The Difference Between Action Verbs And Linking Verbs

 In Learn English

Action verbs express an action – you can do them – while linking verbs connect the subject and the adjective and have different usage as a verb.

Action verbs are used to describe what you are doing. Words like pondering, shaming, fearing, considering are action verbs even though your activity is not visible. Then there are those action words which imply busy-ness like running, writing, moving, cleaning. Non-action verbs do not express an action but represent a state of being, opinion, feeling, etc.

Action verbs – active and passive verbs

The difference between active vs. passive verbs it that with active verbs the speaker/writer has the subject doing the action. With passive verbs, the action is done to the subject.
Active: Sally booked her car in for a service.
Passive: Her car was booked in for a service.

Active voice is much clearer, shorter and stronger, unlike the passive voice which is more difficult for you to work out who did what. Passive voice can also be imprecise and is, therefore, used a lot by people who want to fudge the facts, and shift blame.
“Your flight has been cancelled”, rather than “We have cancelled your flight”.

The passive voice may be used is in reporting on scientific findings, where it is facts and not opinions which count (“Research supports the theory that this is an infection caused by bats” – better, in scientific terms, than saying: “Bats caused this infection”) and when creating the suspense in a mystery story – where you don’t want to say who stole the silver chalice (“the silver chalice was stolen” – the idea being that you must work out who the thief is).

Linking Verbs

Some words are always linking verbs, and they do not describe the action, but rather connect the subject of the verb to information about the subject.
Dan is a daredevil.
Is is not something you can do. Is connects the subject, Dan, to additional information about him.

The verbs that are true linking verbs: any form of the verb ‘to be’: am, is, are, was, were, has been. These linking verbs are always going to be linking verbs.

These words are sometimes linking verbs, but they can also be action verbs. They connect the subject to the adjective that describes it: appear, remain, feel, grow, look, prove, smell, sound, taste, keep, resemble, run, go, lie, get.
The hot dog tastes good.

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