English grammar

Module 3, Verbs, Lesson 4:

Action vs. Linking Verbs

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English grammar

Can You Tell the Difference Between an Action Verb and a Linking Verb?

The verbs appear, become, feel, get, grow, look, remain, seem, smell, sound, stay, taste, and turn can act either as action verbs or linking verbs. In order to tell the difference, you have to pay attention to how each type of verb is used in a sentence—linking verbs are used for descriptions, whereas action verbs tell you what someone (or something) is doing.

Linking
Kelly grows tired after hours of gardening.
The adjective tired describes Kelly. Kelly is tired after she gardens.
Action
Kelly grows sunflowers in her yard.
This sentence tells us what Kelly is doing—she plants sunflowers and grows them.
Hint:
Remember, you can replace linking verbs with a form of to be (am, is, are, was, were, etc.) but you can't do the same thing with action verbs.
Kelly grows tired. = Kelly is tired.
Kelly grows sunflowers. ≠ Kelly is sunflowers.

In the second example, replacing grows with is creates a nonsense sentence. The noun sunflowers does not describe Kelly; she's not a sunflower.

Practice What You've Learned

English grammar
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Directions:
Identify the bold-faced verb as action or linking.
1.
The magician appeared onstage in a cloud of smoke.
action / linking
2.
Ellie appeared tired after working six hours of overtime.
action / linking
3.
Take your umbrella in case the weather turns ugly.
action / linking
4.
To open that puzzle box, turn the circle one twist to the right.
action / linking
5.
My aunt in Louisiana grows the most beautiful roses.
action / linking
6.
My grandmother told my sister that she grows more beautiful every year.
action / linking
7.
Can you smell that strange odor?
action / linking
8.
It really smells strange.
action / linking
9.
I hope we will stay friends after we graduate.
action / linking
10.
We always stay in a castle when we visit England.
action / linking
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