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Verbs Express Actions

Verbs are doing words. A verb can express:
  • A physical action. (e.g., to swim, to write, to climb).
  • A mental action. (e.g., to think, to guess, to consider).
  • A state of being. (e.g., to be, to exist, to appear).

Linking Verbs

A linking verb connects a subject and its complement. Sometimes called copulas or copular verbs, linking verbs are often forms of the verb to be, but are sometimes verbs related to the five senses (look, sound, smell, feel, taste).


  • Jenny looked happy. (linking verb)
  • Jenny looked at the window. (ordinary verb)


  • The food tastes delicious. (linking verb)
  • They tasted the food. (ordinary verb)


  • She appeared quiet. (linking verb)
  • She appeared in the room. (ordinary verb)
Sometimes verbs that somehow reflect a state of being (appear, seem, become, grow, turn, prove, remain). What follows the linking verb will be either a noun complement or an adjective complement:
  • Those professors are brilliant.
  • This room smells bad.
  • I feel great.
  • A victory today seems unlikely.
A handful of verbs that reflect a change in state of being also link a subject to a predicate adjective:
  • His face turned purple.
  • She became older.
  • The dogs ran wild.
  • The milk has gone sour.
  • The crowd grew ugly.


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