Action verbs and linking verbs

Action verbs and linking verbs

Can you identify which verb is an action verb and which is a linking verb?

1. We tasted some nice wine.

2. This wine tastes good.

If you chose number 1. as an action verb and 2. as a linking verb, you are correct!

Action verbs

Verbs can be divided into two general categories – action verbs and linking verbs. Action verbs express an action and focus on something dynamic or on movement.


  • I am driving at the moment.
  • He ran as fast as he could.

Linking verbs

Linking verbs create a link between the subject and the rest of the sentence. The verbs connect the subject to a noun (predicate noun) or an adjective (predicate adjective). Some verbs can be either an action or linking depending on how they are used in a sentence. The verbs be, become and seem are always linking verbs.


  • I am an American (noun).
  • He became tired (adjective) of his job.
  • She seems upset (adjective) about the news.

Both linking and action verbs

As mentioned above, some verbs can be both action and linking verbs depending on the context. Some examples are appear, act, remain, grow, keep, look, prove, see, smell, sound, taste, feel, and stay. A quick test to determine whether the verb is an action or a linking verb, is to replace the verb with to be. If the sentence makes sense, then the verb is a linking verb. She grew angry = She is angry.



  • Sarah is acting a little strange. (ACTION)
  • She acted happy, though she was really sad. (LINKING)


  • The plant is growing everyday. (ACTION)
  • She grew quite angry the more she thought about what he said. (LINKING)


  • I am keeping a few things and throwing away the rest. (ACTION)
  • She kept calm during the meeting. (LINKING)


  • I smelled the cookies baking. (ACTION)
  • The cookies smell good. (LINKING)