Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (2024)

Main Linking Verbs Takeaways:

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    • Here’s a Comprehensive Linking Verbs .pdf
    • Unlike most verbs, a linking verb is not an action word.
    • Instead, they connect the subject of a sentence with the rest of the sentence. They join a subject with its predicate noun or adjective.
    • There are 12 main and 23 total linking verbs in the English language.
    • These are always linking verbs: to seem, to become, and any form of the verbto be.

    What is a Linking Verb in English Grammar?

    According to traditional English grammar guides, a linking verb describes the subject by connecting it with the rest of a sentence. What’s more, they can be a single word or a group of words. Unlike other verbs, this type of verb does not convey action. Instead, they describe or identify a subject. Think of them as the glue that holds a sentence together.

    There are several verbs that are always linking. These are:

    • to seem
    • to become
    • any form of the verb to be

    Here are some examples of linking verbs used in sentences:

    She seemed upset after the meeting.

    The flowers smelled lovely.

    He looked nervous when the teacher called on him during class.

    The new yellow wallpaper in the dining room is stunning.

    The twins were outside when the storm hit!

    All of the children stayed calm during the fire drill.

    Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (1)

    What is the Difference Between a Linking Verb and an Action Verb?

    Typically, verbs are action words. However, linking verbs don’t express action. Instead of acting, they describe and connect. Specifically, this type of verb describes a state of being. Moreover, it connects the subject of a sentence with the subject complements. Subject complements are predicate nouns or predicate adjectives. “To be,” “to become,” and “to seem” are always linking verbs. Words that can function as a linking or an actionverb include smell, appear, look, and sound.

    Linking Verb Definition: a word or expression that joins the subject of a sentence with its predicate.

    How Many Linking Verbs are There?

    There are 23 total linking verbs in the English language. This total is made up of about eight verbs that are always linking. Examples include become, seem, and any form of the verb to be like am, is, are, was, were, and has been. Additionally, this total includes about 15 more verbs that can also be action or helping verbs.

    What are the 23 Linking Verbs?

    The 23 linking verbs are:

    • am
    • is
    • was
    • are
    • were
    • being
    • been
    • be
    • have
    • has
    • had
    • do
    • does
    • did
    • shall
    • will
    • should
    • would
    • may
    • might
    • must
    • can
    • could

    What is the Most Common Linking Verb?

    There are 12 popular linking verbs (is, seems, be, am, becomes, been, are, feels, being, was, appears, were).

    • is
    • are
    • am
    • was
    • were
    • can be
    • could be
    • will be
    • would be
    • shall be
    • should be
    • may be
    • might be
    • must be
    • has been
    • have been
    • had been

    But, you can transform some of them into other forms, such ashelping verbs.

    What Is the Difference Between a Linking Verb and a Helping Verb?

    To start with, both linking verbs and helping verbs are not action verbs. However, there’s a big difference between their functions in a sentence. Linking verbs express a state of being or a condition. They connect the subject to the rest of the sentence. On the other hand, helping verbs or auxiliary verbs help the main action verb in a sentence. Consider the following examples:

    Linking verbs used in sentences

    I am a copywriter.

    The man became angry.

    She was shocked when she heard the news.

    Helping verbs used in sentence

    They haveeaten lunch.

    I believe the team will win.

    The babies are sleeping.

    Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (2)

    Here is a list of common helping verbs. Bold verbs are also linking:

    • is
    • can
    • be
    • do
    • may
    • had
    • should
    • was
    • has
    • could
    • are
    • will
    • been
    • did
    • might
    • were
    • does
    • must
    • have
    • would
    • am
    • shall
    • being

    To further complicate things, sometimes “is” can be linking, action verb, or a helping verb depending on the sentence’s context.

    Benjiismy neighbor.

    Mrs. McCormickismy teacher.

    Kylieismy boss.

    In these sentences, “is” describes a state of being. The action referenced here is “to be.”

    Download:Here’s a Comprehensive .pdf of Linking Verbs

    How Do You Identify a Linking Verb?

    Here’s are three quick tricks for identifying a linking verb. First, replace your verb with is or are. If the sentence still makes sense, then your verb is most likely a linking verb. This is because is and are can act as linking verbs, but they are also effective substitutes for others. Similarly, another trick is to replace the verb with an equals sign (=). If the sentence still make sense, the verb is almost certainly a linking verb. The final trick is to decide whether the verb describes a state of being or an action. If the verb describes the subject’s state of being, it’s probably a linking verb. However, if the verb describes an action, it’s probably not.

    1. Replace the Verb With Is or Are

    Ericafeelstired.

    Ericais tired.

    Samanthaseemsstressed when she writes essays.

    Samanthais stressed when she writes essays.

    The skyappearscloudy.

    The skyiscloudy.

    In the examples above, you can replace each verb in question with “is” or “are.” The sentences still make sense. Therefore, it’s confirmed that the each verb we replaced islinking.

    However, in this example, the meaning of the sentence changes when we substitute the verb in question:

    During the summer, my laundry dries quickly.

    During the summer, my laundry is quickly.

    The verb dries is an action verb because itdescribes an action the subject takes and not a state of being.

    2. Replace the Verb With =

    One of my favorite short-hand tactics for taking notes in History class. Replacing the verb in question with an equal sign can also help you determine what kind of verb a word is.

    Shayla is annoyed.

    Shayla = annoyed

    How does Shayla feel? She’s annoyed, and we understand that after reading each example.

    3. You Decide: State of Being or Action?

    Action verbs express something a person or thing does. Linking verbs do not convey action. However, some are also action verbs.

    Dariasmellslike cake.

    The example above describes the subject, Daria. What’s more, the word smells connects Daria to the rest of the sentence. The linking category of verbs describes the subject and connects it to the rest of the sentence. Therefore, smells is linking here.

    Dariasmellsthe cake.

    However, this example describes an action that the subject of the sentence took. In other words, this example describes something that Daria did.

    What did Daria do? She smelled (the cake. We know you’re fresh as a daisy, Daria).

    Therefore, smells is an action verb here.

    Linking, Helping, Action, or All of the Above? Set a new High Quiz Score

    Linking Verbs Question #1

    Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (3)

    Correct!Wrong!

    The answer is TRUE. Linking verbs connect the subject of a sentence with its predicate.

    Linking Verb Question #2

    Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (4)

    Correct!Wrong!

    The answer is B. Seems connects the subject, John, with the rest of the sentence.

    Verb "is" and "are" Question #3

    Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (5)

    Correct!Wrong!

    The answer is TRUE. You can identify a linking verb in a sentence by replacing it with “is” or “are.”

    Linking Verb Question #4

    Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (6)

    Correct!Wrong!

    The answer is D. Work is an action verb.

    Linking Verb Question #5

    Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (7)

    Correct!Wrong!

    The answer is A. Unlike linking verbs, helping verbs help the main verb in a sentence by extending its meaning.

    Helping Verb Question #6

    Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (8)

    Correct!Wrong!

    The answer is B. Seems is a linking verb that connects the subject of a sentence with its predicate.

    Read More: First, Second, and Third Person: Points of View in Writing

    Linking Verbs: Complete List and How to Identify Them – INK Blog (2024)

    FAQs

    What is the easiest way to identify a linking verb? ›

    One way to determine whether the verb is functioning as an action verb or a linking verb is to substitute the word “Is” for the verb in question. If the sentence still makes sense, then it is probably a linking verb.

    What are the 23 linking verbs? ›

    List of linking verbs:
    IsCan beMay be
    AreCould beMight be
    AmWill beMust be
    WasWould beHas been
    WereShall beHave been
    1 more row

    What are the 12 most common linking verbs? ›

    What is the Most Common Linking Verb? 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 ashelping verbs.

    What are the 8 main linking verbs? ›

    Unlike action verbs, there is only a very short list of words that are true linking verbs. Interestingly these words are always linking verbs. Here is the list: Be, am, is, are, was, were, has been, any other form of the verb “be”, become, and seem.

    How do you identify linking words? ›

    Conjunctions are linking words like and, or, but, then and because. The two main types of conjunctions are coordinating (words such as and and but) and subordinating. Subordinating conjunctions (e.g. because, if, when, in order to) link a subordinate clause to a main clause.

    How do you identify a linking word in a sentence? ›

    Linking words can be used between clauses, in the middle of the sentence. Examples include: words that contrast ideas (however, although), show consequence (therefore, as a result), and phrases that add more information (moreover, furthermore).

    How do you tell if a verb is a linking verb? ›

    A linking verb connects the subject of a sentence to an adjective, noun, or pronoun that completes the meaning of the verb. Common linking verbs are the forms of the verb to be; verbs relating to the five senses; and the verbs become, appear, and seem.

    What are the 9 most common linking verbs? ›

    Here's a list of 19 of the most common linking verbs.
    • be.
    • became.
    • seem.
    • stay.
    • remain.
    • grow.
    • act.
    • go.
    Nov 10, 2022

    What are the 5 most common linking verbs? ›

    The most common linking verb is to be and its forms am, is, are, was, were, be, being, and been.

    What is the mnemonic for linking verbs? ›

    In addition: LG BARF TSS TSS is a mnemonic device some of my scholars created to remember the linking verbs. These verbs may be linking or action, depending on how they are used. A simple check it to replace the verb in question with the appropriate form of To BE. If the sentence makes sense, then the verb is linking.

    What are the linking verbs that are used most often? ›

    The most common linking verb is to be, whose basic forms are as follows: am, is, are, was, were, be, been, and being. Other examples of linking verbs include appear, feel, look, seem, sound, and smell.

    What is the most important linking verb? ›

    The most common linking verb is the verb "to be" (in all of its forms, e.g., "am," "is," "are," "was," "were," "will be," "was being," "has been"). Other common linking verbs relate to the five senses ("to look," "to feel," "to smell," "to sound," and "to taste").

    What are all the examples of linking verbs? ›

    Am, is, are, was, were, seems, become, remain, grow, etc., are some examples of linking verbs.

    What are linking verbs in detail? ›

    A linking verb is a verb “that serves as a connecting link or establishes an identity between subject and complement.” For example, the sentence The blanket is green uses the linking verb is to link the subject the blanket with the adjective green that provides information about the subject.

    What are linking verbs explain with examples? ›

    A linking verb (or copular verb) connects the subject of a sentence with a subject complement (i.e., a noun, pronoun, or adjective that renames or describes the subject). For example, in the statement “Max is excited,” the verb “is” links the subject “Max” to the adjective “excited.”

    What is a linking verb simple example? ›

    A linking verb is a verb “that serves as a connecting link or establishes an identity between subject and complement.” For example, the sentence The blanket is green uses the linking verb is to link the subject the blanket with the adjective green that provides information about the subject.

    How do you identify action and linking verbs? ›

    The easiest way to distinguish a linking verb from an action verb is to insert the word “is” in place of said verb. If the sentence is still understandable, then more than likely you are dealing with a linking verb. Let's take a look at some examples: The man grew angry.

    How do you tell if a verb is linking or helping? ›

    A linking verb is a type of verb used to connect subjects and predicates, while a helping verb assists the main verb in completing the sentence.

    How do you identify linking and helping verbs? ›

    - The linking verb is used to CONNECT the subject with something that describes it: "I am tall." -The helping verb is used together with an additional main verb to express the action: "I am running."

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