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Note 85 – Linking verbs

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – If you would prefer to dive straight into note 85, then please read on…

William Strunk Jr and E.B. White in their classic book The Elements of Style define linking verbs as “A verb that joins the subject of a sentence to its complement.” 

If a verb shows action, it is not a linking verb e.g. in the sentence ‘she jumped up’, the word jumped would not be a linking verb.  Here are a couple of examples of linking verbs followed by nouns or adjectives:

  • James is a training manager
  • The classrooms are air conditioned
  • am happy

You will notice that I have only used the verb to be in the above three examples. This isn’t the only example of a linking verb but it is the commonest, according to John Seely in his book the Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation.  The few other examples he gives are “seem, appear, become and look”, but I believe that a linking verb could relate to any of the five senses i.e. smell, sound, look, feel and taste. 

Consider the sentences below:

  • He appeared frightened
  • She seems sad
  • Everyone became bored
  • The house looked untidy
  • It tasted delicious

The words frightened, sad, bored, untidy and delicious, describe the subject in all the sentences above.  If they didn’t then the verb that comes before them wouldn’t be linking verbs.  I found a link to a website today that expands on this point a bit more and also gives many other examples

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog.  I blog daily, so please return tomorrow to learn some more. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes the introduction to my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White The Elements of Style, fiftieth anniversary edition (2009), USA

John Seely  The Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation, USA

Web link – (for article on linking verbs)


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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