Action Verbs / Linking Verbs
Main Verbs / Helping Verbs
Linking Verbs and Action Verbs
Linking verbs show no action. They just connect to the subject and give more information about the subject.
We are writing an e-mail.
shows action in progress, and it is an action verb.
We are students.
gives information about the subject we
(there is no action), and so it is a linking verb.
Your new book seems interesting.
is a linking verb.
I see you.
is an action verb.
The soup tastes good. (here tastes
is a linking verb)
Sam is tasting the soup. (here is tasting
is an action verb)
An easy way to differentiate them is to replace the verb in question with a verb form of be. If the sentence doesn't make sense any more, then it is an action verb; if the sentence is still meaningful, it’s a linking verb.
The flowers we have picked from the backyard smell so nice.
The flowers we have picked from the backyard are so nice.
The sentence doesn't lose its meaning, so the verb smell
in the first sentence is a linking verb.
He looked at me with fear in his face.
He was at me with fear in his face.
The second sentence doesn't make sense, so the verb look
in the first sentence is an action verb.
Most common linking verbs are:
am / is / are / was / were
be / being / been
There are some verbs that can both be used as action and linking verbs.
A main verb has a major meaning on its own and it has a very important role in the predicate.
write, jump, talk, swim, eat, drive, ride, run etc.
A helping verb, also called an Auxiliary verb, has no meaning on its own but helps the main verb in functional and grammatical way.
Daniel is drawing a picture.
is the subject, "is"
is the helping verb, drawing
is the main verb (action in progress), a picture
is the object.
Some common helping verbs are:
am / is / are
was / were
be / been / being
have / has / had
may / might / must
shall / might / must
do / does / did
should / could / would