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Difference Between Helping And Linking Verbs

What is the difference between linking and helping verbs? Verbs are a part of speech that are essential to the construction of a sentence. Without a verb, a sentence cannot be complete. A verb in its basic form, as an action verb, expresses action that is either physical or abstract. However, there are other types of verbs used in the grammatical makeup of a sentence. Linking and helping verbs are not action verbs, and there is a significant difference in their usage in the English language.

A linking verb is a verb that connects the subject of a sentence to another word, or the predicate, in the same sentence to describe or identify it. Linking verbs do not express an action, rather a state of being or a condition. The word that the verb connects to is either a noun, pronoun or adjective. For example: I am cold. ‘Am’ is the linking verb in this sentence. It is used to express a state of being cold. ‘Cold’ is the noun predicate of the sentence ‘am’ is linking the subject, ‘I’ to. Some verbs can multitask and act as action verbs and linking verbs. For example: She feels cold. In this example, ‘feels’ is a linking verb. However it can also be an action verb. For example: She feels the blanket.

Helping verbs, which can be called auxiliary verbs, are verbs that help the main action verb in a sentence. Most have no meaning when used alone, therefore, they are not used as action verbs. They add detail, timing and extend the meaning of the main verb. They can add meaning to expectation, obligation, probability, potential or necessity. Used in this way, they are called modal verbs. For example: You must arrive on time. In this example, ‘must’ is a helping verb showing that a person has an obligation or requirement to be on time. Helping verbs are also commonly used to form a question or a negative. For example: Do you like ice cream? Here, ‘do’ is a helping verb used to ask a question.

A helping verb can be used to designate a tense in the sentence, such as the continuous or the passive tense. Helping verbs are also used to create the progressive and the perfect. Helping verbs used in this way function to set the timing of the action verbs in a sentence. For example: I am working as lawyer. In this example: the main action verb is ‘working’ and the helping verb ‘am’ is used with it to express an ongoing action in the progressive tense. Helping verbs can also be used in the past perfect, present perfect or future perfect tense. For example: I had worked as a lawyer before meeting him. In this example, ‘had’ is the helping verb and the main action verb is ‘worked’. It is being used in the past perfect tense to show an action that was completed before a particular time, ‘before meeting him’.


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  1. I love Lange arts

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[0]https://www.sierracollege.edu/_files/resources/student-services/academic-support/writing-center/documents/Linkhelpverb.pdf

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