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Linking Verbs

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What is the difference between the two smell verbs in these sentences?

James smelled the flowers.

The flowers smelled amazing.

The first sentence expresses an action, while the second verb connects the subject of the sentence to additional information about the subject. The second sentence contains a linking verb.

A linking verb connects the subject with a word that gives information about the subject, such as a condition or relationship. They do not show any action; but, they link the subject with the rest of the sentence. For example, in the sentence "It is a risk," the word "is" is the linking verb that connects "it" and "risk" to show the relationship between the two words.

These sentences include linking verbs.

The pens are blue.
The coffee tasted sweet.
The students looked tired.

Common linking verbs

Be (am, is, was, were)

Now decide if the verbs in these sentence are active or linking:

  • 1) The cat 'was' playful.

  • 2) He 'went' blue after standing in the cold.

  • 3) They 'appeared' satisfied with the news.

  • 4) James 'watched' the video on his phone.

  • 5) He 'sells' homemade vases.

  • 6) The movie 'sounds' scary.

  • 7) Your friends 'are' here.