Linking verb

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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] or link the subject to some complement such as a predicate adjective or predicate noun. This 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.[2]

The following sentences include linking verbs.

  • Roses are red.
  • The detective felt sick.
  • The soup tasted weird.
  • Frankenstein resembles a zombie.


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