Defective Verbs

Defective Verbs :

The Auxiliary Verbs

The Auxiliary Verbs are BE, HAVE, SHALL, WILL, MAY and DO.

BE = This verb is used as copula (= linking verb).
HAVE = This verb is used as perfect aspect.
SHALL = This verb is used as deontic modality.
WILL = This verb is used as deontic modality.
MAY = This verb is used as deontic modality.
DO = This verb is used to support / emphasis.

None but these six are rightly called Auxiliary…because none but these six are used for helping other Verbs to form those Tenses which cannot be formed by inflection.

There is no Infinitive Mood to this Verb. It has two different uses.

(a) As a Principal Verb, Transitive, with Infinitive as Object :

Possibility :

1. It may be true.
2. They may compete in the competition.
3. He may give you money.
4. She may come today.
5. I may order those books in AMAZON.
6. It may cancel the tickets.
7. Our sister may be coming to see us tomorrow.
8. We may be late for the meeting. Already it is past 10 am.
9. There may be very many people in the function.

Permission :

1. You may now go.
2. He may take the examinations hereafter.
3. They may come tomorrow.
4. May I come in?

(b) As an Auxiliary, for forming a Subjunctive equivalent :

1. He eats that he may live. (Purpose)
2. May heaven protect you! (Wish) 3. They

The past tense of MAY is MIGHT.

1. He might see you tomorrow.
2. This dress might be very expensive.
3. It’s quite normal. It might not rain today.
4. She asked if she might borrow the bike.
5. He wanted to know if he might come later.
6. Might he ask you a question?
7. Might we just interrupt for a second?

MAY HAVE and MIGHT HAVE are used to express the event that has happened now or happened at in the recent past.

1. It is midnight now. He might have arrived now.
2. They might have arrived hours ago.
4. By this time, she might have gone to her native in India.
3. He may have passed the exam.

The following Verbs are called Defective, because they cannot be used in all the Moods and Tenses.

Can, ought, must, dare, need


  1. The Verb
  2. The Auxiliary Verbs
  3. Subject-Verb Agreement - 1
  4. Subject-Verb Agreement - 2
  5. The English Verb
  6. Basic Form of The Verb
  7. Principal Parts of A Verb
  8. Non-finite Form of The Verb
  9. The Intensive Forms of English Verbs
  10. Verbal Idioms
  11. Confusing Verbs
  12. Agreement of The Verb with The Subject
  13. Sentences with Agreement of The Verb with The Subject
  14. Two Auxiliaries with One Principal Verb
  15. One Auxiliary with Two Principal Verbs
  16. Words Used as Verbs
  17. Intransitive Verb of Complete Predication
  18. Intransitive Verb of Incomplete Predication
  19. Defective Verbs
  20. Strong Verbs
  21. Tests of A Strong Verb
  22. Wholly Strong Strong Verbs
  23. Partly Strong Strong Verbs
  24. List of Strong Verbs
  25. Weak Verbs
  26. Tests of A Weak Verb
  27. List of Weak Verbs
  28. Mixed Verbs
  29. Strong Verbs Becoming Partly Weak Verbs

Defective Verbs :

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