A verb expresses an action, a condition, or a state of being.

The two main types of verbs are action verbs and linking verbs. Both kinds can be accompanied by auxiliary verbs.

1) An action verb expresses an action. The action may be physical or mental.

Example a) My family and I drove 500 miles to Nashville. (physical)

Example b) We wanted good weather for our vacation. (mental)

2) A linking verb links a word in the predicate to the subject.

Example c) We were happy to see the sign for Big Sky Country.

Example d) The campsite appeared tiny beside the grand mountain.

There are two groups of linking verbs: forms of be and verbs that expression conditions.

Forms of be / Verbs that express conditions
Is, am, were, was, been, being / Look, smell, feel, sound, taste, grow, appear, become, seem, remain

Some verbs can be either action or linking verbs.

Example e) Dad tasted the fresh water. It tasted wonderful.

Example f) Uncle Lou smelled a skunk. It smelled awful.

**If you can substitute a form of be for a verb, it is a linking verb.

3) Auxiliary verbs, also called helping verbs, are combined with other verbs to form verb phrases. A verb phrase may be used to express a particular tense of a verb or to indicate that an action is directed at the subject.

Example g) Small scraps of birch bark are crackling in the fire.

Example h) Our muscles will be sore from chopping wood.

Example i) At last all the wood has been chopped.

Auxiliary Verbs
Be were have do can should
Am being has does could may
Is been had did will might
Are would must
Was shall

**Some of these verbs can also function as main verbs. For example, notice how had stands alone in the first sentence below and is an auxiliary verb in the second sentence.

Example j) At the end of the evening, we had no more energy. (main)

Example k) We had exhausted ourselves. (auxiliary)

Practice. Underline each verb or verb phrase TWICE and identify it as linking or action. Circle the auxiliary verbs.

1. Like everyone else, travelers with disabilities want fun vacations. Linking/action

2. With a wide range of accessibility features available, travel seems easy. Linking/action

3. Wheelchair travelers can choose rental cars with hand controls or transport in accessible taxis or vans. Linking/action

4. Accessible tours are available for vacations worldwide.

5. Cities such as Rome, with its hills and narrow cobblestone streets, appear manageable these days. Linking/action

6. A tour to Nepal has featured a ride on an elephant’s back through Royal Chitwan National Park. Linking/action

7. Alaskan cruises expose people with mobility challenges to views of marine wildlife and scenic glaciers. Linking/action

8. Various tour services provide communicators for deaf travelers and companions for the blind. Linking/action

9. Skiers with disabilities can use special skis in a wide array of designs. Linking/action

10. With careful arrangements, a traveler with special needs can experience adventure. Linking/action

**Why it matters in writing** Action verbs help create strong writing. “The rain began with gusty showers…And at first the dry earth sucked the moisture down and blackened. For two days the earth drank the rain, until the earth was full. Then puddles formed…” –John Steinbeck, “The Flood” from The Grapes of Wrath