What is a Linking Verb? How to Identify a Linking Verb?

What is a Linking Verb?

A verb that plays the role of connecting the subject with the word or words in the complement used for providing more information about the subject is called a linking verb. Linking verbs never convey any sort of action. Rather, they help describe or provide more information about the subject.

So, to be a linking verb, a verb should have two basic features. They are:

  1. Feature of creating a link or relation between the subject and its complement
  2. The complement should provide more information about the subject used in the sentence.
linking-verb
Linking Verb

Example:

  • Mrs. Vanessa is a scholarly teacher. [In this sentence, ‘is’ is a linking verb, for it helps describe Mrs. Vanessa (subject) by the complement used after the verb ‘is’.]
  • Monica feels sad. [In this sentence, ‘feels’ is a linking verb, for it helps describe Monica (subject) by the complement used after the verb ‘feels’.]
  • Milk turns sour. [In this sentence, ‘turns’ is a linking verb, for it helps describe Milk (subject) by the complement used after the verb ‘turns’.]

How to identify a Linking Verb?

A linking verb is responsible for creating a link or connection between the words (subject) before it, and the words (complement) after it. The main reason for this connection through a linking verb is to provide information about that subject. This information is given through two different parts of speech or a group of words. They are:

  1. Noun / noun phrase [A noun phrase is a group of words that functions like a noun.]
  2. Adjective / adjective phrase [An adjective phrase is a group of words that functions like an adjective.]

That is to say, after a linking verb, only a noun/noun phrase or an adjective/adjective phrase can be used as compliments. If any other parts of speech other than a noun or an adjective, then the verb used in that sentence is not a linking verb.

Tips: Use the appropriate form of ‘be’ verb in place of a verb to judge if that is a linking verb. If that is a linking verb, then the sentence will come out as a meaningful one. If not the sentence won’t carry any meaning.

Example:

  • Mark is a doctor. [In this sentence, the complement is a noun phrase.]
  • Vanessa seems an angel. [In this sentence, the complement is a noun phrase.]
  • The boys are students. [In this sentence, the complement is a noun.]
  • Sofia has fallen ill. [In this sentence, the complement is an adjective.]
  • You must keep calm. [In this sentence, the complement is an adjective.]
  • I am deeply sorry. [In this sentence, the complement is an adjective phrase.]

Linking Verb with Noun Complement:

The function of a noun/noun phrase as a compliment after a linking verb is to describe the subject in a detailed way. The verbs that are used as linking verbs for noun complements are:

be, become, appear, feel, look, prove, remain and turn.

If you ask a question with the word ‘what’ on the verb, you will get a noun/noun phrase as an answer.

Example:

  • William is a professor.
  • Mark becomes a doctor.
  • The conference appeared a success.
  • Petra felt a complete fool.
  • Flora looks an angel.
  • The discussion proved a failure.
  • Your plan seems a good one.
  • The patriot turned a traitor.

Linking Verb with Adjective Complement:

The function of an adjective/adjective phrase as a compliment after a linking verb is to tell the subject’s condition or quality. The verbs that are used as linking verbs for adjective complements are:

be, become, appear, fall, feel, get, go, grow, keep, look, prove, remain, run, seem, smell, sound, taste, and turn.

Example:

  • William is happy.
  • Mark became poor.
  • Michel appears healthy.
  • John has been ill for the last three days.
  • The student felt very nervous.
  • My friend is getting bald.
  • Joseph has gone mad.
  • The patient grew restless.
  • You all must keep calm.
  • His eyes looked pale.
  • The problem proved difficult to solve.
  • The morale of the soccer players remained high.
  • This beautiful place has run dry for the lack of rain.
  • William seems unhappy with his test results.
  • These flowers smell marvelous.
  • No one should sound pessimistic.
  • Oranges taste delicious.
  • His face turned yellow when he heard the news.

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Rezaul Karim

Hi, my name is Rezaul Karim. I am an English teacher and founder of LearnEnglishWithRezaul.com. I work with non-native English learners to help them understand English grammar from basic to intermediate. I also help them improve their conversation skills, communication ability and to reduce their accent. I hope you may like my posts on this website.

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