Verb Types: Linking Verbs*

Verb Types: Linking Verbs

April 4, 2019

Native English Instructor

Written by Douglas Shaw

Linking verbs do not express actions, thoughts, events. Instead, they are used to connect the subject of the verb to more information about the subject. :

Linking verbs are used in descriptions of what someone or something is or what they are like.

Main Linking Verbs.


True Linking Verbs

werehas beenare beingmight have been

Note: Most words that function as linking verbs can be action verbs as well.

English verbs are divided by function into two categories.

  1. Linking verbs
  2. Action verbs

Linking verbs: are also called (being verbs) – expressing state-of-being.

Action verbs: Well, they express exactly that – “action”.

Let me say this again, linking verbs link two ideas and tell us that the ideas are the same.


Lucy will be angry when she finds out she was not chosen.

In this sentence (“will be”) is the linking verb. – connects Lucy with her state-of-being (“angry”).

Here are some linking verbs that are not forms of “to be”.


These verb forms are in fact similar of the verb form “to be” in that they express state-of-being. The only thing is, they simply add doubt to the basic concept.

e.g. Doubt

With his green skin and large body , The Hulk seemed threatening.

In this sentence the word “seemed” is the linking verb for “the Hulk” and “threatening”. Using “seemed” expresses doubt.

e.g. Definite

With his green skin and large body the Hulk was threatening.

Using “was” expresses the definite – the Hulk was threatening.