What are Linking Verbs? | Auxiliary Verbs

What are Linking Verbs?

A linking verb is a type of auxiliary verb that links the subject of a sentence to the subject complement.

In today’s lesson we will learn about linking verbs. A linking verb does not show any action. It just links, or joins, the subject of a sentence to a word that identifies or describes the subject, also called the subject complement.

The forms of the verbs to be, to become, and to seem are common linking verbs, but there are many others, including all the sense verbs: look, smell, touch, appear, sound, taste, and feel

Examples of Linking Verbs

Let’s look at some examples of linking verbs.

I am a lawyer. (Identifies)

The teacher is mean. (Describes)

Bill was a magician. (Identifies)

Bill is tired. (Describes)

The children are quiet. (Describes)

They were very sleepy. (Describes)

The baby became tired and fussy. (Describes )

Marcia has become the town gossip. (Identifies)

Ophelia seems distracted. (Describes.)

Linking Verbs are not Action Verbs

One thing to remember is that linking verbs do not express action. They simply link the subject with the subject complement to show their relationship. So when you are unsure is a verb is a linking verb or an action verb, simply substitute a form of the verb to be for the original verb.

Let’s take a look.

Ron tasted the corn chowder.

Ron is the corn chowder? No way. In this example, tasted is an action verb, not a linking verb.

The corn chowder tasted good.

The corn chowder is good. Yes! In this example the substitution makes sense so tasted is used as a linking verb.

Sylvia appears lost.

Sylvia is lost. Yes

Sylvia appears before the court.

Sylvia is the court? No, action verb.

Marlie touched the hot stove.

Marlie is the hot stove? No, action verb.

The bread smells delicious.

The bread is delicious.

Carli smells the wet grass.

Carli is the wet grass? No, action verb

You get the idea.

A linking verb does not show any action. The forms of the verbs to be, to become, and to seem are common linking verbs, but there are many others, including all the sense verbs: look, smell, touch, appear, sound, taste, and feel. When you are unsure if a verb is a linking verb or an action verb, simply substitute a form of the verb to be for the original verb.