Linking Verbs

Linking verbs are connectors of the language. Their only job is to link a subject with a subject complement. Want to know how?

"Linking Verbs" in English Grammar

What Are Linking Verbs?

Linking verbs (also known as copula or copular verbs) simply link the subject of a sentence to a word or phrase that provides information about the subject (which is known as the subject complement.

Common English Linking Verbs

The most common English linking verbs are:

  1. be, become
  2. seem, look, look like, appear
  3. feel, sound, taste, smell, touch
  4. get, grow
  5. remain, stay
  6. turn, prove


Most linking verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses. Look at the example below:

The cake tastes delicious. (not 'the cake is tasting delicious.')

What Is a Subject Complement?

A word or phrase that comes after a linking verb and modifies or describes the subject is called a subject complement. A subject complement can be:

  • a predicative adjective

Mike is handsome.

In this example, 'handsome' is not an object to the verb 'is'. 'Handsome' is the subject complement to the subject 'he'. It means that 'he' and 'handsome' both refer to the same person.

Mike is a dentist.

'A dentist' is the complement of the sentence and 'is' stands for a linking verb.

Mike is behind the curtain.

Using the Linking Verb 'Be' in a Sentence


The adjectives that come alone and immediately after a linking verb is called a predicative postpositive adjective.

She seemed tired.

Here, 'tired' is a predicative postpositive adjective.


Keep in mind that linking verbs are not followed by an object or an adverb.

He seems nice. (not 'nicely')

Here, 'nice' is an adjective and you cannot use 'nicely' instead.

This pizza tastes delicious. (not 'deliciously')

Notice that you cannot say 'deliciously' because it comes after a linking verb.

Verbs 'Get' and 'Become'

Normally, linking verbs do not take the continuous tense (-ing form). However, the verb 'become' can be used in both simple and continuous forms.
Unlike other copula verbs that indicate an equivalence between the subject and the subject complement, 'become' suggests a change or transformation.

Mike got married last fall.

Here, 'married' is an adjective and it is the subject complement. Remember that here, we are referring to a situation not an action. If we wanted to refer to an action we'd have said 'Mike married Susan last fall'.

Mike is getting married this fall.

Here, the sentence refers to a change in the situation in the future.


  • Linking verbs:

just link the subject of a sentence and the subject complement.

  • Subject complement:

is a word or phrase that comes after a linking verb and modifies or describes the subject is called a subject complement.

English Linking Verbs

  1. be
  2. seem, look, look like, appear
  3. feel, sound, taste, smell :These verbs can be both state and action verbs.
  4. get, become: Normally a linking verb doesn't take a continuous tense (-ing form). But, the verbs 'get' and 'become' can take both the simple or continuous forms.


Loading recaptcha

You might also like

Ditransitive Verbs

Ditransitive verbs are transitive verbs that take two objects. A direct object and an indirect object. Follow the article to read more about them.

Ergative Verbs

Ergative verbs are a type of verbs that can be both transitive and intransitive. In this lesson, we will learn more about this type of verbs.

Complex Transitive Verbs

There are five basic types of verbs: intransitive, linking, mono-transitive, di-transitive and complex-transitive verbs. In this lesson, we'll discuss the last.

Dummy Verbs

Have you ever repeated a word too much that made you think How boring it got! You can use dummy verbs instead of repeated verbs.

Catenative Verbs

Catenative verbs, also known as chain verbs, are followed by other verbs to form a chain of two or more verbs. In this lesson, we will discuss them in detail.

Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs are verbs that are used transitively to reflect back to the subject. Let us learn more. Follow the article.
Download LanGeek app