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English language Resources

Linking Verbs

A linking verb joins a subject with a predicate adjective, noun, or pronoun. The most common linking verbs are forms of the verb 'to be'. Other common linking verbs are 'seem', 'become', 'grow', 'smell', and 'taste':

Mary seemed able to win the race, but she became fatigued near the finish line.

A linking verb is usually followed by an adjective, not an adverb:

Her hands feel rough.

If you are not sure whether a verb is a linking verb or an action verb, try substituting a form of of the verb 'to be' for the verb. The verb is a linking verb if the meaning of the sentence is not significantly altered:

Zola looks sad.

Zola is sad.

A linking verb is sometimes referred to as a copula.