016 , No comments

In this lesson, you can learn how to use auxiliary verbs for emphasis. Look at two sentences: I like chocolate; I do like chocolate. Do you know the difference between these two sentences? In the second sentence–I do like chocolate–we use the auxiliary verb do to add emphasis. In this lesson, you will learn how to use auxiliary verbs like do or will to add emphasis to the things you say in English.

1. Using Auxiliaries for Emphasis

Look at the following examples:

  • I like going swimming.
  • I do like going swimming.

The first example tells us that you like swimming. In the second example, it stresses that you really like going swimming, it is emphasised.

Using Auxiliary Verbs for Emphasis - swimming image

If we want to emphasise something in English, we can use auxiliary verbs to do this.

Here’s another example:

  • Did you phone Jack? Yes, I phoned Jack.
  • Did you phone Jack? Yes, I did phone Jack.

Can you tell the difference now?

When I say, I did phone Jack, the use of did makes the point stronger.

In this lesson, we’ll learn how and when to use auxiliaries; don’t worry, this grammar is very easy to learn and use—you’ll be using it like a native in no time!

2. When to Emphasise Something

Okay, now let’s look at when you might use an auxiliary verb to add emphasis.

We use auxiliaries for emphasis when we feel strongly about something and want to show this.

Look at the following examples:

  • I am sorry.
  • I do not like your cake.
  • I would like to dance.

All of these examples tell us that you feel very strongly about what you’re saying.

We can also use auxiliaries like this when we want to confirm something that we think is true, but we’re not 100% sure.

For example:

  • Michael is coming today, isn’t he?
  • You did ring the doctor, didn’t you?
  • You have been to work, haven’t you?

In all of these examples, the auxiliary is used to make sure that what we think is true or happened, is actually true or what happened.

When we use the auxiliary in this way, it’s important to remember that you need to add a question tag after the sentence! You will remember, won’t you?

We often use auxiliaries like this to correct what somebody else says.

Have a look at this example:

  • A: Why don’t you like pizza?
  • B: But I do like pizza!

The first person wrongly thinks that the second person doesn’t like pizza. The second person uses the auxiliary verb with emphasis to correct their mistake.

Using Auxiliary Verbs for Emphasis - pizza image

Here’s another example:

  • A: You haven’t cleaned the kitchen.
  • B: I have cleaned the kitchen.

Again, the second person adds emphasis to the auxiliary have to correct the first person’s mistake.

Another way to use auxiliary verbs is to contrast two different ideas or things.

Have a look:

  • I can’t play football, but I can play basketball.
  • I didn’t have a good time at the cinema, but I did enjoy the restaurant.
  • I don’t like cakes, but I do like chocolate.

All of these examples look at two different things and use the auxiliary (with emphasis) to contrast them.

3. How to Use Auxiliaries

Now that you’ve seen when you should use auxiliaries for emphasis, let’s look at how to use them in more detail.

If you want to emphasise something in the present simple or past simple tenses, add the auxiliary verbs do, does or did, without changing the main verb.

Look at these examples:

  • I work. –> I do work.
  • I worked. –> I did work.

It works the same way when we’re talking about other people; for example:

  • She cleans. –> She does clean.
  • She tidied up. –> She did tidy up.

In the negative form, we would stress the negative part of the auxiliary:

  • She did not tidy up.
  • I do not want to visit her.

Remember: it’s important not to contract the words, as this does not have the same effect!

You can’t emphasise a negative like this:

  • I don’t want to talk to him.

You need to use the full form, and emphasise the word not, like this:

  • I do not want to talk to him.

Now, let’s see how to use the auxiliary for emphasis in other verb tenses.

In other tenses, there is already an auxiliary verb, so you don’t need to add anything. You just need to pronounce the auxiliary verb with stress, to show emphasis.

In continuous tenses, we would stress the verb to be. Don’t use contractions if you want to emphasise the auxiliary verb; use the full form.

Here are some examples:

  • I am going to phone her!
  • He is coming tomorrow.
  • We are running in the race!

What about perfect tenses?

The idea is similar. Stress the verbs have, has or had to make your point.

For example:

  • I have emptied the dishwasher.
  • I had bought her a present.
  • She has visited me.

You can do the same with any modal verb (will, would, must, should, etc.) I did tell you it would be easy grammar, didn’t I?

Take a look at these examples:

  • I can sing, listen!
  • Must you be so loud?
  • You cannot believe that!

4. Review

Okay, let’s review:

You can use auxiliary verbs for emphasis to:

  1. Show that you feel strongly about something.
  2. Correct something wrong that someone else said.
  3. Contrast two different ideas.

In the present simple and past simple tenses, you need to add an auxiliary verb (do/does/did) if you want to emphasise the idea.

With other verb tenses or modal verbs, there’s already an auxiliary, so you just pronounce the auxiliary with stress to add emphasis to the idea.

Remember not to use contractions! To add emphasis, you need to use the full form.

Thanks for watching!


Auxiliary Verbs Quiz

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Oli RedmanUsing Auxiliary Verbs for Emphasis – Video Lesson