Grammar

Difference Between Linking Verbs and Helping Verbs

Main difference

Verbs have the main function of giving words to the event, the same happens with the two types of famous verbs, known as Auxiliary Verbs and Binding Verbs. In addition to denoting the action, they have specific functions that make them position themselves differently. The linking verb functions as the main verb in the context of the sentence, while the auxiliary verbs do not function as the main verb and are accompanied by the linking verb to fulfill the purpose. The linking verb works as a connector between the subject and the complement of the subject or the predicate. Contrary to this, the auxiliary verb also known as auxiliary verb comes before the main verb and gives additional information about the action state.

Comparison chart

connecting verbs helping verbs
Main verb Yes No
Location After the theme. Before the main verb.
Function It functions as a connector between the subject and the complement of the subject. It comes with additional information about the action status.

What are linking verbs?

The linking verb is the main verb in the sentence that works as a connector between the subject and the complement of the subject. In other words, we can say that it establishes a link between the doer and the action. In each and every situation, unlike other verbs, the linking verb functions as the main verb in the context of the sentence. It will not be wrong to say that it comes with the necessary information and without it, a sentence cannot become the sentence. As we know, simple sentences are part of both sentences; one is the subject phrase and the other is a predicate. The linking verb constitutes the connection between both sentences. It comes after the subject and before the predicate. The main function of the linking verb is to further describe the subject rather than to show the state of action. The link between the subject and the complement of the subject is a necessary element for the clear meaning of the sentence. Since we know very well that the subject is the doer in the sentence, the additional information makes it even more prominent in the sentence. The expression of the action is not the quality of the binding verbs; they are only to intertwine the subject with the predicate or the subject complement.

Verb Linking Example

  • Hamish looked elegant last night.
  • Alexa is a teacher.

‘Looked’ and ‘is’ in the above sentences are the linking verb as they connect rather than express the state of action.

What are auxiliary verbs?

Auxiliary verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, are just before the main verb to give additional information about the state of action. These verbs never act as the main verb in the sentence, but even then their importance cannot be denied as they speak about the mood, time or tense of the main verb. In some circumstances, additional information such as time is essentially required with respect to the state of the action, since it informs about the fact of the action (the past, the present, the future). It will be pertinent to mention here that the indication of tense and modality in the grammatical aspect provides additional information about the state of action, which works as a better knowledge for the readers. Is, are, am, do, does, has, have and being are some of the most prominent examples of auxiliary verbs. Unlike linking verbs, auxiliary verbs provide information regarding the state of action. It is usually placed before the main verb and describes the nature of the action.

Example of auxiliary verbs

  • He’s been playing since morning.
  • They have fulfilled their mission.

“Has been” and “have” function as auxiliary verbs in the sentences mentioned above. The first sentence shows the status of the action as still in progress, while the second sentence expresses the completion of the action.

Link verbs versus help verbs

  • The linking verb functions as the main verb in the sentence, while the auxiliary verb does not function as the main verb in the sentence.
  • The linking verb comes after the subject while the auxiliary verb comes before the main verb.
  • Linking verbs function as the connector between the subject and the compliments of the subject. Contrary to this, the auxiliary verb provides additional information about the action state.
  • The auxiliary verb talks about the tense and mood of the main verb, while the linking verb describes the subject.

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