Example problems from action and linking verb worksheets are the sentences “The children appeared tired" and “The witness appeared in court” asking to identify the verbs and classify them as linking or action verbs. "Appeared" is a linking verb in the first sentence and an action verb in the second.
Linking verbs denote a state of being. They connect the subject of a sentence with a word in the predicate or subject complement. In the sentences “She is my sister” and “The rules remain unchanged,” the linking verbs are “is” and “remain.” The subject complement to which the linking verb connects can be a noun or a pronoun representing a relationship. It can also be an adjective describing the subject.
Action verbs in the sentence predicate are “doing” verbs expressing an action which the subject of the sentence performs. For example, in the sentences “The dog fetched the stick” and “The ice cream fell down,” the action verbs are “fetched” and “fell.”
Some verbs are always linking verbs such as the various forms of “be,” “become” and “seem.” Other verbs such as “feel,” “look,” “sound,” “taste,” and “smell” can take the form of either linking or action verbs. If an equal sign can replace the verb while allowing the sentence to still make sense, then it is usually a linking verb. An example of this is seen in the difference between “She feels tired” where “feel” is a linking verb and “She felt her hair to see if it was undone” where “felt” is an action verb.