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Verbs - Action and Linking

Introduction to Verbs

These are the words which describe an action, event or state of being in a sentence. You can form a sentence without any of the other parts of speech, but you cannot make a sentence without a verb.

For example:

Run! Jump! Fight! Eat! Drink! Sing!

All these can be treated as sentences as they contain the most important part of a sentence—verb. However, the following don’t:

This not a sentence.

Why this not a sentence?

Action Verbs

An action verb describes some action on the part of its subject, (i.e., the doer of the action). In other words, what the subject of a sentence ‘does’ is described by an action verb. For example, words such as ‘take’, ‘bring’, ‘cry’, ‘laugh’, ‘think’, ‘imagine’ and ‘worry’ are all action verbs. Among these words such as ‘take’, ‘bring’, ‘cry’ and ‘laugh’ are verbs that describe physical actions, while words such as ‘think’, ‘imagine’ and ‘worry’ describe mental actions.

Linking Verbs

A linking verb describes the condition or the state of being of its subject (i.e., the person, place, thing or idea described). It does not describe any action (either physical or mental). It serves as the equal to (‘=’) sign in a sentence. The different forms of the verbs ‘be’ (e.g., ‘am’, ‘is’, ‘are’, ‘was’, ‘were’) and ‘become’ are used as linking verbs.

[I] = [the greatest fool]

I am the greatest fool.

(Here, ‘am’ links the subject ‘I’ with the condition ‘the greatest fool’.)

[Yuvika] = [a brave girl]

Yuvika is a brave girl.

(Here, ‘is’ links the subject ‘Yuvika’ with the condition ‘a brave girl’.)

[They] = [angry with him]

They are angry with him.

(Here, ‘are’ links the subject ‘they’ with the condition ‘angry with him’.)

[The teacher] = [extremely intelligent]

The teacher was extremely intelligent.

(Here, ‘was’ links the subject ‘the teacher’ with the condition ‘extremely intelligent’.)

[The batsmen] = [unhappy with the sightscreen]

The batsmen were unhappy with the sightscreen.

(Here, ‘were’ links the subject ‘the batsmen’ with the condition ‘unhappy with the sightscreen’.)

[He] = [famous after that song]

He became famous after that song.

(Here, ‘became’ links the subject ‘he’ with the condition ‘famous after that song’.)

Action Verbs as Linking Verbs

Sometimes action verbs can also perform the role of linking verbs. For example, words like ‘look’, ‘feel’, ‘taste’ and ‘smell’ are all classified as action verbs. However, in the following sentences, they act as linking verbs.

[The joker] = [crazy]

The joker looked crazy.

(Here, ‘looked’ links the subject ‘the joker’ with the condition ‘crazy’.)

As opposed to, say:

The thief looked through the window.

(Here, ‘looked’ is the specific action performed by the subject ‘the thief’.)

[I] = [really happy]

I feel really happy.

(Here, ‘feel’ links the subject ‘I’ with the condition ‘really happy’.)

As opposed to, say:

The doctor felt my pulse.

(Here, ‘felt’ is the specific action pe…

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