List of English copulae

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This is a list of copulae in the English language, i.e. words used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate (a subject complement).

Because many of these copulative verbs may be used non-copulatively, examples are provided. Also, there can be other copulative verbs depending on the context and the meaning of the specific verb used, therefore this list is not an exhaustive one.

  • act "Tom acted suspicious."
  • appear "Tom appears satisfied, but really is not."
  • be "Tom is a coward."
  • become (inchoative) "Tom became wealthy."
  • call in "Tom called in sick."
  • come "The prediction came true;" "the belt came loose;" "the characters in the story come alive"
  • come out "It came out burnt."
  • constitute[1] "Verbs constitute one of the main word classes in the English language"
  • die "He died poor."
  • eat "Tom eats healthy."
  • emerge "Tom emerged unharmed after the incident."
  • end up "I ended up broke;" "the room ended up a mess."
  • equal "Two plus two equals four."
  • get (inchoative) "Tom got angry."
  • go "The man went crazy;" "Tom went bald;" "the food went bad;" "the mistake went unnoticed"
  • grow (inchoative) "Tom grew insistent."
  • fall "Tom fell ill with the flu."
  • feel "Tom felt nauseated."
  • freeze "The lake froze solid."
  • keep "Tom kept quiet."
  • lean "This area leans conservative."
  • look "Tom looks upset."
  • play "The possum played dead."
  • prove "Tom's behavior proves difficult to understand."
  • remain "Tom remained unsatisfied."
  • run "Protectionist impulses run far too strong on Capitol Hill"[2] (New York Times)
  • seem "Tom seems happy."
  • shine "Her smile shines bright."
  • smell "Tom smelled sweet"
  • sound "Tom sounded obnoxious."
  • stay "Tom stayed happy."
  • take "Tom took ill."
  • taste "The food tastes fresh."
  • turn (inchoative) "Tom turned angry."
  • turn up "Tom turned up missing."
  • wax "Tom waxed lyrical."

References[edit]