Are you ready to learn everything you need to know about linking verbs? Of course you are!
First, let’s start with plain old verbs. Do you know the definition of a verb?
You probably feel fairly comfortable with the “actions” part of that definition.
It’s easy to grasp verbs as actions. (If you’d like more help with action verbs, read this page.)
Planted and ran are both verbs that name actions.
In this lesson, we’re going to focus on the “being” part of the above definition.
There are many, many verbs that name actions, but there are only a handful of verbs that link. (Note that is isn’t always a linking verb.)
Linking Verbs Show States of Being
These verbs tell us about the state or condition of the sentence’s subject.
Feels, is, and is are all verbs that tell us about the state of the subjects (Sunny, Elizabeth, Ron Swanson).
These verbs function as equals signs between the subject and a noun or adjective.
A linking verb is a verb that links the subject with either a noun that renames it (predicate nominative) or an adjective that describes it (predicate adjective).
You’ll learn more about predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives in just a minute.
Sentence diagrams are pictures of sentences. They give us a way to show how words in a sentence are related.
Do you see how the line between the verb and the predicate noun or predicate adjective is slanted back toward the subject?
The slanted line helps you remember that the noun is renaming the subject and the adjective is describing the subject. Isn’t that neat?
Do you remember that nouns are words that name people, places, things, or ideas? If you need a refresher, check out the noun page.
A predicate nominative (or predicate noun) is just a fancy name for the noun that comes after a linking verb and renames the subject.
Here are some examples for you. The predicate nouns are in bold.
Teacher is a predicate noun renaming Elizabeth, president is a predicate noun renaming Mike, and runner is a predicate noun renaming Jolene.
Diagramming Predicate Nouns
Let’s try diagramming a couple of sentences, shall we?
Do you remember what adjectives do? Adjectives are words that modify nouns and pronouns.
You may have guessed this since you just learned about predicate nominatives, but predicate adjectives are just adjectives that come after linking verbs and describe the subject. Here are some examples for you. The predicate adjectives are in bold.
Happy is a predicate adjective describing Sunny, sad is a predicate adjective describing Dan, and tired is a predicate adjective describing Marge.