Action Verbs / Linking Verbs
Main Verbs / Helping Verbs


A verb is an important part of a sentence. It gives us information about the actions, events, or state of being. Verbs can be categorized into four groups:

  • Main verbs
  • Helping verbs (auxiliary verbs)
  • Linking verbs
  • Action verbs

  • Similar Subjects:
    Modal Verbs Chart
    Auxiliary Verbs
    State Verbs Grammar

    Linking Verbs and Action Verbs


    Linking verbs show no action. They just connect to the subject and give more information about the subject.

    For example:

    We are writing an e-mail.
    are writing shows action in progress, and it is an action verb.

    We are students.
    are gives information about the subject we(there is no action), and so it is a linking verb.

    Your new book seems interesting.
    Seems is a linking verb.

    I see you.
    see 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)

    Hint!

    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.

    For example:

    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

    Note:

    There are some verbs that can both be used as action and linking verbs.

    appear

    become

    feel

    grow

    look

    prove

    remain

    seem

    smell

    sound
    stay

    taste

    come

    lie

    prove

    act

    turn

    fall

    get




    Main Verbs


    A main verb has a major meaning on its own and it has a very important role in the predicate.

    For example:

    write, jump, talk, swim, eat, drive, ride, run etc.


    Helping Verbs


    A helping verb, also called an Auxiliary verb, has no meaning on its own but helps the main verb in functional and grammatical way.

    For example:

    Daniel is drawing a picture.
    Daniel 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

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