How are linking verbs different from other verbs?
- John earns a lot of money. (noun phrase = the object)
- John works very hard for his money. (adverb phrase)
- John is a company director. (noun phrase = complement of the subject)
- John is very rich. (adjective phrase)
- Linking verbs don't take an object. Any noun (phrase) or similar immediately after the verb refers back to the subject, and is known as the compliment to the subject, or the subject compliment.
- Linking verbs take adjectives, not adverbs, as these too refer back to the subject, not to the verb.
A little terminology
- He bought a brand new car. (attributive) - This car is brand new. (predicative)
- A very rich businessman (attributive) - He became very rich (predicative)
- I know a happy man (attributive) - He seems happy (predicative)
Adjective or adverb?
Exercise 1 - Use the adjectives and adverbs in the box to fill the gaps
|1.||He can be a bit sometimes, which is a shame.|
|2.||He seemed rather . Are you seeing him again?|
|3.||He guarded his secret .|
|4.||The salmon will do , thank you.|
|5.||She became very when he started seeing somebody else.|
|6.||Sorry, but I've left my wallet at home.|
Verbs of the senses
Exercise 2a - Fill the gaps with a suitable adjective or adverb from the box
|1.||That music sounds very . Can you turn it down a bit.|
|2.||The bells sounded from the village church.|
|3.||He felt his way very round the darkened room.|
|4.||This wine tastes so , it's like velvet.|
|5.||That cake looks . Can I have some please.|
|6.||She tasted the wine - 'I would say d'Yquem. 2001 perhaps?.'|
|6.||That cheese smells very .|
|8.||She looked up when she heard the doorbell.|
|9.||She's feeling a bit because of her exam.|
|10.||She smelt the roses and thanked him.|
Exercise 2b - Now tick the boxes on the right of those sentences where there is a linking verb.
- It tastes as if it's got alcohol in it.
- It tastes like honey.
- It feels as if it's made from some kind of plastic.
- It smells like newly cut grass.
- It sounds like the parade has started.
- It looks like there's no sugar left..
Look, seem and appear
- You look happy today.
- He seems very quiet. Is he OK?
- She appeared rather surprised when I told her.
- She looks as if she's seen a ghost.
- It looks like rain
- It seems as if the thunder's finished now.
- It seems like the summer's over already.
- We seem to be lost. Have you got a map?
- I appear to have forgotten my wallet. Can you lend me some money?
- It seems that they've just called an election.
- It appears that he's going to be late.
- It appears / seems that has to stay at home all by himself.
- It appears / seems that she has to work the whole weekend.
- It seems a shame we can't invite him to stay with us.
- It seems ridiculous that she has to work the whole weekend.
- He suddenly appeared from nowhere.
- After the rains, mushrooms appeared everywhere.
- She looked at him inquisitively.
- I've looked for it everywhere, but I can't find it
Verbs describing change and lack of change.
Exercise 3. - Use the adjectives in the box to fill the gaps
|1.||Now she's home safe and sound I can rest .|
|2.||The demonstration started off peacefully but turned later on.|
|3.||She got when I told her I couldn't work late.|
|4.||The longer he was kept waiting the more he grew.|
|5.||It may well be an excellent film, but I can't stay a minute longer.|
|6.||When the alarm went off, they all left the building, but everybody remained .|
|7.||The best way to avoid hypothermia is to keep .|
|8.||He moved to a small village and became quite .|
The verb get
Exercise 4. - Solve the anagrams and enter the adjectives into the gaps.
|1.||I'm getting (y n u h r g), is there anything in the fridge?|
|2.||Come on children, it's time to get (r a y d e) for school.|
|3.||OK, time for bed now, it's getting (a t e l).|
|4.||I got (o e b r d) waiting for you, so I did some window shopping.|
|5.||Come over to the fire and get (r a m w).|
|6.||Still in your pyjamas? Go and get (e s r d s e d) this minute.|
|7.||I must be getting (t a f). I can't fit into these trousers.|
|8.||He got really (g a y r n) when I told him I would be late.|
|9.||My clothes got really (e w t) in the rain. I'm soaked to the skin.|
|10.||How did your T-shirt get so (t r y i d)? Were you rolling in the mud?|
|11.||All the paths in the forest looked the same, and we got (l t o s).|
|12.||After the shower we quickly got (y d r) in the hot sun.|
- It's been getting colder lately.
- Laptops have got much cheaper.
- The older I get, the younger I feel.
- You're getting warmer (nearer to finding something)
- The storm's getting closer.
- Your memory's getting worse and worse!
- Can you get the children dressed while I make breakfast?
- Now don't get your clothes dirty, children.
- How on earth am I going to get this dry in time?
- And just how did you manage to get your room so untidy?
The verb turn
Exercise 5. - Match the beginnings and endings.
|1.||Last week was pretty mild,||a||but later turned nasty.|
|2.||In the Autumn||b||turned politician.|
|3.||It's turned midnight.||c||a deathly shade of white.|
|4.||He used to be an amateur||d||the leaves turn gold, then brown.|
|5.||This hot weather has||e||then he turned professional.|
|6.||He's only just turned 40||f||turned the milk sour.|
|7.||He's a lawyer||g||I'm off to bed.|
|8.||Her face turned||h||and he's already worrying about the midlife crisis.|
|9.||The situation started off calmly enough||i||but now it's turned cold all of a sudden.|
The verb grow
- We all grow old, you know.
- He grew increasingly impatient as no bus came.
- She found she was growing more and more fond of him.
- I'm growing rather bored of your constant complaining!
The verb fall
- She fell ill while on holiday.
- The room fell silent.
- Shhh! Dad's fallen asleep on the sofa.
- He fell victim to a phishing scam.
- The company fell prey to a corporate raider.
The verb come
- And her dreams all came true.
- The straps holding the luggage on the car roof came loose.
- In this production, all the characters really come alive.
The verb go
Exercise 6 - Fill the gaps using the adjectives in the box.
|1.||The company has gone and stopped trading.|
|2.||I don't think this cheese is meant to go as as that!|
|3.||When I told Dad I'd crashed his car, he went .|
|4.||This wine doesn't smell right. I think it's gone .|
|5.||I know I'm going , but I'm happy to grow old gracefully.|
|6.||Not a hair on his head. He's gone completely .|
|7.||Oh no! The milk's gone and I so wanted a coffee.|
|8.||Wrap the bread up or it'll go .|
|9.||She's gone a bit lately, you never know what she's going to do.|
|10.||He went stone at a very early age, can't hear a thing.|
|11.||It's gone very all of a sudden. I bet it's going to thunder.|
|12.||The butter's gone . Throw it out.|
Sitting, standing, lying, running etc
Exercise 7. - Fill the gaps with Past simple forms of the verbs in the box.
|1.||He absolutely motionless on the ground until the enemy had gone.|
|2.||There was a pack of dogs that wild in the town.|
|3.||The car idle in the garage all winter.|
|4.||The boy still in front of his mother while she brushed his hair.|
|5.||She deep into her armchair, pleasantly exhausted.|
A few other verbs which can be used as linking verbs.
- The sun burned high in the sky.
- At the end of the party everyone left happy.
- The opossum played dead.
- The accused pleaded innocent to all the charges.
- It's proving very difficult to find anybody suitable for the post..
- The athlete tested positive for forbidden substances.
And now for those pesky pronouns
Exercise 8 - Use your extinct. Click on what you think is the most appropriate of the two choices.
|A mother is talking to her children|
|- And which of you two spilt the milk?|
|- It wasn't (I / me), Mummy. It was (he / him).|
|A teacher is talking to her pupils|
|- Who said that?|
|- It was (she / her), Miss.|
|A young woman is phoning her mother.|
|Hi Mum. It's (I / me).|
|Now complete this sentence:|
|In informal English we use (subject / object) pronouns after the verb to be|
- Ex 1 - 1. stupid, 2. nice, 3. jealously, 4. nicely, 5. jealous, 6. stupidly
- Ex 2a - 1. loud, 2. loudly, 3. carefully, 4. smooth, 5. good, 6. knowledgeably, 7. pungent, 8. nervously, 9. nervous, 10. appreciatively
- Ex 2b - 1. Yes, 2. No, 3. No, 4. Yes, 5. Yes, 6. No, 7. Yes, 8. No, 9. Yes, 10. No
- Ex 5 - 1. easy, 2. violent, 3. furious, 4. impatient, 5. awake, 6. calm, 7. warm, 8. countrified
- Ex 4 - 1. hungry, 2. ready, 3. late, 4. bored, 5. warm, 6. dressed, 7. fat, 8. angry, 9. wet, 10. dirty, 11. lost, 12. dry
- Ex 5 - 1. i, 2. d, 3. g, 4. e, 5. f, 6. h, 7. b, 8. c,9. a
- Ex 6 - 1. bust, 2. mouldy, 3. berserk, 4. off, 5. grey, 6. bald, 7. sour, 8. stale, 9. strange, 10. deaf, 11. dark, 12. rancid
- Ex 7 - 1. lay, 2. ran, 3. sat, 4. stood, 5. sank
- Ex 8 - 1. me, 2. him, 3. her, 4. me, 5. object