Linking verbs are not used to show actions. They act as a link between the subject and the complement, which describes the subject. The complement is mostly an adjective or an adjective phrase although it can be a noun phrase or an adverbial. The complement gives more information about the subject.

The linking verbs are boldfaced in the following examples.

This morning our boss was grumpy. (Complement = adjective)
This morning our boss was very grumpy and moody. (Complement = adjective phrase)
 
Sitting on a garden bench and watching people jogging past is my new hobby. (Complement = noun phrase)
This cemetery is where the last king was buried. (Complement = adverbial)
 
 

Verbs that are always linking verbs:

be*

become

seem

* and any form of the verb be

 

Verbs that are linking verbs and can also be action verbs:

act

grow

sound*

appear

look*

stay

feel*

prove

taste*

get

remain

turn

go

smell*

 

* sensory

 

Linking verbs that are any forms of the verb be and are also helping verbs:

is

was

been

am

were

being

are

be

 

 

Some linking verbs in verb phrases:

can be

had been

should be

could be

my be

will be

has been

might be

 

have been

might have been