Linking Verbs

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Linking Verbs

What Are Linking Verbs?

Linking verbs are used to describe the subject of a sentence or to reidentify the subject. It links the subject to the complement.

It tells what the subject IS, not what it is doing (like an action verb).


subjectlinking verbcomplement (adjective)


Mrs. Nguyenisa teacher.
subjectlinking verbcomplement (noun)

What is a subject complement?

A subject complement is the word, phrase, or clause that follows a linking verb, either describing or reidentifying the subject of the sentence.

When it describes the subject, the complement is an adjective.

He seems angry.
- Angry is an adjective, and describes how he seems.

Our lunch tastes disgusting.
- Disgusting is an adjective, because it describes how the lunch tastes.

When it reidentifies the subject, the complement is a noun.

Sarai is a future congresswoman.
- Congresswoman is a noun, and identifies Sarai as being a congresswoman.

They are students.
- Students is a noun, and reidentifies the pronoun they as students.

What are some examples of linking verbs?

Linking verbs are usually forms of TO BE - am, is, are, was, were, will be, was being, has been - , but also include sensory words like appear, look, seem, feel, smell, sound, and taste.
• She appears to be his mother.
• Her painting looks colorful.
• This steak smells fantastic.
• It sounds like a racecar engine.
• Your sweater feels fuzzy.
• This lemon tastes sour.

HINT! Here’s a refresher on what TO BE verbs are:

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