What Are Linking Verbs? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

There are many ways to classify verbs. Two main types of verbs are action verbs and linking verbs. This lesson will give you a definition of linking verbs, some examples, and a way to identify linking verbs.

A Break From the Action

Do you ever get tired of all the busyness and action - like cooking, cleaning, working, writing, studying, carpooling, washing, mowing, driving, and typing? Do you ever wish you could get away from it all and just be - just exist calmly, without any action? Well, this lesson cannot give you that much-needed vacation from action. But it will introduce you to the type of verbs that do not express action. These verbs are called linking verbs. Linking verbs express a state of being and make a link in the sentence. Before we talk more about that link, let's review the basic parts of a sentence.

The Ingredients of a Sentence

In order for a sentence to be complete, it must have both a subject and a verb. The subject is who or what the sentence is about. The verb either tells what the subject does (an action verb) or it tells the subject's state of being (a linking verb).

  • She jumped for joy.

Subject = She; Verb (action) = jumped

  • That flower is beautiful.

Subject = flower; Verb (state of being) = is

A sentence can be divided into two parts: the subject part containing the subject and modifiers, and the predicate part, containing the verb and modifiers, objects, and subject complements. More on subject complements is coming up.

Now that we've reviewed the sentence, let's find out more about linking verbs.

The linking verb links the subject of the sentence with a word in the predicate part of the sentence that renames or describes the subject. The word in the predicate that follows a linking verb to rename or describe the subject is known as a subject complement. There are two types: predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives.

Predicate Nominatives

Sometimes the subject is linked to a noun (person, place, thing, or idea) or pronoun (word replacing a noun such as he, she, they). This noun or pronoun that renames the subject is called a predicate nominative.

  • Miranda is a scuba diver.

The linking verb ''is'' connects the subject ''Miranda'' with the noun ''diver.'' It renames the noun, Miranda.

Predicate Adjectives

Sometimes the subject is linked to an adjective (word that describes a noun or pronoun) that describes it. This adjective is called a predicate adjective.

  • My notebook is full.

The linking verb ''is'' connects the subject ''notebook'' with the adjective ''full.'' It describes the noun, notebook.

The most commonly used linking verbs are forms of the verb be as can be seen in the chart.

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

Recognizing Linking Verbs

You may be starting to think that linking verbs are boring. After all, we've only seen sample sentences with the verb ''is.'' Don't worry. There are actually many linking verbs. Look at the illustration.

linking verbs

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