Linking verbs

What are linking verbs?

Linking verbs (also referred to as copulas or copular verbs) don't show action like ordinary verbs. They rather link or connect the subject to a subject complement, the part of the sentence that follows the verb. This complement which contains additional information describes and identifies the subject.


  • Larry looks happy. (looks is a linking verb; happy is a complement that describes and identifies Larry, the subject)
  • The play was good. (was is a linking verb; good is a complement that describes and identifies the play, the subject

List of linking verbs

This is a list of common linking verbs:

  • appear
  • be
  • become
  • feel
  • get
  • grow
  • look
  • prove
  • remain
  • seem
  • smell
  • stay
  • sound
  • taste
  • turn

Linking verb?

Some of the verbs listed above can function as linking verbs and as ordinary verbs. One trick that you can use to identify whether a verb is a linking verb or an ordinary verb is to see the relation between the subject and complement. If the relation is indicative of an equal sign (=), then it is a linking verb. Consider the following examples:

  • He looks angry. (He = angry | linking verb)
  • He looked at the man. (He = at the man | action verb)



  • Nadia looked happy. (linking verb)
  • Nadia 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)

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