Some verbs are followed by either a noun or an adjective:

She was a good friend. =  N + V + N
She was very happy. =  N + V + Adj.
He became headmaster. =  N + V + N
He became angry. =  N + V + Adj.

These verbs are called link verbs. Common verbs like this are:

  • be
  • become
  • appear
  • feel
  • look
  • remain
  • seem
  • sound

She seemed an intelligent woman.
She seemed intelligent.
He looked hungry.
He looked a good player.

After appear and seem we often use to be:

She appeared to be an intelligent woman.
He seemed to be angry.

Some link verbs are followed by an adjective. Common verbs like this are:

  • get
  • go
  • grow
  • taste
  • smell

He got hungry in the evening.
She grew stronger every day.




While using linking verb 'be' (is, are), should the complement agree in number with the linking verb? For example, is it correct to have a sentence like, "These are an important part of the whole", or should it be "These are important parts of the whole"?

Hello Adya's,

There is some dispute about this. In general, the number of the verb should reflect the number of the subject, but I'm sure you could find instances where this is not the case. Many writers therefore generally avoid sentences where, for example, the subject is singular and is followed by a link verb and a plural subject complement because they can sound awkward.

To summarise, I'd probably choose the second of the two sentences you wrote, but I'm sure you could find examples in print where writers have chosen the first.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, teachers,
I'm wondering about the words: 'link verb'. I've googled it and most of the results are 'linking verbs'. So are there any differences between 'link verb' and 'linking verb'?

Hello patrick,

'link verb' and 'linking verb' are two different names for the same thing. There is no difference in meaning between them.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I wanted to know if the verbs in the following sentences have been used as link verbs? --
Every night he comes home drunk.
He returned home disappointed.
We often use such sentences, but cannot understand why adjectives like 'drunk' and 'disappointed' are used here instead of adverbs!
Thank you in advance.

Hello Prap,

'Drunk' and 'disappointed' are examples of past participles and these are verb forms which can act as modifiers. Though they most often modify nouns and so have an adjectival function, they can also function as adverbs. Your sentences are examples of this.



The LearnEnglish Team

can the linking be followed by adverbs? In the following sentence the verb 'is' is a linking verb followed by an adverb 'here'.
The church is here.

Hello naghmairam,

Yes, linking verbs can be followed by noun phrases, adjective phrases, adverb phrases and prepositional phrases -- the main idea is that what follows gives more information about the subject.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Is it correct to say: He is drunk. To say he is after liquor.
He is disappointed.
Are the above sentences correct?
Are they come under passive?
Please let me know.
Thank you.

Hello Lal,

He is drunk and He is disappointed are both fine.

He is after liquor is not a normal expression in English. You could say He's been drinking.

These are not passive forms. The words drunk and disappointed are adjective complements, so the structure is [subject + verb (be) + adjective].



The LearnEnglish Team