Linking Verbs vs. Helping Verbs: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

The verbs have the main function to give words to the happening, so does happens with the two famous types of verbs, known as the Helping Verbs and the Linking Verbs. Other than denoting the action, they have specific functions which make them stand differently. The Linking verb works as the main verb in the sentence context whereas the helping verbs do not work as the main verb and are accompanied with the linking verb to serve the purpose. The linking verb works as a connector in between the subject and the subject complement or the predicate. Contrary to this, the helping verb also known as the auxiliary verb comes before the main verb and gives the additional information about the state of action.

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Comparison Chart

Linking Verbs Helping Verbs
Main Verb Yes No
Location After the subject. Before the main verb.
Function Works as a connector in between the subject and the subject complement. Comes up with additional information regarding the state of action.
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What are Linking Verbs?

The linking verb is the main verb in the sentence which works as a connector in between the subject to the subject complement. In other words, we can say that it makes a link in between the doer and the action. In each and every of the situation, unlike other verbs, the linking verb works as the main verb in the sentence context. It won’t be wrong to say that it comes up with the necessarily required information and without it, a phrase can’t become the sentence. As we know that simple sentences comprise of the two phrases; one is the subject phrase, and the other is a predicate. The linking verb makes up the connection between both these phrases. It comes up after the subject and before the predicate. The main function of the linking verb is to describe further the subject rather than showing the state of action. The linkage between the subject and the subject complement is a required element for the clear meaning of the sentence. As we are well aware that the subject is the doer in the sentence, the further information makes it even more prominent in the sentence. The expression of the action is not the quality of the linking verbs; they are solely for inter-linking the subject with the predicate or the subject complement.

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Example of Linking Verbs

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

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

What are Helping Verbs?

The helping verbs, also known as the auxiliary verbs, just fall before the main verb to give the additional information regarding the state of action. These verbs never act as the main verb in the sentence, but even then one can’t deny their importance as they tell about the mood, time or tense of the main verb. In some circumstances, the additional information as like the time is essentially required regarding the state of action as it tells about the happening of the action (the past, present, future). It will be pertinent to mention here that indicating tense and modality in grammatical aspect give additional information regarding the state of action, which works as a better know for the readers. Is, are, am, do, does, has, have, and being are few of the most prominent examples of the helping verbs. Unlike the linking verbs, the helping verbs come up with the information regarding the state of action. Most generally, it sits before the main verb and describes the nature of the action.

Example of the Helping Verbs

  • He has been playing since morning.
  • They have done their task.

‘Has been’ and ‘have’ works as the helping verbs in the sentences mentioned above. The first sentence shows the state of action as still in progress whereas in the second sentence it expresses the completion of the action.

Linking Verbs vs. Helping Verbs

  • The linking verb works as the main verb in the sentence, whereas the helping verb doesn’t work as the main verb in the sentence.
  • The linking verb sits after the subject while helping verb falls before the main verb.
  • The linking verbs work as the connector in between the subject and the subject compliments. Contrary to this, the helping verb gives the additional information regarding the state of action.
  • The helping verb tells about the tense and mood of the main verb while linking verb describes the subject.

Explanatory Video

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