Difference Between Lexical Verb and Auxiliary Verb

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Difference Between Lexical Verb and Auxiliary Verb Difference Between Lexical Verb and Auxiliary Verb

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The verb is essential to the construction of every sentence. It is an action verb that depicts something occurring or happening. Verbs may both signify a state of affairs and help to convey the meaning of a phrase. The lexical verb and the auxiliary verb are the two main categories of the verb.

Lexical Verb vs Auxiliary Verb

A lexical verb may supply meaning and information about the content, but an auxiliary verb can only provide grammatical information about the content. This is the major distinction between the two types of verbs. Auxiliary verbs cannot be employed on their own, although lexical verbs may.

Lexical verbs are employed as content words in the language to set them apart from function words. The five primary types of lexical verb are copular, transitive, intransitive, ditransitive, and ambitransitive. The verb phrase in a sentence is often headed by the lexical verb.

Auxiliary verbs, on the other hand, typically accompany a complete verb. The major semantic substance of the phrase may be expressed in the complete verb. Auxiliary verbs aid in expressing the infinitive verb's meaning. The closed class of verbs includes auxiliary verbs.

Difference Table Between Lexical Verb and Auxiliary Verb in Tabular Form

Table: Lexical Verb vs Auxiliary Verb
Parameters of Comparison
Lexical Verb
Auxiliary Verb
Lexical verbs are useless for other verbs.
Auxiliary verbs aid in the semantic expression of other verbs.
Lexical verbs belong to an unrestricted class of verbs.
A closed class of verbs includes auxiliary verbs.
Usage Type
Can be used by itself
can't be utilized alone itself
Laugh, run, sing, ran, play, sit, stand, talk, and others
Have, do, or be (is, am, are)
Other Names
The main verb is another name for the lexical verb.
Another name for an auxiliary verb is a verbal auxiliary, helper verb, or aiding verb.

What is Lexical Verb?

The open class of verbs is referred to by the lexical verb. The primary verb is another name for it. The lexical verb is used to convey a condition, an action, or another meaning that is connected. The verb phrase in a sentence is often headed by the lexical verb. Lexical verbs are employed as content words in the language to set them apart from function words.

The five primary types of lexical verb are copular, transitive, intransitive, ditransitive, and ambitransitive. Through the employment of a subject complement, a copular lexical verb connects the subject to the phrase. A copulative verb is another name for a copular verb. It serves as a connecting verb.

Copular verbs in certain languages also resemble pronouns. More than one object can be taken by a transitive verb. Verbs without objects are known as intransitive verbs. Ditransitive verbs are those that may take both a direct object and an indirect object, or both. The term "transitive verb" also applies to ditransitive verbs.

A combination of transitive and intransitive verbs, and an ambitransitive verb does not necessarily need a direct object. Understand, read, or break are a few examples of transitive verbs. The lexical verb can also convey action, and these primary verbs fall into two categories: dynamic and static. Static verbs are used to describe the circumstance or status.

You frequently say things in daily life to share your opinions. Have you ever considered how you would have communicated without language? How can grammar be overlooked when it is essential to the meaning of a sentence? Any language, whether used for speech or writing, needs grammar. Verbs are used to illustrate the activity we do or did since we communicate everything we do. Verbs are crucial when describing an event that has likely occurred or may yet occur. They are employed to convey a state of being or activity.

Say, "I washed my automobile," for instance. This phrase depicts the washing of an automobile in motion. Without a verb, it is impossible to convey the correct sentiment or action. Different verbs have various purposes. We shall talk about lexical verbs and auxiliary verbs on this topic.

Main verbs are another name for lexical verbs. These verbs function as standalone clauses. Unquestionably not a clause, but a stand-alone word. They may stand on their own; a phrase does not require another verb to be meaningful. They only describe the action that the person is engaged in. For instance, smile, sing, or run, among many more. Let's turn that into a sentence.

  • He laughed at the joke.
  • She sings well.
  • She ran.
  • My Mother scolded me.
  • She loves Chinese soup.

Lexical verbs are a category to which new words may be added since they are a subset of the open class of verbs.

Some words which were added:

  1. Googled
  2. Chillax
  3. Twerked.
  4. Unfriend.

We are aware that the majority of the meaning in a spoken or written phrase is carried by lexical terms. Since they are the most prevalent and all belong to open classes, new lexical terms can theoretically be created and added without bounds.

Lexical verbs are part of an open class that also includes nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. Because of this, the class's membership can grow as new verbs are created and added. Verbs that have just recently been added (or re-used) include:

  • Refudiate: roughly translated to mean "reject." [Came to the attention of the world after Sarah Palin, the ninth governor of Alaska, used the phrase in a 2010 tweet]
  • De-friend: to take someone off of your Facebook or another social networking site.
  • Chillax: to unwind and calm down.
  • Catastrophize: to exaggerate something drastically

The Semantics of Lexical Verbs

As previously mentioned (see Verbs), lexical verbs express acts, events, and states from a semantic perspective.

Jack bought a North Face jacket


the mangoes ripened on the tree


I suppose you’re wrong


Syntactic Role of Lexical Verbs

Only major verbs can be used as lexical verbs (see Verbs). As a result, syntactically, they represent the body of a sentence. They either appear as (1) a verb phrase with one word or (2) in the last position of verb phrases, such as



verb phrase



at him for several minutes



the money away



she knows

Final position


verb phrase


could be laughing

for hours


should give

the money to me


might have thought

about that once more

What is an Auxiliary Verb?

Auxiliary verbs are the kind of verbs that are employed to provide the clause of a sentence with additional grammatical or functional meaning. It conveys the sentence's modality, tense, voice, aspect, and emphasis. With auxiliary warmth, a participle or infinitive verb is used. The auxiliary verb's purpose is to support the clause's main semantic substance and emphasis.

Another name for an auxiliary verb is a verbal auxiliary, helper verb, or aiding verb. A clause in a phrase may include zero auxiliary verbs or perhaps three or more. A dispositive example phrase with three auxiliary verbs and one participle is "The document will have been examined by Henry." Will, have, and we are used as auxiliary verbs in this context, and the dispositive participle is being closely examined.

Verb catena, which denotes a chain of verbs, can be formed when two or more verbs are used together in a single phrase. Such several auxiliary verbs are connected in a hierarchy of structure and come together to form a single grammatical unit. A query may be expressed more clearly or the tense or feature of a phrase can be vividly described using the auxiliary verb. It aids in conveying the passive voice as well. The auxiliary verb's meaning varies depending on the language.

Usually, auxiliary verbs follow a complete verb. The major semantic substance of the phrase may be expressed in the complete verb. Auxiliary verbs aid in expressing the infinitive verb's meaning. The closed class of verbs includes auxiliary verbs. Fixed verbs that are significantly less in number are referred to as belonging to the closed class of verbs. Auxiliary verbs can powerfully indicate past tense or perfect aspects in addition to passive voice.

A verb that adds grammatical or functional meaning to the phrase in which it appears, such as tense, aspect, modality, voice, stress, etc., is known as an auxiliary verb. Auxiliary verbs often accompany an infinitive verb or a participle, which gives the clause major semantic meaning.

In reality, auxiliary verbs are also known as helping verbs. This is so that they can be asked to support the primary verb that comes after them.

For Example;

The man is Eating.

 In the mentioned sentence auxiliary verb –‘is’; which helps the main verb “Eating”

Auxiliary verbs in several different ways:

Indeed Auxiliary verbs commonly referred to as assisting verbs, provide the phrases in which they appear with additional grammatical or functional meaning. They use a variety of methods to carry out their duties.

  • Tense expression establishes a relation to past, present, or future time.
  • Aspect of grammar that describes how a verb relates to the passage of time.
  • Modality implies verbs with quantifiers
  • Voice, which indicates the connection between the actors named by the verb's subject, object, etc. and the activity conveyed by the verb

Moving on, there is another kind of auxiliary verb known as modal auxiliary verbs or modal verbs. Can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, would, and would not are the modal auxiliary verbs. These modal auxiliary verbs don't modify their forms at all.

How to Identify an Auxiliary Verb?

You are probably definitely aware that every phrase contains a verb. There are therefore basically two categories of verbs. Both the primary action verb and the connecting verb are verbs. The three primary auxiliary verbs—do, be, and have—can be followed by action verbs or connecting verbs. You might look at further websites in the meanwhile to learn more about verbs.

Simply click the following to have your questions answered. Even Nevertheless, many times events or circumstances only happen once before ending. Similar to auxiliary verbs, certain connecting verbs stand on their own. Next look at the following sentence to clarify this:

Sammy suffered serious injuries after jumping from the window.

"Is" serves as a connecting verb in the previous phrase. It is not an auxiliary verb because it is a standalone verb.

Sometimes an action or set of circumstances is continuous, unexpected, or connected to another event or series of occurrences. Similar to this, when a single-word verb like "is" is insufficient to adequately describe what occurred, phrases with auxiliary verbs are utilized. As a result, they might be composed of anywhere between two and four words.

A major verb sometimes referred to as a basic verb typically illustrates the type of activity or circumstance occurring. Particularly, an auxiliary or supporting verb follows the primary verb and offers additional nuances that aid the reader in better understanding the current occurrence.

However, the fact that auxiliary verbs never appear alone marks them as a substantial distinction from main verbs.

Therefore, we are unable to eliminate the primary verb from a phrase and leave only the auxiliary.

Study the following examples:

  • I would like a new car.

The key verb "like" cannot be deleted from the previous phrase. The line "I would like a new house" loses all sense of the word "like" and is omitted.

Nevertheless, auxiliary verbs always follow the main verb. Main verbs, on the other hand, are independent of auxiliary verbs. Take note of the following phrase:

  • I like my new shirt.
  • She sings like a bird.

Main Differences Between Lexical Verb and Auxiliary Verb In Points

  • Auxiliary verbs function as dependent clauses, whereas lexical verbs function as independent clauses.
  • Examples of lexical verbs are "laugh," "run," "sing," and "ran," whereas "have," "do," and "be" are examples of auxiliary verbs (is, am, are).
  • Auxiliary verbs may be further divided into two types: main auxiliaries and modal auxiliaries. Lexical verbs can be further divided into five basic categories: copular, transitive, intransitive, ditransitive, and ambitransitive.
  • Auxiliary verbs belong to a closed class of verbs, whereas lexical verbs belong to an open class.
  • Lexical verbs serve the purpose of describing the action or state of being in any phrase, whereas auxiliary verbs serve the purpose of describing the grammar of any sentence.


Every sentence's evolution depends on the verbs used. Any sentence's grammatical structure is determined by the verb type that is used. Verbs are necessary for every phrase. Lexical verbs and auxiliary verbs are the two main categories into which verbs may be divided. Any sentence's structure and sense are formed by the use of both kinds of verbs. Both kinds of verbs have unique characteristics and constraints. Knowing both verbs makes it easier to construct effective sentences with a minimal amount of grammatical error.



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"Difference Between Lexical Verb and Auxiliary Verb." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 27 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-lexical-verb-and-auxiliary-verb-831>.

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