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.


 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hi
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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
Recently I read the following sentences:
Your teacher will speak out some sentences. Tick the word you think has appeared in the sentence.'
I think the use of word 'appeared' is not correct in the second sentence as we use appear for something which can be seen. In this case the students will only hear the words, not see them. Could you suggest what would be the right word here?
Thanks
Naghma

Hello Naghma,

It does seem a little bit strange. Although I'm not sure 'appear' always explicitly implies seeing something, in general it definitely does. Here you could just say 'the word you think you have heard' or 'the word you think has been used' instead.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,

I understand that generally speaking, verbs can be divided into two types, namely Stative verbs and dynamic (or action) verbs. May i know if linking verbs (such as be, have) are considered a kind of stative verb? Also, I came across a verb, "incense", which is typically used in the passive form, meaning "to make someone angry". May i know if this verb incense is a stative or dynamic verb?

Thanks!

Regards,
Guan Lin

Hi Guan Lin,

Link verbs are considered to be a type of stative verb - or more properly, copula.

'Incense' is not a common word but it functions in a similar way to verbs such as 'please' or 'frustrate' and is generally considered a stative verb. It is possible to imagine some contexts in which it might have a dynamic meaning and would appear, for example, in a progressive form but these would be highly unusual.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, could you explain this clause: ''He is waken up'' ?
Is this clause the same like this clause: ''He is awake'' ?
Thank you.

Hrello MCWSL,

That does not look like a correct form in modern English, but it may be an old variant. In modern English we could say the following:

He has woken up. [meaning he has stopped sleeping]

He is awake. [meaning he is not asleep]

He has been woken up. [meaning someone or something has interrupted his sleep]

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Are those verbs only followed by a noun or an adjective?

as well, what the difference between seemed and appeared? I think the have the same meaning.
He seemed to be angry= He appeared to be angry.

Hello Salem249,

All of these verbs are usually followed by a noun or an adjective, but some of them can be followed by other forms. For example, 'seem' can be followed by the conjuction 'as if' and 'look' can be followed by the preposition 'like'. So you can see that there are other possibilities.

As far as the difference between 'seem' and 'appear' goes, I would say that in most contexts they are interchangeable. A very literal interpretation would say that 'appear' refers to how something looks, while 'seem' can refer to any similarity (aural, tactile etc).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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