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linking verb

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linking verb

Examples of common linking verbs in English

Definition:

A verb, such as a form of be or seem, that joins the subject of a sentence to a complement.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "It is always the best policy to speak the truth--unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar."
    (Jerome K. Jerome)


  • "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
    (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four, 1890)


  • "If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself. Tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches."
    (Rainer Maria Rilke)


  • "While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior."
    (Henry C. Link)


  • "I became a feminist as an alternative to becoming a masochist."
    (Sally Kempton)


  • "These copular verbs (also linking verbs) can be divided semantically into two types: (1) Those like be that refer to a current state: appear, feel, remain, seem, sound. (2) Those that indicate a result of some kind: become, get (wet); go (bad); grow (old); turn (nasty). Be is the copula that most often takes adverbial complements which characterize or identify the subject: I felt cold; I felt a fool."
    (Sylvia Chalker, "Copula," in The Oxford Companion to the English Language, edited by Tom McArthur, Oxford University Press, 1992)


  • Like the be-pattern, linking verbs may take nouns as complements. Some of the linking verbs have a little more acute verbal action than the be-equations:
    Everything became a mist.
    (C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, 380)

    He became a castaway in broad daylight.
    (William Golding, Pincher Martin, 56)
    A simple syntactic structure--a linking verb with a noun and two adjectives--here makes an urgent point:
    War remains the decisive human failure.
    (John Kenneth Galbraith, The Economics of Innocent Fraud, 62)
    As predicate complements, adjectives that follow linking verbs often carry the new information and draw the stress.
    Argument remains inescapable.
    (Julie Thompson Klein, Crossing Boundaries, 211)

    She looked new and fresh.
    (Carolyn See, The Handyman, 173) . . .
    In these linking examples, the major emphasis tends to fall on the predicate complement or, sometimes, whatever word or structure is at the end of the sentence . . .."
    (Virginia Tufte, Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style. Graphics Press, 2006)
Pronunciation: ling-king verb
Also Known As: copula, copular verb
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