I express action.
I express a state of being.
An action verb expresses mental or physical action. Action verbs can be transitive or intransitive.
In those examples, played passes its action to the object “basketball,” and climbed passes its action to the object “mountain.”
Intransitive verbs work alone, without objects.
In those examples, there are no objects after danced or slept, so the verbs are intransitive.
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.
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!
This applesauce tastes wonderful.
In Example #1, we say, “This applesauce is wonderful,” and it makes sense. Tastes is a linking verb.
Sharon tastes the applesauce.
How about Example #2? “Sharon is the applesauce?” No way! That means tastes is an action verb.