WHAT FOLLOWS A LINKING VERB?
A linking verb (known as a copula) is normally followed by either a COMPLEMENT (which may be either a noun or an adjective), or an ADVERBIAL. For example, in He is my father, 'is' is the linking verb and 'my father' is the Complement (noun phrase). Similarly, in David is happy, 'is' is the linking verb and 'happy' is the complement (adjective). As in those examples, the linking verb is most often a form of 'be', although 'become', 'feel', seem' are also commonly used linking verbs. As those examples show, the Complement tells you about the subject, either by renaming it (father) or by describing it (happy). The analysis in both is S-V-C.
The other structure that may follow a linking verb is an Adverbial which typically tells you where the subject is, for example in John is in the garden, 'is' is again the linking verb and the prepositional phrase 'in the garden' an adverbial. This time the sentence would be analysed S-V-A.
WHAT FOLLOWS AN ACTION VERB?
Most verbs are not in fact linking verbs. One type of non-linking verb is the dynamic verb (sometimes called an action verb). Here the subject is actively involved in a specific action, e.g. 'kick, 'run', 'eat'. Often, action verbs require something to complete their meaning, but sometimes they don't. The important thing is to look at how the verb is being used. For example, the verb phrase 'is eating' can be used in three different ways:
1. With an object: in Alan is eating his lunch, 'is eating' is an action verb and 'his lunch' is an object. The sentence is thus analysed as S-V-O. When verbs are used like this with an object they are said to be 'transitive'.
2. Without an object: in Alan is eating, 'is eating' is the action verb, but this time nothing follows the verb. The sentence analysis here is S-V. When verbs are used that way, they are said to be 'intransitive'.
3. With an adverbial: in Alan is eating in the garden, 'is eating' is again the action verb and the prepositional phrase 'in the garden' an adverbial, thus S-V-A.
A linking verb is normally followed by either a predicate noun or a predicate adjective.
Example: He is my father.
IS (linking verb) father (predicate noun).
Thus the Sentence pattern is Subject (He) - Linking Verb (father) - Predicate Noun (father) or S-LV-PN. another
Example: She seems tired.
SEEMS (linking verb) TIRED (predicate adjective).
Thus the sentence pattern is: Subject (She) - Linking Verb (seems) - Predicate Adjective (tired) or S-LV-PA.
It would be good to note that both predicate noun and predicate adjective are considered Subjective Complements (C) So the sentence patterns for both may appear: S-LV-C. On the other hand, an action verb may be followed by a direct object.
Example: John threw a ball .
THREW (action verb) BALL (direct object).
Thus the sentence pattern is Subject (John) - Transitive Verb (threw) - Direct Object (ball) simply put: S-TV-DO
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