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I express action.

I express a state of being.

Meet Vinny the action verb and Lucy the linking verb.
Jump to Action Verbs Jump to Transitive Verbs Jump to Intransitive Verbs Jump to Transitive or Intransitive Verbs Jump to Linking Verbs Jump to Action or Linking Verb
Verb Table of Contents


An action verb expresses mental or physical action. Action verbs can be transitive or intransitive.

Vinny the Action verb Dances in a top hat.


Transitive verbs pass action to an object.

Shawn played basketball.

Francineclimbed a mountain.

In those examples, played passes its action to the object “basketball,” and climbed passes its action to the object “mountain.”

Vinny shows the magic of Transitive Verbs.


Intransitive verbs work alone, without objects.

Shawn danced.

Francine slept.

In those examples, there are no objects after danced or slept, so the verbs are intransitive.

Vinny explains Intransitive Verbs.

Transitive or Intransitive?

Some words can be transitive OR intransitive, depending on how they’re used.

How do you tell? First find the action verb in the sentence, then ask ”what?” after it. If the answer is in the sentence, it’s transitive!


I ate a hamburger before my sister woke up.

I ate WHAT? A hamburger!

So the verb is transitive.


I ate before my sister woke up.

I ate WHAT? I certainly didn’t eat my sister, so the answer isn’t in the sentence.

The verb must be intransitive!


A linking verb expresses a state of being. Linking verbs link the subject of the verb to information that renames or describes the subject. They often take a form of the verb “to be,” but they don’t have to.

Hot tip: If you can replace the verb with =, and the sentence still makes sense, it’s a linking verb!


My dog is a bundle of joy, and he looks happy.

Replace is and looks with =: My dog = a bundle of joy, and he = happy.

It makes sense! Is and looks are linking verbs.

Lucy links a noun and an adjective.

Action or
Linking Verb?

Some words can be linking verbs or action verbs, depending on the way they’re used. How do you know which is which?

Here’s one way to tell: replace the verb with a form of “to be.” If the sentence still makes sense, it was a linking verb all along!

Example #1:

This applesauce tastes wonderful.

In Example #1, we say, “This applesauce is wonderful,” and it makes sense. Tastes is a linking verb.

Example #2:

Sharon tastes the applesauce.

How about Example #2? “Sharon is the applesauce?” No way! That means tastes is an action verb.