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Linking Verbs

Perfect English Grammar

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Some verbs don't talk about actions, but instead link the subject to an adjective (or a noun or other phrase, but not a grammatical object) which gives us more information about the subject. These verbs are called linking verbs (or sometimes copula verbs).

These three verbs are always linking verbs in English:
beHe is tall.
seemYou seem sad.
becomeHe became thin.
These verbs can be used as linking verbs, but sometimes they're normal verbs. Here are some examples of them being used as linking verbs:
actHe acted happy, but actually he was really sad.
appearShe appeared cold, so we took her inside.
feelI feel terrible today!
getIt's getting warm. The spring is coming!
goThe food went bad, because I forgot to put it in the fridge.
growShe grew tired.
lookYou look beautiful today!
proveHe thought he was right, but he was proved wrong.
remainHe remained calm. It was only a spider.
smellThe meal smelled delicious.
soundThe band sounded excellent.
stayHe stayed curious all his life.
tasteThe milk tasted horrible.
turnThe weather turned bad just as we were leaving.

Linking verbs are not the same as stative verbs. Some linking verbs are stative, but some are not.
  • I'm getting old (a linking verb but not a stative verb).
  • The soup tastes good (a linking verb and a stative verb).
  • I know Julie (stative verb but not a linking verb).