Linking Verbs: Types & Practice

Instructor: Lesley King

Lesley has taught ESOL for many years, holds a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, and a doctorate degree in Instructional Leadership.

In this lesson, you will learn which verbs are considered linking verbs and why they are used in sentences. You will also learn how to use linking verbs and see a list of different examples for the different types of verb categories.

What is a Linking Verb?

Can you remember a time when you had to secure an item using a chain? Maybe you also had to use a hook to close your necklace or bracelet. The way a chain and hook work is the same way that a linking verb works. Linking verbs are verbs that connect the subject of a sentence to a part in the predicate of the sentence. Subjects tell the reader who or what the sentence is all about. This is usually a person, place or thing, which is also known as a noun. The predicate tells us what the subject is doing or the condition of the subject. The lock that holds it together is the linking verb.

chain, lock

How Can Linking Verbs be Identified?

Linking verbs are commonly known as state of being verbs. This means that they are verbs that do not show a physical action, like 'dance.' In other words, the state of being verbs are a group of verbs that do not show movement. Some of them are 'is,' 'am,' 'were,' and 'was.' These words do not show a real action, but are necessary to give meaning to the subject of a sentence. To identify linking verbs, make sure you look for verbs that connect, but show no action.

For example, look at this sentence:

  • Sherry was afraid.

The linking verb is 'was.' It is connecting the subject, Sherry, to the predicate, afraid. The linking verb in the example gives more details about Sherry by connecting it to a word that is describing her.

Which Linking Verbs are Used the Most?

Some linking verbs are more popular than others. The ones that are used the most are the forms of 'to be' in the chart below:

'to be'
Am Is
Are Was
Were Has
Being Been

These words are used in normal conversations everyday.

There are other linking verbs that may not be used as much. One would be the word 'became.' It would be used to connect the subject and the predicate in a sentence like the one below:

  • Marco became angry after the game.

The linking verb 'became' is connecting the subject, Marco, to the predicate, angry. It is giving us more description about Marco.

Some other linking verbs (note that this is not a complete list) that are not as common as the ones mentioned above are in the chart below:

Other Linking Verbs

An example of how to use these would be:

  • The music sounds loud.

This is another example of the linking verb, sounds, connecting the subject, music, to the predicate, loud.

You could practice building your own sentences using these linking verbs and become an A+ learner!

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