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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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Does this kind of stuff make your head spin? The English language can feel complicated and frustrating to students of all ages (and even adults!). If you fall into the category of “I know this is important, but I’m not sure how to do it,” ArgoPrep has a solution for you.
ArgoPrep has created workbooks designed to help you become a more persuasive writer. With specific lessons that cover the conventions of the English language, practice questions, and an online library bursting with additional support, you are sure to find exactly what you need to become a more effective writer.
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.
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