A helping verb is a verb that helps a main verb show action. To better understand how helping verbs work, let’s look at a sentence that contains a helping verb. Lisa has grown three inches this year. In this sentence the word, grown, is the main verb. The word, has, is helping the main verb show action, so it is called a helping verb. Let’s see if you can find the helping verb in this sentence: Mitch was flying his kite. The main verb in this sentence is flying. The word, was, is helping the main verb show action. Some sentences may even use more than one helping verb. Try to identify all the helping verbs in this example: The campers have been sleeping for ten hours. The main verb in this sentence is the word, sleeping. The words ‘have’ and ‘been’ are helping the main verb, sleeping, show action, so they are both being used as helping verbs. It is also important to point out that helping verbs and main verbs together form a verb phrase. What is the verb phrase in this sentence? My two friends are running a marathon this weekend. The main verb is running. The helping verb is are. The verb phrase in this sentence is ‘are running’.