Linking verb

This article is about linking verbs as defined in traditional grammar. For linguistic scholarship, see Copula (linguistics).

In traditional grammars and guide books, the term linking verb is used to refer to verbs that describe the subject[1] by connecting it to a predicate adjective or predicate noun (collective known as subject complements). Unlike the majority of verbs, they do not describe any direct action taken or controlled by the subject.[2]

Linking verbs includes copulas such as the English verb be and its various forms, as well as verbs of perception such as look, sound, or taste and some other verbs that describe the subject, such as seem, become, or remain.[1] In addition to predicate adjectives and predicate nouns,[1] English allows for predicate prepositional phrases as well: John is behind the cocktail cabinet.[3]

The following sentences include linking verbs.


  1. 1 2 3 Lester, Mark (2001). "Linking Verbs and Their Complements". Grammar and Usage in the Classroom (2 ed.). Macmillan. pp. 82–91. ISBN 0205306551.
  2. "Linking Verbs". Retrieved 2016-07-08.
  3. Hurford, James R. (1994). Grammar: A Student's Guide. Cambridge UP. p. 185. ISBN 9780521456272.
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