What are Linking Verbs
Verbs are words that describe an action, state or occurrence and they form the main part of the predicate of a sentence. Linking verbs are verbs that express a state. In this article, we are going to discuss the nature of linking verbs, their functions, and examples.
As their name suggest, 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.
He is a giant. – In this sentence, the linking verb identifies the subject.
This dress looks pretty. – In this sentence, the linking verb describes the subject.
Linking verbs can only express a state, not an action. Therefore, they cannot take objects. The word, phrase or the clause that follows the linking verb is called the subject complement.
Look at the following sentences, and observe the function of the linking verbs and subject complements.
She is a mother of two children.
You look fabulous.
I felt sick when I got up the following morning.
His father is the president of the club.
Your voice sounds hoarse.
He seemed to be happy.
The project was a total disaster.
Identifying Linking Verbs
There are only a limited number of linking verbs in the English language. Some verbs like be (any form of be), become, and seem always act as linking verbs. But some verbs act as both linking verbs and action verbs depending on the context. Examples of such verbs include appear, look, grow, remain, and turn.
Remember that verbs that refer to the five senses can act as linking verbs (smell, sound, taste, feel, sound). But they can also act as action verbs.
If you want to know whether they are linking verbs or not, all you have to do is substitute the relevant verb with am, is or are. If the sentence still sounds logical, the verb is a linking verb. If not, it is an action verb.
I tasted the egg rolls. – I am the egg roll → Action verb
This egg roll tastes good. – This egg roll is good →Linking verb
I felt the wet grass beneath me. – I am the wet grass beneath me. →Action verb
I felt depressed after seven days of staying inside the house. →I am depressed after seven days of staying inside the house. – Linking verb
Note that this substitution will not work with to appear. With this verb, you’ll have to analyze the function of the verb.
Summary – Linking Verbs
We can summarize the features of linking verbs as follows.
- Linking verbs do not indicate an action.
- Linking verbs link the subject to words or phrases that describe or identify the subject.
- Linking verbs are followed by subject complements.
- Linking verbs cannot take a direct object.
- Some common linking verbs include be, become, seem, look, appear, etc.