What is a Copular verb?
A copular verb, sometimes called a linking verb, connects a sentence’s subject to its complement, which may be a noun, pronoun, or adjective, and denotes an attitude or circumstance. Copular verbs include the words “be,” “seem,” “appear,” “feel,” “become,” and “look.”
Copular verbs play a crucial role in constructing sentences and communicating your ideas. They assist in establishing links between the subject and supplement.
Types of Copular Verbs
There are three main types of copular verbs: linking copular verbs, auxiliary copular verbs, and mixed copular verbs.
Linking Copular Verbs
Linking copular verbs, also called true linking verbs, are verbs that connect the subject of a sentence to a predicate noun or predicate adjective, which provide more information about the subject. These types of copular verbs do not take direct objects.
Examples of linking verbs:
Some examples of linking verbs include “be,” “seem,” “appear,” “look,” “feel,” “smell,” “taste,” “sound,” and “become.”
How linking copular verbs are used in sentences:
In a sentence with a linking copular verb, the subject is connected to a predicate noun or predicate adjective. For example:
She is a doctor. (“is” connects “she” to “doctor,” which is the predicate noun)
The flowers look beautiful. (“look” connects “flowers” to “beautiful,” which is the predicate adjective)
Auxiliary Copular Verbs
Auxiliary copular verbs, also known as helping copular verbs, are used to form verb tenses, questions, and negatives. These types of copular verbs include forms of “be,” “do,” and “have.”
Examples of auxiliary verbs:
Some examples of auxiliary verbs include “be,” “do,” and “have.” Examples of their different forms include: “am,” “is,” “are,” “was,” “were,” “been,” “being,” “do,” “does,” “did,” “have,” “has,” “had.”
How auxiliary copular verbs are used in sentences:
In a sentence with an auxiliary copular verb, the main verb is accompanied by a form of “be,” “do,” or “have” to indicate tense, aspect, or voice. For example:
- They are eating lunch. (“are” is the auxiliary verb used with the present participle “eating” to form the present progressive tense)
- Have you seen the movie?The auxiliary word “have” is used to create the present perfect tense.
Mixed Copular Verbs
Mixed copular verbs are verbs that can function as both linking verbs and auxiliary verbs, depending on how they are used in the sentence.
Examples of mixed copular verbs:
Some examples of mixed copular verbs include “get,” “keep,” “remain,” “prove,” “turn,” and “seem.”
How mixed copular verbs are used in sentences:
In such a sentence, the verb can function as a linking verb, connecting the subject to a predicate noun or predicate adjective, or as an auxiliary verb, forming verb tenses, questions, and negatives. For example:
- She turned red. (“turned” is a linking copular verb connecting “she” to the predicate adjective “red”)
- I got lost. (“got” is an auxiliary copular verb used to form the past tense of “get”)
Common Copular Verbs
There are several common copular verbs in English that are used frequently in conversation and writing.
List of common copular verbs in English:
Common Copular verbs
How to Identify Copular Verbs
Sometimes, it may not be as easy to identify copular verbs in a sentence, but there are proven ways through which you can easily identify copular verbs. Here are some tips for recognizing copular verbs in sentences:
- Look for verbs that link the subject to a compliment, which is a predicate noun or predicate adjective. These types of verbs do not take direct objects.
- Pay attention to the function of the verb in the sentence. Copular verbs are used to connect the subject to additional information about it, rather than to show action.
Examples of copular verbs in sentences:
- She is a teacher. (“is” is the copular verb linking “she” to the predicate noun “teacher”)
- The cake tastes delicious. (“tastes” is the copular verb linking “cake” to the predicate adjective “delicious”)
- He seems tired. (“seems” is the copular verb linking “he” to the predicate adjective “tired”)
Common misconceptions about copular verbs
i). One common misconception is that all verbs that are followed by adjectives are copular verbs. However, this is not the case, as many verbs that show action can be followed by adjectives.
ii). Another misconception is that copular verbs always express a state of being, but some, such as “get” and “remain,” can also express a change or a continuation of a state.
iii). Additionally, some people may mistakenly believe that copular verbs must always be intransitive, but this is not true for mixed copular verbs, which can be transitive in some contexts.
Functions of Copular verbs
Copular verbs serve several important functions in sentences. Here are some of the main ways they function:
To link the subject to a compliment, which provides additional information about it.
- Example: She is a doctor.
To show a change in state or condition.
- Example: The weather is getting colder.
To express a continuation of a state or condition.
- Example: He remained quiet throughout the meeting.
To describe a condition or state of existence.
- Example: There is a problem with the computer.
To emphasize a particular quality or characteristic of the subject.
- An Example; He seems very confident today.
Rules for Using Copular Verbs
There are some rules governing the use of copular verbs. Always remember to adhere to these rules whenever you use copular verbs.
In affirmative sentences, use the copular verb to link the subject to a compliment.
- Example: She is a lawyer.
In negative sentences, use the appropriate negative form of the copular verb and the word “not” to indicate that the subject is not linked to the complement.
- Example: She is not a doctor.
In interrogative sentences, invert the position of the subject and the copular verb.
- Example: Is she a teacher?
Ensure subject-verb agreement when using copular verbs. The copular verb agrees with the subject in terms of number (singular or plural).
- Example: They are doctors.
Other important rules for using copular verbs correctly:
Use the appropriate copular verb for the context and meaning.
- For example, use “seem” to express an opinion or impression, and “become” to show a change in state.
Use the appropriate tense for the copular verb to match the tense of the sentence. Be aware of idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs that use copular verbs.
- For example, “get” can be used as a phrasal verb, such as “get lost,” to mean “go away.”
Use copular verbs sparingly and appropriately, as overusing them can make writing or speech sound stilted or repetitive.
- A copular verb links the subject of a sentence to its complement, which could be a noun, pronoun, or adjective and indicates a state of mind or situation.
- A few examples of copular verbs include “be,” “seem,” “appear,” “feel,” “become,” and “look.”
- Linking copular verbs, auxiliary copular verbs, and mixed copular verbs are the three primary categories of copular verbs.
- Using linking copular verbs, you can link the subject of a sentence to a predicate noun or predicate adjective that gives the subject extra context.
Question comes here
Frequently Asked Questions
A copular verb connects a sentence’s subject to a compliment, which elaborates on the subject, in order to make a point.
Copular verbs are those that connect the subject to a complement rather than demonstrating an action being carried out. A few typical copular verbs include “be,” “seem,” “appear,” “sound,” “look,” and “feel.”
Yes, by combining copular verbs with a past participle, you can employ them in the passive voice. For instance, “Her colleagues thought of her as intelligent.”
Inverting the subject and the copular verb together creates a question. The phrase “He is a doctor” becomes “Is he a doctor?” for instance.
Using copular verbs when an action verb is required, choosing the incorrect copular verb for a given context or meaning, and conflating copular verbs with other verb types that can be followed by adjectives or nouns are a few examples of frequent errors.
Yes, you can use copular verbs to describe the subject’s condition or state with gerunds or infinitives. For instance, the phrase “He seems to be happy” combines the copular verb “seems” and the infinitive “to be.”
Use a copular verb followed by an adjective or noun that defines the subject’s situation to convey a state of being. As an illustration, the phrase “She is happy” combines the copular verb “is” and the adverb “happy.”
Yes, there are many exercises and activities available online to help improve your understanding of copular verbs. One resource is the Edulyte worksheet on copular verbs, which includes practice exercises and explanations of different types of copular verbs. You can also consider booking one of Edulyte’s tutors, who will take you through thorough lessons in copular verbs.
To improve your use of copular verbs, practice identifying them in sentences, review their different functions and usages, and pay attention to subject-verb agreement and appropriate tense usage. Reading and writing in English can also help improve your overall grammar skills.
Subject-verb agreement means that the copular verb agrees with the subject in terms of number (singular or plural). For example, “She is a doctor” uses a singular copular verb to match the singular subject.