Difference Between Action and Linking Verbs

Main Difference – Action vs Linking Verbs

Verbs are words that are used to describe an action, state or an occurrence. Action verbs and linking verbs are two types of verbs that describe actions and states, respectively. The main difference between action and linking verbs is that action verbs express an action whereas linking verbs express a state.

What are Action Verbs

An action verb is a word that expresses an action. It can indicate activity, process, momentary action or a physical condition. Action verbs specifically refer to the action performed by the subject of a sentence. Action verbs are also known as dynamic verbs.

Action verbs indicate what a person, animal or an object can do. It is important to note that action verbs contain both physical and mental actions. Run, eat, think, walk, giggle, bark, scratch, push, kill, sleep and type are some examples of action verbs.

He drank some salty water.

He ran up and down the stairs.

Seeing the stranger, the dog barked loudly.

This food processor prepares food within 10 minutes.

Matilda woke up early in the morning and got ready to go to school.Difference Between Action and Linking Verbs

What are Linking Verbs

Linking verbs are verbs that express a state. Linking verbs link the subject of the sentence to a word or phrase in the predicate. Linking verbs help to identify or describe the subject further.

To be, to become and to seem are three verbs that always act as linking verbs. Other verbs such as feel, remain, look, taste, smell, sound, appear, turn can act as both linking verbs and action verbs, depending on the context.

She is the mother of this baby.

The baby’s skin feels so soft and smooth.

This cream tastes heavenly.

He remained upset and moody, even after their repeated attempts to cheer him up.

Your voice sounds strange, are you coming down with something?

The word, phrase or the clause that follows the linking verb is called the subject complement. Therefore, linking verb can be also defined as a verb that links the subject and the subject complement. It is also important to note that a linking verb cannot exist without a complement. That is to say, linking verb has to be followed by a complement in order to form a meaningful sentence.

This ice-cream tastes…Main Difference - Action vs Linking Verbs

Difference Between Action and Linking Verbs


Action verb is a verb that indicates an action.

Linking verb is a verb that links the subject to its complement.


Action Verbs express an action.

Linking Verbs express a state.

Followed by

Action Verbs are followed by objects.

Linking Verbs are followed by subject complements.


Action Verbs can exist without an object.

Linking Verbs cannot exist with a subject complement.


Action Verbs indicate the action being performed by the subject.

Linking Verbs help to identify or describe the subject.Difference Between Action and Linking Verbs - infographic

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