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Linking Verbs

Elizabeth O'Brien

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Linking Verbs

Are you ready to learn everything you need to know about linking verbs? Of course you are!

Linking verbs link!

First, let's start with plain old verbs. Do you know the definition of a verb?

Verbs are words that show actions or states of being.

You probably feel fairly comfortable with the "actions" part of that definition.

It's easy to grasp verbs as actions. (If you'd like more help with action verbs, read this page.)
Kristin planted flowers.

John ran a race.
Planted and ran are both verbs that name actions. In this lesson, we're going to focus on the "being" part of the above definition. There are many, many verbs that name actions, but there are only a handful of verbs that link. (Note that is isn't always a linking verb.)

Linking Verbs Show States of Being

These verbs tell us about the state or condition of the sentence's subject.
Sunny feels happy.

Elizabeth is a teacher.

Ron Swanson is the manager of the office.
Feels, is, and is are all verbs that tell us about the state of the subjects (Sunny, Elizabeth, Ron Swanson).

These verbs function as equals signs between the subject and a noun or adjective.

Sunny = happy

Elizabeth = teacher

Ron Swanson = manager
A linking verb is a verb that links the subject with either a noun that renames it (predicate nominative) or an adjective that describes it (predicate adjective).

You'll learn more about predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives in just a minute.

Sentence Diagramming

Sentence diagrams are pictures of sentences. They give us a way to show how words in a sentence are related.
Linking Verb Sentence Diagram Predicate Adjective or Noun
Do you see how the line between the verb and the predicate noun or predicate adjective is slanted back toward the subject?

The slanted line helps you remember that the noun is renaming the subject and the adjective is describing the subject. Isn't that neat?

Predicate Nominatives

Do you remember that nouns are words that name people, places, things, or ideas? If you need a refresher, check out the noun page.

A predicate nominative (or predicate noun) is just a fancy name for the noun that comes after a linking verb and renames the subject.

Here are some examples for you. The predicate nouns are in bold.
Elizabeth is a teacher.

Mike will be the president of the club.

Jolene was a runner.
Teacher is a predicate noun renaming Elizabeth, president is a predicate noun renaming Mike, and runner is a predicate noun renaming Jolene.

Diagramming Predicate Nouns

Linking Verb Sentence Diagram

Let's try diagramming a couple of sentences, shall we?
Linking Verb Sentence Diagram Predicate Noun
Ron Swanson is the manager of the office.
predicate noun sentence diagram
Christina Perri and Bruno Mars are singers.

Predicate Adjectives

Do you remember what adjectives do? Adjectives are words that modify nouns and pronouns.

You may have guessed this since you just learned about predicate nominatives, but predicate adjectives are just adjectives that come after linking verbs and describe the subject. Here are some examples for you. The predicate adjectives are in bold.
Sunny feels happy.

Dan seemed sad after the game.

Marge grew tired during the concert.

Happy is a predicate adjective describing Sunny, sad is a predicate adjective describing Dan, and tired is a predicate adjective describing Marge.

Diagramming Predicate Adjectives

Linking Verb Sentence Diagram
The weather was beautiful.
Linking Verb Sentence Diagram
This candy tastes delicious
Linking Verb Sentence Diagram
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Now you know all about linking verbs!
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