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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

Are non inflectional auxiliaries


the word _hight_ = _was called_, and seems to present an instance of the participle being used in a passive sense without the so-called verb substantive. Yet it does no such thing. The word is no participle at all; but a simple preterite. Certain verbs are _naturally_ either passive or active, as one of two allied meanings may predominate. _To be called_ is passive; so is, _to be beaten_. But, _to bear as a name_ is active; so is, _to take a beating_. The word, _hight_, is of the same class of verbs with the Latin _vapulo_; and it is the same as the Latin word, _cluo_.--_Barbican cluit_ = _Barbican audivit_ = _Barbican it hight_.

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s. 491. The auxiliary verbs, in English, play a most important part in the syntax of the language. They may be classified upon a variety of principles. The following, however, are all that need here be applied.

A. _Classification of auxiliaries according to their inflection or non-inflectional powers._--Inflectional auxiliaries are those that may either replace or be replaced by an inflection. Thus--_I am struck_ = the Latin _ferior_, and the Greek [Greek: tuptomai]. These auxiliaries are in the same relation to verbs that prepositions are to nouns. The inflectional auxiliaries are,--

justify;">1. _Have_; equivalent to an inflection in the way of tense--_I have bitten_ = _mo-mordi_.

2. _Shall_; ditto. _I shall call_ = _voc-abo_.

3. _Will_; ditto. _I will call_ = _voc-abo_.

4. _May_; equivalent to an inflection in the way of mood. _I am come that I may see_ = _venio ut vid-eam_.

5. _Be_; equivalent to an inflection in the way of voice. _To be beaten_ = _verberari_, [Greek: tuptesthai].

6. _Am_, _art_, _is_, _are_; ditto. Also equivalent to an inflection in the way of tense. _I am moving_ = _move-o_.

7. _Was_, _were_; ditto, ditto. _I was beaten_ = [Greek: e-tuphthen]. _I was moving_ = _move-bam_.

_Do_, _can_, _must_, and _let_, are non-inflectional auxiliaries.

B. _Classification of auxiliaries according to their non-auxiliary significations._--The power of the word _have_ in the combination of _I have a horse_ is clear enough. It means possession. The power of the same word in the combination _I have been_ is not so clear; nevertheless it is a power which has grown out of the idea of possession. This shows that the power of a verb as an auxiliary may be a modification of its original power; i.e., of the power it has in non-auxiliary constructions. Sometimes the difference is very little: the word _let_, in _let us go_, has its natural sense of permission unimpaired. Sometimes it is lost altogether. _Can_ and _may_ exist only as auxiliaries.

1. Auxiliary derived from the idea of possession--_have_.

2. Auxiliaries derived from the idea of existence--_be_, _is_, _was_.

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