Grammar 5


Equative Clauses

The first of the five basic clause patterns is called the equative pattern. The formula for this pattern is "Subject / Linking Verb / Complement" and we represent this pattern like this: (S=C).

  Subject Linking
John is
  • sad.
  • a doctor.

A linking verb is like an "=" sign. It's a verb that conveys that the left side of the sentences is "equal" to the right side of the sentence. In the above example, we are saying, in effect, that:

The left side of the equation is the subject.

The right side of the equation is called the complement. It "completes" the subject. Note the spelling:

The complement can be either an adjective or a noun.

The most common linking verb, by far, is the verb "is" (or more precisely, "to be"). However, keep in mind that the verb "is" has many different conjugations. It's important that you realize that the following verbs are all variations of the verb "is".

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

There are also other words that can function as linking verbs. These words include:

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

Study the following examples of the equative pattern:

Subject Linking Verb (=) Complement
Our house is sturdy.
The room was dark
The plants are thirsty.
The applicants were women.
The weather will be cold.
I have been an idiot.
She is going to be a star.
The man seemed lazy.
Edgar has been depressed.
I am the champion.
Ben became a police officer.
The turkey looked delicious.

Instructions for the Quiz

Identify the underlined word or phrase. Is it the subject, the linking verb, or the complement?


1. The room was dark.
linking verb


In this example, the answer is C.