Glossary: linking verb



A verb like seem, appear or be which links a Subject to an expression which describes or identifies the Subject. Examples are He seems nice and She is the prime minister of Australia. Another term used is copular verb (or copula).

Subject Complement

Consider the highlighted phrases in the examples below.

  • The rice is marvellous. [S1A-022 #262]
  • He was a really nice guy. [S1A-006 #21]

Each of the highlighted phrases adds information about the person or thing picked out by the Subject. Marvellous attributes a property to the rice, and a really nice guy does the same for he.

These phrases have different forms but the same function.


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