- Linking verbs connect the subject of a sentence with the rest of the sentence.
- A linking verb joins a subject with its predicate noun or adjective.
- A linking verb is not an action word.
- There are 12 main linking verbs in the English language.
Linking verbs prevent confusion by merging a sentence’s subject with relevant details. They aren’t action words, but they’re essential. Familiarize yourself with linking verbs by skimming this info-packed grammar guide.
What is a Linking Verb?
A linking verb is a word or group of words that connect a subject with the rest of a sentence. Picture a linking verb as the building block that holds a sentence together. We use a linking verb to describe or identify a subject.
A linking verb doesn’t express action. Its role is simply to connect the subject of a sentence with the subject complements. Subject complements are predicate nouns or predicate adjectives.
How do you Identify a Linking Verb?
You can identify a linking verb by replacing it with is or are in your sentence. “Is” and “are” can also act as a linking verb, but they are also effective substitutes for other linking verbs.
In the examples above, you can replace each linking verb with “is” or “are.” The sentences still make sense.
You can also insert the equal sign when determining if a word is a linking verb.
How does Shayla feel? She’s annoyed, and we understand that after reading each example.
How Many Linking Verbs are There?
There are 12 popular linking verbs (is, seems, be, am, becomes, been, are, feels, being, was, appears, were). But, you can transform some of them into other forms, such as helping verbs.
|is||can be||may be|
|are||could be||might be|
|am||will be||must be|
|was||would be||has been|
|were||shall be||have been|
|should be||had been|
Are Linking Verbs and Helping Verbs the Same?
You can use a linking and helping verb separately or in the same sentence.
You may notice that is, am, are, was, were, be, been, and being appeared on both lists. It’s because these words can act as a linking verb or a helping verb depending on the context of the sentence.
What’s the Difference Between an Action and Linking Verb?
“To be,” “to become,” and “to seem” are always linking verbs. Words that can perform as a linking verb or an action verb include smell, appear, look, and sound.
In the first sentence, “smells” behaves as a linking verb. In the second sentence, it’s an action verb.
To further complicate things, sometimes “is” also functions as an action verb. As you may recall, “is” also acts as a linking verb and a helping verb depending on the sentence’s context.
In these sentences, “is” describes a state of being. The action referenced here is “to be.”
Thanks for hanging out with us during this quick grammar lesson. We hope you feel confident using any linking verb in your writing or verbal conversations.