Grammar 3



There are basically two kinds of verbs:

Action Verbs

Action verbs express an action. The action can be physical or mental.

Action verbs don't usually give students much trouble.

Linking Verbs

There's really just one linking verb, and that's the verb "to be". (We usually think of this as the verb "is").

"Is" is called a linking verb because it links the two sides of a sentence.



a doctor.




If we wanted to express this mathematically, we might write:

Thus, a linking verb is comparable to an an "=" sign. It says, in effect, "the left side of this sentence is equal to the right side of this sentence.

Here's the good news: There's only one linking verb, and that's the verb "is".

The bad news is this: The verb "is" is one of the most complicated verbs in the English language, because it has so many different conjugations. It's important for you to realize that all the following verbs are just variations of the verb "is".

  • is
  • am
  • was
  • are
  • were
  • has been
  • have been
  • will be
  • is going to be

Therefore, you need to be able to recognize all these verbs for what they really are: They're all simply = signs.



He is tall.

He = tall.

I am a farmer.

I = farmer.

He was fat.

He = fat.

You are beautiful.

You = beautiful

They were loud.

They = loud.

She has been happy.

She = happy.

We have been soldiers.

We = soldiers.

Bert will be a star.

Bert = star.

Jackie is going to be a lawyer.

Jackie = lawyer.


Okay, I lied. I told you that there's only one linking verb, but that's not exactly true. While it's true that the most common linking verb, by far, is the verb "is" (or "to be"), there are about a dozen other verbs that mimic "is", and these, too, are called linking verbs.

Here they are:

  • feel
  • taste
  • look
  • smell
  • appear
  • become
  • grow
  • remain
  • seem
  • sound
  • stay

Hopefully, you can see that all of these verbs are not so different than "is". Each of them could be replaced by "is" in a sentence, and each of them basically acts like an = sign.


Basic Meaning


I feel happy.

I am happy.

I = happy

The pizza tastes delicious.

The pizza is delicious.

The pizza = delicious.

Gilberto seemed angry.

Gilberto was angry.

Gilberto = angry.


Why It's Important

In the lessons to come, you'll be analyzing many different sentences, and to do this you need to be able to:

    1. Recognize the verb.
    2. Say whether that verb is an action verb (that's expressing an action) or a linking verb (that's acting like an = sign).

Instructions for the Quiz

For each sentence, the verb has been underlined. You must decide if that verb is a linking verb or an action verb.