Linking Verbs: Definition and Examples

Andrew Dinu

Linking verbs are essential components of sentence structure, establishing a connection between the subject and its complement. Unlike action verbs that depict physical or mental actions, linking verbs convey a state of being or condition. This guide aims to provide a straightforward understanding of linking verbs, including their definition, types, and examples.

What are Linking Verbs?

Linking verbs, also known as copula verbs, link the subject of a sentence with its complement. Instead of indicating action, these verbs highlight the subject’s state or condition. The complement, which can be an adjective, noun, or pronoun, offers additional information about the subject.

What are the Types of Linking Verbs?

Common Linking Verbs: The most commonly used linking verbs are forms of “to be,” such as am, is, are, was, were, be, being, and been. Other common linking verbs include appear, become, feel, seem, look, sound, and taste.

Sensory Linking Verbs: Sensory linking verbs relate to the five senses and describe the subject’s perception. Examples include feel, look, sound, taste, and smell, connecting the subject to a complement that describes sensory experiences.

Other Linking Verbs: This category includes various verbs that act as linking verbs in specific contexts. Examples comprise seem, become, appear, and remain.

Examples of Linking Verbs:

Let’s explore each type of linking verb with practical examples:

Common Linking Verbs:

Common Linking VerbsExamples
amI am a teacher.
isShe is intelligent.
areThey are students.
wasHe was tired.
wereWe were excited.
beYou can be successful.
beingThe project is being completed.
beenShe has been a doctor for ten years.

Sensory Linking Verbs:

Sensory Linking VerbsExamples
feelThe fabric feels soft.
lookThe painting looks stunning.
soundThe music sounds melodious.
tasteThe soup tastes delicious.
smellThe flowers smell fragrant.

Other Linking Verbs:

Other Linking VerbsExamples
seemThe situation seems complex.
becomeShe will become a lawyer.
appearThe stars appear bright tonight.
remainHe will remain calm in adversity.

List of Linking Verbs:

Here is a list of common linking verbs:

  1. am
  2. is
  3. are
  4. was
  5. were
  6. be
  7. being
  8. been
  9. appear
  10. become
  11. feel
  12. seem
  13. look
  14. sound
  15. taste
  16. smell
  17. remain
  18. grow
  19. turn
  20. prove

Tips for Identifying Linking Verbs:

  1. No Action: Linking verbs do not convey action but rather a state of being or condition.
  2. Complements: Look for words completing the subject, providing additional information, such as adjectives, nouns, or pronouns.
  3. Forms of “To Be”: Common linking verbs often involve forms of the verb “to be.”

FAQs about Linking Verbs

Q1: What is the primary function of linking verbs?

Linking verbs serve to connect the subject of a sentence with its complement, indicating a state of being or condition rather than expressing action.


Q2: Can you provide more examples of common linking verbs?

Common linking verbs include forms of “to be” (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been) and other verbs like appear, become, feel, seem, look, sound, and taste.


Q3: What are linking verbs and how do they function in sentences?

Linking verbs, also known as copula verbs, connect the subject with its complement, emphasizing the subject’s state or condition instead of action. Common examples include forms of “to be” (am, is, are) and sensory verbs like feel and taste. They link the subject to descriptive complements such as adjectives, nouns, or pronouns.


Q4: How can I identify linking verbs in a sentence?

Look for verbs that connect the subject to a complement without indicating an action. Common linking verbs often involve forms of “to be,” and the complement provides additional information about the subject.


Q5: Can linking verbs be action verbs as well?

No, linking verbs and action verbs are distinct. Linking verbs connect the subject to a complement, while action verbs express physical or mental actions.


Q6: Is there a difference between linking verbs and helping verbs?

Yes, there is a difference. Linking verbs connect the subject to a complement, while helping verbs (auxiliary verbs) work with the main verb to create verb phrases, indicating time, possibility, or necessity.


Q7: Can a sentence have more than one linking verb?

Yes, a sentence can have more than one linking verb, especially in complex sentences. Each linking verb connects the subject to a specific complement, contributing to a comprehensive description.

Conclusion:

Understanding linking verbs is crucial for constructing clear and grammatically correct sentences. By recognizing their role in connecting subjects to complements, you can enhance the clarity and effectiveness of your writing. The examples provided, along with the categorization of linking verbs, serve as a practical guide to mastering this grammatical concept. Practice identifying linking verbs in various sentences to solidify your understanding and improve your overall writing skills.