Please explain use of the auxiliary (helping verbs) in English?

Q a) Which sentence is correct in the examples below?

Q b) If all sentences are correct then what are the meanings?

1 Your eyes become red.

2 Your eyes are become red.

3 Your eyes have become red.

  • 1
    Please explain what you think is the correct answer rather than asking us to do the work for you.
    – Catija
    Apr 22, 2015 at 4:29

3 Answers 3


The sentence #1 doesn't seem complete. You can say "your eyes become red when you are angry". You have to give the reason for it or tell the situation in which they become red.

The sentence #2 is grammatically incorrect. The word become in the sentence is a linking verb; it cannot be used as an adjective. You can use the pattern helping verb + -ing form such as your eyes are becoming red.

The sentence #3 is grammatically OK and makes sense.

  • I don't thing he's using it as an adjective. It's ungrammatical because it uses the extraneous auxiliary are with a linking verb. However, this was not always wrong: I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. (Bhagavad Gita, in archaic translation) Apr 22, 2015 at 8:40
  • Brian, I agree. Thnx.
    – Khan
    Apr 22, 2015 at 10:24

Version 1:

Your eyes become red.

The only time I can think of that this would be correct, is in the case of a second-person present-tense story... which is extremely rare. It's not ungrammatical but it's not a case that's used much. The most common use I find is in the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.

The more likely statement is:

Your eyes became red.

Or, you can continue the statement:

Your eyes become red when you cry.

Version 2:

Your eyes are become red.

This is pretty much ungrammatical in modern use. Some period texts may use this odd phrasing, but it's extremely uncommon.

The correct form is:

Your eyes are becoming red.

This means that, while I'm looking at you, your eyes are in the process of turning red.

Version 3:

Your eyes have become red.

This, of the three, is the most correct and the most common. It means, simply, that the person being spoken to's eyes are now red and that they were not previously.

  • Your eyes become red.

In this example, the form "become" is the simple present form.  This is also called the present indefinite form.  It is simple in construction, but far from simple in use or interpretation.  We use the indefinite aspect when we intend some semantic aspect other than the continuous or the perfect.

The reason that other respondents think that this sounds incomplete is that they expect the context to provide some clue as to the semantic aspect -- do they become red habitually, conditionally, periodically, or what?  This ambiguity leads English speakers to use the present continuous to express the immediate present:  "Your eyes are becoming red."  We also tend to use adverbial markers to indicate other semantic aspect, such as:  "Your eyes often become red."  

  • Your eyes are become red.

There are dead dialects of English for which this is a perfectly natural form.  We rarely use it today, unless we're quoting an old text or otherwise trying to sound old-fashioned.  In English grammar, the technical term "perfect" does not mean "flawless" and it does not mean "complete".  Rather, it means "having a relevant result".  In at least some of those dead dialects, using a form of "to be" to form a finite perfect verb emphasises the relevant result.  In contrast, using a form of "to have" would emphasise the process that leads to the relevant result.

  • Your eyes have become red.

In those dead dialects which I have mentioned, this could be the style of the perfect present construction which emphasizes the process over the result.  In the vast majority of contemporary dialects, this is the only acceptable form of the present perfect construction, leaving the distinction between action and result moot. 

In either case, there is a result from an action  That result has a present-tense relevance.  No matter when or how the action started, no matter when or how or whether the action ended, that action caused something that is relevant now.  And, that relevance is, lo, the present color of your eyes.

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