As we have already covered, verbs are an essential part of speech (obviously!). Verbs wear many hats (not literally, of course), they serve as our action words in sentences, but they also can be used to link words together.
Not sure how verbs link together? Still, having trouble grasping what a verb is? This post (plus our vast library of English topics) will answer all of your questions!
A Quick Verb Review
Verbs are parts of speech that demonstrate action in writing. In short, verbs keep the text moving.
Verbs fall into two different categories: action and non-action.
Action verbs, aka dynamic verbs, describe an action. Whether it is physical or mental, these verbs add movement to writing. An action verb explains what the subject (or person) in the sentence is doing (or has done).
There are many action verbs in the English language (what can we say, we’re busy people!). Action verbs are not limited to what people are doing, but can also include what animals and objects are doing (for example, the computer turned on).
Non-action verbs do not relate to actions (duh). These words, instead, represent a state of being, need, opinion, sense, or preference.
This includes “be” verbs (such as am, are, was, were, is, etc.). Non-action words also include the five senses.
What are Linking Verbs?
If you couldn’t already tell from our definitions of action and non-action verbs, linking verbs fall into the non-action verb category.
A linking verb connects a subject with a word that elaborates on the subject (such as a condition or relationship). They don’t show action, but instead, they just link the two parts of the sentence together.
Much like a zipper on a jacket (or the glue holding two things together), the linking verb acts as the piece to tie the two sides of the sentence together. Of course, the linking verb must make sense in the context of the sentence to work. Otherwise, the entire sentence will lose meaning.
The most common linking verbs include the forms of to be: am, is, are, was, were, being, been.
The Linking Verbs Is and Are
As you can see, the linking verbs is and are are included in our non-action linking verb list. It is apart of the verb form to be. As mentioned above, these linking verbs serve to help the reader make sense of a sentence by providing context clues to help us understand.
Take the example, “She is short.” She, in this sentence, is our subject. Short is our adjective (or descriptive word). We need is, our linking verb, to connect her description to the subject.
The difference between when you should use is and when you should use are depends solely on if your subject is plural or not.
Remember, the plural is just a way to say that you are showing there is a multiple of your subject. So they represent a group of people; the trees mean that you might be in a forest, and geese most likely mean you’re walking through a field covered in poop.
In the case of is and are, you will use is when you are writing about singular references, and are when you are talking about the plural.
It’s that easy.
Examples of Linking Verbs in Writing
As mentioned above, linking verbs extend further than just is and are. Specifically, linking verbs generally are the different forms of to be. Here is a shortlist of different linking verb examples. As you can see, linking verbs connect the subject with the adjective to help the sentence make a connection that makes sense.
Examples of Is
- Sean is nervous about his soccer game.
- Martin is fond of spicy food.
- The police department is getting tough on crime.
Examples of Are
- You are silly.
- We are dismayed about the canceled vacation.
Additional Linking Verb Examples
- She appears surprised about the pop quiz.
- The hot springs smell rotten.
- He went red after he realized the entire school watched him trip up the stairs.
- Your plans for the vacation sound nice.
- You look frustrated about the changes to the plan.
- I am nervous about giving my speech.
- Shane might have been more friendly at the BBQ, but he was worried he was going to miss work.
- Tom acted happy when he got back from lunch.
- The audience fell silent when the actress began her song.
- The starry sky and romantic dinner was a dream come true.
- The crowd was screaming as the basketball player dunked the balls.
- All the children seem satisfied with the bouncy castle.
- Bob felt excited after drinking three cups of coffee.
- The pizza tastes old.
- Creating the project proves difficult for them.
- Colter has been a challenge for the last few weeks.
- The spectators remained silent after the injury on the field.
- He became angry when he saw that the wall was spray painted.
- All the kittens were sleepy.
- The theater gets dark when the show is about to begin.
- Some couples are lucky enough to grow old together.
- I feel nervous whenever the principal calls me to the office.
- The weather was pleasant, and the wedding was beautiful.
- The embers turn ashy as they cool.
- Mary reminisced about her career at her retirement party.
- Your friend might be disappointed if you don’t go.
- Sometimes, kids act sleepy.
- The tests indicate that you passed your test.
- Jumping into a pond could be chilly.
- Most children get cranky when they are sleepy.
- After the snowstorm, the roads were slick with black ice.
- A flaw in the design appeared to be the cause of the collapse.
- The vegetables in the bin looked disgusting and spoiled.
- They lived happily ever after.
- Riding in a car will be safer with a seat belt.
- She remains faithful, even though it has been two years since he left.
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Linked Verbs as Essential
As you can see, linking verbs are essential to writing and cannot be avoided. Is and and, helps us format our writing in singular and plural format.
As we always review, the importance of understanding these distinctions in writing boils down to the value of making sure your writing is clear to your readers. Whether you are writing a strongly worded letter to an employer or a letter declaring your love to another, you want to make sure that your reader can understand what you’re saying!
When readers are spending the majority of their time deciphering what you have put onto the page, they don’t want to use the extra energy to understand the purpose behind what you have written.
That is why understanding linking verbs is critical to becoming a strong and effective writer. By choosing the correct linking verbs, specifically when it comes to is and are, you are giving your reader their best shot at understanding what you are saying.