Linking Verb - Definition, Rules of Usage and Examples

Verbs, in general, are used to indicate actions, events or the state of being. Among the different functions of verbs, using them to link the subject in a sentence with the rest of the sentence is one of them. Learn more about linking verbs, their definition and how to use them effectively. Check out the examples and practice questions for a clear idea of the same.

Table of Contents

What is a Linking Verb?

A linking verb, as the name suggests, is used to link the subject (noun or pronoun) to the rest of the sentence. It acts like a bridge between the subject and the subject complement in a sentence. Let us look at how different dictionaries define the term ‘linking verb’.

Definition of a Linking Verb

The Oxford Learners’ Dictionary defines a linking verb as “a verb such as be or become that connects a subject with the adjective or noun (called the complement) that describes it.” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a linking verb is “an intransitive verb that connects a subject with a word or words in the predicate. The words ‘look’ in ‘you look tired’ and ‘are’ in ‘my favourite fruits are apples and oranges’ are linking verbs.”

A linking verb, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is defined as “a verb that connects the qualities of an object or person to that object or person.”

How to Use Linking Verbs?

A linking verb can be used for various reasons:

  • To link one part of the sentence to another
  • To link the subject with more information about the subject, for example, with an adjective or a complement.
  • To denote an existing relationship or condition of the subject in a sentence.

Linking verbs act a little differently. They are not used to denote an action but just as a link. They do not seem to necessarily mean anything. It is normally found right next to the subject in a sentence.

Examples of Linking Verbs

Let us have a look at the following examples to understand how linking verbs can be used.

  • All basic forms of the ‘to be’ verb can be used as linking verbs to qualify the state of being of the subject.
  • All forms of the verb ‘to seem’ are used as linking verbs.
  • All forms of the verb ‘to become’ are used as linking verbs.

Some verbs can act as both linking verbs and action verbs.

  • Verbs that provide more information about the five senses can be used as linking verbs.
  • Verbs that indicate growth, inactivity or change can also be used as linking verbs in sentences.

Let us now look at a few examples of the different forms of these three verbs, which can act as linking verbs.

Verbs that Show the State of Being

Verbs that Describe the Five Senses

Verbs that Portray Change, Growth and Inactivity

Am

Appear

Grow

Is/Are

Look

Remain

Was/Were

Smell

Prove

Been

Feel

Turn

Being

Sound

Stay

Seem

Taste

Act

Become

Get

Having known the verbs which can be used as linking verbs now, don’t you want to know how to use them in sentences? Given below are a few sentences constructed using linking verbs to help you with it.

  • Navani seems to be very energetic today.
  • The dish smells delicious.
  • The dress you were wearing yesterday looked great on you.
  • Divya and Mazeeka remained best friends even after all the fights they have had in the past.
  • The little boy sounded excited about the school trip.
  • Gavin is the new marketing manager of CSD Fin Corp.

Check Your Understanding of Linking Verbs

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate linking verbs in the following sentences:

1. I _____ the class teacher of VII B.

2. Ferry and Henry _________ exhausted after cleaning every loft in the office.

3. This book on women and society _______ to be interesting.

4. The tree _______ cut.

5. The child ______ happy.

6. Your brother ________ really cool.

7. Beth _____ the Vice Principal of St Luke’s Anglo Indian Girls High School.

8. The teacher ________ absent today.

9. My parents ________ tired after the long journey.

10. Kenny ______ a great man.

Find out if you filled in the blanks with the right linking verb.

1. I am the class teacher of VII B.

2. Ferry and Henry were exhausted after cleaning every loft in the office.

3. This book on women and society seems to be interesting.

4. The tree was cut.

5. The child looks happy.

6. Your brother sounds really cool.

7. Beth is the Vice Principal of St Luke’s Anglo Indian Girls High School.

8. The teacher was absent today.

9. My parents were tired after the long journey.

10. Kenny seems to be/is/was a great man.

Frequently Asked Questions on Linking Verbs in English

What is a linking verb?

A linking verb, as the name suggests, is used to link the subject (noun or pronoun) to the rest of the sentence. It acts like a bridge between the subject and the subject complement in a sentence.

What is the definition of a linking verb?

The Oxford Learners’ Dictionary defines a linking verb as “a verb such as be or become that connects a subject with the adjective or noun (called the complement) that describes it.” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a linking verb is “an intransitive verb that connects a subject with a word or words in the predicate. The words ‘look’ in ‘you look tired’ and ‘are’ in ‘my favourite fruits are apples and oranges’ are linking verbs.” A linking verb, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is defined as “a verb that connects the qualities of an object or person to that object or person.”

Give some examples of linking verbs.

Am, is, are, was, were, seems, become, remain, grow, etc., are some examples of linking verbs.

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