Copular verbs

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Copular verbs

What are copular verbs? Copulas, linking verbs or copulative 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.

Examples of copulative verbs (subject in bold)

  • 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 copulative verbs to connect the adjective to the subject. We can’t use adverbs.

  • 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. 

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