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Linking Verbs

Verbs are utilized to describe acts, events, or states of being. Using verbs to connect the subject of a sentence to the rest of the sentence is one of their many purposes. Read on to know everything about Linking verbs.

What are Linking Verbs?

Lexical verbs, also called the main verbs, can be action verbs or linking verbs. Action verbs which are doing verbs, denote physical and mental activity like run, walk, eat, think, swim, sit, etc. On the other hand, Linking verbs are verbs that denote a fact about a person or thing instead of telling us what that person or thing does.

Linking Verbs

Linking verbs link the subject with the complement, which is generally an adjective or a noun. Sometimes the complement can also be a prepositional phrase or an adverb.


  • He became a journalist. (Here, 'became' is the linking verb that links the subject 'he' with the complement 'journalist'.
  • It grew (Here, 'grew' is the linking verb that links the subject 'it'with the complement 'dark').
  • The best book shops are near the university. (Here 'are' is the linking verb that links the subject 'best book shops' with the complement 'near the university').

The linking verbs are 'to be' (is, am, are, was, were, have, has, had, being, shall, will, could be. Might be, should, etc.), 'to become' (becomes, have become, became, will become, etc.), and 'to seem' (seemed, seeming, have seemed, etc.) form of the verb. There are some more linking verbs like; appear, become, feel, get, go, grow, keep, look, prove, remains, seem, smell, taste, and turn.

How to Utilize Linking Verbs?

  • A linking verb can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
  • To link one element of a sentence to another
  • To connect the subject with additional information about the subject, such as an adjective or a complement.
  • In a sentence, to indicate an existing relationship or status of the subject being discussed.

Linking verbs behave differently. They are used as a connection rather than to denote an action. They don't appear to have any obvious significance. In a sentence they are usually placed exactly next to the subject of the sentence.

Examples Of Linking Verbs

Examples of linking verbs

  • Tom is my favorite dog.
  • The car was incredibly fast.
  • I am happy that I passed my ocean breeze.
  • Nancy feels a bit sick today.
  • William is excited about his promotion.
  • She seems upset about the announcement.
  • The eggs smell
  • He went red after tripping on the rug.
  • Your wedding plans sound
  • You look exhausted after studying all night.
  • I am putty in his hands.
  • Maria might have been forthcoming with the news.
  • Tom acted nervous when the conductor walked on stage.
  • Dreams come true when we believe in them.
  • The crowd stayed calm in spite of the imminent threat.
  • All the children seem satisfied with the bouncy castle.
  • Bob felt sleepy after eating the whole pizza.
  • The cinnamon rolls taste
  • Building the house was difficult for them.
  • Anthony had a dream.
  • The spectator remained silent after the injury on the field.
  • He became suspicious when he saw the safe was open.
  • All the kittens were
  • The theater gets dark when the show is about to begin.
  • Some couples are lucky enough to grow old together.
  • I feel worthy when the boss compliments me.
  • The weather was accommodating, and the party continued.
  • You are being foolish to believe her.
  • Mary was nostalgic on her 50th
  • Your friend might be disappointed if you don't go.
  • Sometimes, kids are
  • We are dismayed about the foreclosure.
  • The tests indicate that your child is
  • Martin is fond of spicy food.
  • Jumping into a pond could be
  • Most children get cranky when they are slippery.
  • A flaw in the design appeared to be the cause of the collapse.

Rules For Linking Verbs

1. Adverbs should not be used as subject complements.

Adverbs describe verbs similarly the way adjectives characterize nouns. However, subject complements describe the subject, which is a noun, hence adjectives are used instead of adverbs.

  • The sprinter is quickly. Incorrect
  • The sprinter is quick. Correct

Adverbs, on the other hand, are acceptable if they describe the linking verb rather than the subject.

  • She gradually became gentler and more empathetic.
  • She hardly appears bold.

2. Linking verbs complement the subject in subject-verb agreement.

In terms of subject-verb agreement, the linking verb continues to correlate with the subject. This holds true regardless of whether the subject is single and the predicate nominative is plural, or the opposite.

  • The strangest animal is hippo
  • Hippos are the strangest animal.

If the statement still sounds weird, even if it is grammatically right, you can always rewrite it.

The strangest animal is the Hippo.

How Do You Recognize Linking Verbs?

Aside from the three primary linking verbs (be, become, and seem), which are always linking verbs, other verbs can be either linking verbs or action verbs. The distinction is determined by how they are applied. This is particularly true for sensory verbs, which can be both of them.

A linking verb is one that is employed to describe the subject. Linking verbs typically have a subject complement following them (unless in exceptional circumstances like "I think therefore I am"), so search for the subject complement to see if the statement employs a linking verb.

Lizzie looks fantastic today.

The verb look is a linking verb in this context since it describes Liz's appearances. You can also tell it's a linking verb by understanding the subject complement fantastic today, which describes Lizzie's appearance.

In another sentence;

Elizabeth looks through the magnifying lens.

The verb look is an action verb in this context, not a linking verb. It describes Elizabeth's activity rather than Elizabeth herself. The expression "through the magnifying lens" refers to the activity as well, denoting where she looked.

Some frequent action verbs have one or two distinct meanings in which they function as linking verbs. These verbs frequently appear with other words to indicate that they are employed as linking verbs.

As your grammar skills grow, you'll become more acquainted with these words, but here's a list of the most perplexing linking verbs to get you started.

Go: When it implies to become, go is a linking verb.

  • The pup goes wild if she remains indoors for too long.
  • The vegetable went unpleasant as it was old.

Fall: It is a linking verb when discussing illness or when combined with the term silent.

  • I'm worried they have fallen ill.
  • At once, the entire place fell silent.

Prove is a linking verb with a literal sense "to demonstrate particular quality," but it is also an action verb with an even more typical meaning : "to show with proof."

  • [linking verb] Experimentation proved that the hypothesis was correct.
  • [action verb] The proceedings proved that he was innocent.

Act is an action verb when talking about dramatic acting, like as in plays or movies, whereas it is a linking verb when talking about a person's conduct or demeanor.

  • [linking verb] Why do you act skeptic when I discuss him?
  • [action verb] She acts in a nearby theater group on the holidays.

The verbs come, grow, get, and turn are all linking verbs that indicate a change.

  • My strap came loose so I created a new opening.
  • He grew worn-out of brain games.
  • We get tired awaiting for the after-credits sections.
  • His tresses have turned gray, but he is not any smarter.

When utilized with the meaning of "continue to be like this," remain and stay are linking verbs, however if they express not moving, they are action verbs.

  • They remained enraged throughout their car ride. Linking Verb
  • They stayed in the theater after everyone else had left. Action Verb

Keep is a linking verb when it refers to "keep going to be like this," but it is an action verb when it implies "possess or own."

  • [linking verb] Keep calm and carry on.
  • [action verb] He keeps a jug of water by his bedside.

Stative verbs and linking verbs

Stative verbs express feelings or perceptions. Several verbs ( such as the sense verbs "taste," "sound," "smell," "feel," and "look") can be classified as both linking verbs and stative verbs. Not all stative verbs, however, function as linking verbs.

Certain stative verbs do not link a subject with a subject complement, whereas linking verbs usually do. For instance, in the sentence "I identify that man," "that man" is a direct object absorbing the action of the stative verb "identify."

Linking verbs and stative verbs are two examples.

I am a vegan. [stative and linking]

They seem uninspired. [stative and linking]

I appreciate your effort. [stative]

Peter dislikes Maths. [stative]


Linking and stative verbs are rarely utilized in the continuous tense, with the sole exceptions of "feel" (e.g., "I am feeling great") and "look" (e.g., "you are looking good").

The roses are smelling lovely. Incorrect

The roses smell lovely.Correct

Auxiliary verbs vs. linking verbs

According to the context, the verb "be" can be utilized as a linking verb or an auxiliary verb.

"Be" ties the subject of the statement to a subject complement that recognizes or describes it when utilized as a linking verb. As an auxiliary verb, "be" assists another (main) verb in indicating tense, mood, or the voice.

Examples: Linking verbs vs. auxiliary verbs

The kitten is asleep. [linking]

The kitten is sleeping. [auxiliary]

Action verbs vs. linking verbs

Action verbs (also known as dynamic verbs) are often compared with linking verbs.

Conditions or states of being are indicated by linking verbs.

Action verbs are words that describe particular physical or mental activities or events.

Based on the context, certain verbs (including all sense verbs) can be classified as linking or action verbs.

Examples: linking vs. action verbs

The dessert tastes excellent.

I tasted the dessert.

That pet looks captivating.

Rossie looks at her cell phone when she is drained.


Adverbs are occasionally employed incorrectly as subject complements in phrases with linking verbs. Because a sentence's subject is usually a noun or pronoun, it must be altered by an adjective instead of an adverb.

I feel terribly about the mishap. Incorrect

I feel terrible about the mishap. Correct

Tips To Remember

For native English speakers, linking verbs pose no severe challenges, although there are two noticeable challenges;

(Issue 1) Utilize an adverb instead of a subject complement.

While speaking, you may occasionally hear somebody (typically a grammar expert) utilize an adverb rather than an adjective after a linking verb.

Your tresses smells fantastically. incorrect cross

(This error arises when speakers are aware that adverbs (in this case, "fantastically") modify verbs, and they are unable to correct themselves before they have screamed the adverb. A noun or an adjective is perpetually the subject complement (the item that comes after a linking verb to reaffirm or characterize the subject). The speaker in this instance must have used the adjective "fantastic."

Your pet smells terribly. My dog smells terrible

(The initial "smells" is not a linking verb in this case, and so is properly altered by the adverb "terribly." It indicates that the pet has a bad smell. The subsequent word "smells" is a linking verb that is accompanied properly by the adjective "terrible." It denotes that the pet stinks. This distinction is referenced in the old joke "My pet has no smell." "How does she smell?" "bad." When speakers utilize an adverb after a linking verb, they are mixing up the first and second structures.)

It is uncommon to use an adverb rather than an adjective. It is significantly more common in the opposite direction.

The procedure is operating flawless. (It should be "flawlessly," which gets covered more in adverbs.)

(Issue 2) You can say either "it was I" or "it was me."

One frequently asked question about connecting verbs is if one wants to say "It was me" or "It was I". Here's the short answer. You can say either since the "It was me" form is what everybody says (and thus is allowed), and the "It was I" version matches the rule that subject complements are in the subjective case.

To most people, the so-called right "It was I" version seems arrogant or incorrect. Finally, here's some advice: Do whatever comes naturally to you when speaking. Reorganize your sentence if you are writing to avoid both variations.

"It was her/she" could be transformed into "She was the one."

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