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Auxiliary Verbs

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In English, the

and

are constructed with auxiliaries.

Traditional grammar calls these

This is hopeless.

clearly helps the verb 'collapse' in 'cheap bridges tend to collapse' by expressing a sort of

yet no grammarian calls tend an auxiliary.

In addition, in a sentence like

the auxiliary 'would' has no verb to help, yet everyone agrees that would IS an auxiliary verb.

Five syntactic criteria distinguish the special subclass of auxiliaries from lexical verbs;

The NICER Criteria

all and only the tensed AVs allow 'not' to follow them.

all and only the tensed AVs invert their position relative to the subject NP in closed interrogatives and other auxiliary initial clause constructions.

all and only the tensed AVs have forms suffixed with 'n't'

all and only the tensed Avs and untensed forms in nonfinite clauses allow ellipsis (omission) of the post auxiliary constituent with a free-variable semantic interpretation.

All and only the tensed AVs allow the use of supportive 'do' to reaffirm the truth of a previous clause.

Fries

and Chomsky

both seem to treat auxiliaries not as verbs but as

Huddleston and Pullum

opt for the

under which auxiliaries are verbs taking complements, and there is one clause per verb.



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