What are copular verbs? Copulas or copular verbs are a special type of verb that joins a noun complement or an adjective to the subject of the sentence. The most common copular verbs are: be, seem, appear, feel, sound, get, become, taste, look.
Example of copular verbs and explanations below (subject in bold letters):
- That man is horrible.
- The doorman seemed nice to me.
- The party appeared somewhat exhausting.
- The patient is feeling a little bit of pain.
- The alarm sounded twice.
- He‘s getting sick of this nonsense.
- My brother became a football player.
- The paella tastes amazing.
- You look really good in that suit.
Remember, we use copular verbs to connect or join the predicate or the adjective to the subject. We can’t use adverbs. Clarification below;
- He spoke amazingly. (‘amazingly’ is an adverb. It tells us HOW the person spoke. ‘Speak’ is not a copular verb.
- She looks amazing. (‘amazing’ is an adjective in predicative position. The adjective ‘amazing’ describes the subject ‘she’).
Copular verbs always connect the subject with the noun complement or adjective.
A complete list of copular verbs in alphabetical order:
Act, appear, be, become, bleed, become, come, come out, constitute, end up, die, get, go, grow, fall, feel, freeze, keep, look, prove, remain, run, seem, shine, smell, sound, stay, taste, turn, turn up, wax.
Modal auxiliary verbs:
- Articles (a/an, the, zero article)
- Pronouns: subject, object and possessive
- Question tags
- English conditionals
- Interrogatives in English
- Phrasal verbs
- Prefixes and suffixes
- Reported and direct speech
- Punctuation: apostrophes, colons, semi-colons, commas, dashes, full stops, question marks, exclamation marks, and quotation marks
- Numbers: cardinal, ordinal, and Roman numbers
- The verb: “get”
- ‘Get’ vs. ‘go’ and ‘got’ vs. ‘gotten’
- Cleft sentences
- Subjunctive in English
- Vulgar and taboo in English
- Split infinitive
- Emphasis with inversion
- Gerunds in English
- To + infinitive
- Bare infinitive
- British and American spelling