Linking Verbs


Linking Verbs

What are Linking Verbs?

A linking verb is defined as a verb that shows a link between the subject and information about the subject. Action and state of being are the two main points in the definition of a verb. If we set aside the action and take the state of being into our consideration, we will become familiar with the linking verbs. We can say those verbs that show a state of being or don’t show action are linking verbs. All linking verbs are likewise intransitive verbs because they don’t have objects.

  • He is happy.
  • They are tired.
  • The soup smells delicious.
  • I saw her today. She looks beautiful.

Linking Verbs

Structure of a sentence with linking verbs

Subject + Linking Verb + Subject Complement

It is important to know about the subject complement. It is a word or phrase containing information about the subject that follows the linking verb. 

  • He is John.
  • They are happy.
  • John seems like a nice boy.

John is the subject complement in the first sentence. Happy is the subject complement in the second sentence. The phrase "like a nice boy" is the subject complement in the third sentence. Remember that subject complement can be noun, adjective, pronoun, noun phrase, or adjective phrase. Linking verbs are not followed by adverbs.


Be Verbs are Linking Verbs

All be verbs are linking verbs when they are not used as auxiliary verbs. When we use Be verbs as main verbs, they show a state of being which we call linking verbs. Be verbs are is, are, am, was, were, be, being, and been.

  • They are happy in their new house.
  • I want to rest for a while because I am tired.
  • He will be there waiting for you.
  • We were tired last night, so we did not study.


Verbs of Senses

Verbs of senses such as look, smell, feel, taste, and sound are called linking verbs when they don’t show action. To know whether the verb of sense is linking or not, just substitute a form of Be for the verb. If the sentence has the same meaning, the verbs is a linking verb.

The soup tastes delicious. The soup is delicious. In these sentences form of Be (is) is substituted for the verb (taste) and it doesn’t change the meaning, the verb taste is a linking verb.

I tasted soup five minutes ago.

In this sentence, the verb of sense is ‘tasted’. If we replace it with a form of be, it will not give sense. It will become something that will have no meaning.


Other Linking Verbs 

There are some other verbs that we use as linking verbs. They don’t show actions. They show a state of being. How to identify? If you replace them with ‘be verbs’ and they don’t change the meaning of the sentences, they will be linking verbs.

  • John became an adult.
  • John is an adult.

In the examples, we have replaced the verb ‘became’ with ‘is’ and the meaning has remained unchanged. It means the verb ‘became’ is a linking verb.


Common Linking Verbs




Be Verbs


















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