What is a Linking Verb? Definition, Examples of Linking Verbs

Linking verb definition: Linking verbs are a type of verb that connect the subject to a predicate adjective or predicate nominative. Linking verbs express a state of being.

What is a Linking Verb?

Linking verbs “link” a subject to the predicate of the sentence. Linking verbs are not action verbs. Linking verbs express a state of being.

 

 

Linking Verb Examples:

  • David seems
  • That girl is my classmate.

In each of the sentences, the linking verb is underlined. These verbs to not express an action that the subject can do but rather express a state of being.

Linking Verbs List

what are the linking verbs Here is a list of linking verbs. It is not exhaustive, but these are some of the most common ones.

  • to be
  • to seem
  • to become
  • to feel
  • to taste
  • to appear
  • to smell
  • to turn
  • sound
  • to grow

Individual Questions

what is a linking verb examples Is was a linking verb?

Yes, was is always a linking verb.

Is have a linking verb?

Have, itself, is not. But, when used with other verbs like have been, it can function as one.

Is has a linking verb?

Has is similar to have. See above.

Is had a linking verb?

Had is similar to have. See above.

Is will a linking verb?

Will, itself, is not. But, when used with other verbs like will be, it can function as one.

Is can a linking verb?

Can, itself, is not. But, when used with other verbs like can be, it can function as one.

Is is a linking verb?

Yes, is is always a linking verb.

Is are a linking verb?

Yes, are is always a linking verb.

Is were a linking verb?

Yes, were is always a linking verb.

Is became a linking verb?

Yes, became is always a linking verb.

Linking Verbs Re-identify, Describe the Subject

whats a linking verb What is the function of a linking verb? Linking verbs serve two purposes. While they explain a state of being, that state of being can be two things.

  1. Linking verbs serve to help rename or re-identify the subject.

When linking verbs help to rename or re-identify the subject when they are used with a predicate nominative. A predicate nominative is a noun (or nouns) that follows a linking verb that renames a subject.

  • They are my friends.
  • He is a baseball player.

In each of these examples, the words after the linking verb are nouns and they rename or re-identify the subject.

  1. Linking verbs serve to help describe the subject.

When linking verbs help to describe the subject when they are used with a predicate adjective. A predicate adjective is adjective (or adjectives) that follows a linking verb that renames a subject.

  • Sara seems
  • We are

In each of these examples, the words after the linking verb are adjectives and they describe the subject.

Linking Verb vs. Action Verb

linking and action verbs Action and linking verbs differ in the information that they convey.

A linking verb is a verb that expresses a state of being. The subject does not “do” the verb.

An action verb is a verb that expresses an action that the subject is doing. Explain the difference between these two. Give examples.

Some action verbs can be linking verbs. Their use determines if they are an action verb or a linking verb.

To determine if a verb is used as a linking verb or an action verb, decide if the subject is “doing” the action or if the action is expressing a state of being.

For example:

  • Verb: to smell
  • Action: He smelled the flowers.
  • Linking: He smells bad.

In the “action” sentence, the subject is “doing” the smelling. In the linking sentence, the subject is not doing anything. Rather, “smells” is a linking verb that helps to describe him.

Linking Verbs in Passive Voice, Progressive Tense

sentences with linking verbs The verb to be is used in English to form the passive voice and the progressive tense. Here is how linking verbs interact with both of these constructions in English.

Passive voice

Linking verbs can be used in the passive voice to express a state of being.

  • The house was built.
  • It was painted.

In each example, the subject is not “doing’ the action. These sentences are written in the passive voice through the linking verb, “to be.” “Built” and “painted” serve as adjectives to link the subject to the predicate adjective.

Progressive tense

Linking verbs can be used in the progressive tenses to express a state of being.

  • She is annoying.
  • They seem confusing.

In each example, the subject is not “doing’ the action. These sentences are written in the present progressive tense. “Annoying” and “confusing” serve as adjectives to link the subject to the predicate adjective.

How to Find a Linking Verb

If you are ever unsure whether a verb is a linking or action verb, here is a helpful trick.

If you can substitute a form of the verb “be” into your sentence and it still makes sense, you have a linking verb.

For example,

  • The cake smells wonderful.

Now, let’s substitute the verb “to be” with the verb “smells.”

  • The cake is wonderful.

As you can see, the sentence still makes perfect sense because the cake is not actually “doing” the smelling. “Smells” is acting as a linking verb, linking the subject cake to a descriptor “wonderful.”

Summary: What are Linking Verbs?

Define linking verb: the definition of a linking verb is a verb that connects a subject to the complement; they connect the subject of the verb to additional information about the subject.

To summarize, linking verbs:

  • expresses a state of being, not an action
  • links the subject to the predicate nominative (noun) or predicate adjective
  • helps to rename/re-identify or describe the subject