Linking Verbs

Linking verbs, also known as “copular verbs”, do not function in the same way as typical verbs. They don’t show an action, and it can take some practise to recognise them.

There are three different types of linking verb.

  1. One which shows a relationship between the subject and the part of the sentence that follows the verb.
  2. One which links the subject of the sentence with more information, or that further describe the subject.
  3. One which identifies a condition or relationship.

Commonly used linking verbs

Some of the most frequently used verbs are always linking verbs, and are known as “true linking verbs”. They do not describe an action, but connect the subject to additional information. The most common true linking verbs are forms of “to be”, “to become” and “to seem”. When you see these words (or forms of them) in a sentence, you know they are performing a connective or linking function to show a relationship or describe a state.

Other common action verbs which also work as linking verbs include:

  • Appear
  • Come
  • Do
  • Feel
  • Go
  • Grow
  • Have
  • Look
  • Remain
  • Sound
  • Turn

Examples of linking verbs in sentences

In the following examples, the verb in bold is the linking verb that connects the other pieces of information:

  • She looks very tired today.
  • This cake tastes amazing.
  • The crowd fell silent when the concert began.
  • We felt sad that the holiday was over.
  • They became suspicious of the man standing across the road.
  • The roads were slippery after the oil spill.
  • Jenny does not like Chinese food.