Grammatical and Syntactical Functions of Auxiliaries in English and Urdu

  • Asif Aziz University of Lahore Pakistan.
  • Tahir Saleem University of Central Punjab Lahore Pakistan.
  • Binish Maqsood University of Lahore Pakistan.
  • Zanib Ameen University of Lahore Pakistan.
Keywords: Grammatical, syntactical, X-bar theory, minimalist program, auxiliaries, ungrammatical, syntactic nature.


The current study investigates grammatical and syntactical functions of auxiliaries in Urdu and English to draw certain distinctions regarding the behavior, syntactic representation and semantic content auxiliaries add to the main verbs (Vs) through the X-bar theory as a theoretical framework within the minimalist program (MP). The data of the current research were collected from authentic sources (Urdu and English text books and grammars) to consider a diverse range of possible usage of Urdu and English auxiliaries. 200 sentences extracted from textbooks and grammars were analyzed grammatically in terms of morphology, and syntax (through tree-representation and their movement). The findings indicate sharp differences related to the syntactic position of auxiliaries in Urdu and English. In Urdu, auxiliaries always occupy their position after the main verbs in a sentence and their position is fixed and also have the ability to mark number (singular & plural) and gender (masculine & feminine). In contrast, English auxiliaries can only mark number. Another sharp difference is observed in the question formation process. In Urdu, unlike English, auxiliaries cannot be moved from its latent position towards the specifier position at the beginning of the sentence to construct question structures, because, if it happens, the sentence is considered ungrammatical which may result in the violation of MP. The findings of the study would prove helpful for understanding the semantic, grammatical and syntactical nature and behavior of auxiliaries comparatively in Urdu and English.


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Author Biographies

Asif Aziz, University of Lahore Pakistan.

M.Phil in Applied Linguistics, Department of English, University of Lahore Pakistan.

Tahir Saleem, University of Central Punjab Lahore Pakistan.

PhD in Linguistics and Literature, Assist. Professor, Department of English, University of Central Punjab Lahore Pakistan.

Binish Maqsood, University of Lahore Pakistan.

M.Phil in Applied Linguistics, Department of English, University of Lahore Pakistan.

Zanib Ameen, University of Lahore Pakistan.

M.Phil in Applied Linguistics, Department of English, University of Lahore Pakistan.


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How to Cite
Aziz, A., Saleem, T., Maqsood, B., & Ameen, Z. (2020). Grammatical and Syntactical Functions of Auxiliaries in English and Urdu. Amazonia Investiga, 9(35), 34-50.