Certain features require a modern browser to function.
Please use a different browser, like Firefox, Chrome, or Safari

Find and fix writing mistakes instantly

  • Check for unintentional plagiarism
  • Get instant grammar and style suggestions

Moving Descriptors: Linking Verbs, Action Verbs, and Helping Verbs

You may already know a bit about the importance of action and linking words. After all, you can’t have complete sentences without including them at least once. But do you know there are three main categories? What about resume action verbs? The main forms include linking verbs, action verbs, and helping verbs. Curious to know the difference between these three types? Let’s look at definitions and answer “what are linking verbs”?, “what is an action verb”?, “what is a helping verb”? and look at further examples of linking verbs and action words to help you out.

What is an Action Verb?

In every sentence you have two main parts. First, there’s a subject. This is usually a noun or pronoun. Second, you have an action or state of being word. This word describes information about the subject.

When the word describing the subject is an action verb, the reader or listener understands what action the subject takes. It’s important to learn about action verbs because these words convey a variety of different actions that are both mental and physical. By increasing the number of action verbs you use in conversation, you can accurately describe to listeners what a subject is doing. That’s what a list of action verbs are good for, too. Try to see if you can create one as you go.

A few action verb examples include walk, skip, and jog. Although the actions aren’t much different (as the words all describe motion) each one forms a different image in your mind. It’s these subtle changes that make language more exciting! That’s why it’s so important to memorize a list of action verbs.

A mental action verb looks like think, discover, and plan amongst others. No action verb definition is complete without understanding two types of an action verb. In fact, the next section will explain more.

What is an Action Verb?: Defining the Transitive

A transitive action verb definition describes an action taken. However, this type of verb also affects a direct object. The direct object can be another noun or pronoun. Additionally, this type of action verb can even affect a phrase or clause. Let’s review some transitive action verb examples and compile a list of action verbs:

  • Fred’s going to buy a comic book.

Without knowing the direct object (in this case a comic book) you wouldn’t understand what Fred is going to buy. That’s what makes the word buy transitive. See if you can identify the direct object in the next two action verb examples.

  • Stacy is washing her dirty dishes.

Stacy (the subject) is washing (the verb) her dirty dishes (the direct object.)

  • Can you check whether the front door is locked?

You (the subject) should check (the verb) the front door (the direct object) to determine if it’s locked.

Did you accurately locate the subject, direct object, and action verb? Still asking what is an action verb or need help creating a list of action verbs? There’s still more information below. If you need more help with the transitive form, click site.

What is an Action Verb?: Defining the Intransitive

Whereas a transitive word requires a direct object, an intransitive word does not. That’s because these action verbs describe what the subject of a sentence does to itself. Thus, it does not act upon a direct object. Here are some intransitive action verb examples:

  • I can’t stop crying.

This action only impacts the subject, who cries continuously.

  • Stacy always arrives to work ten minutes late.

The action verb arrives is followed by the location work. In this case, work is a preposition of place and not a direct object. You can also say, “Stacy always arrives ten minutes late,” and the sentence would still retain its meaning.

An Action Verb Definition

Considering that there are two ways to describe action verbs, a good action verb definition describes what a subject does involving physical and mental action verbs. These words can even explain the impact the action has on the subject itself, or the impact it has on a direct object. The other is called resume action verbs, but we will get to those in the next section.

List of Action Verbs

Here’s a list of action verbs, including resume action verbs. Resume action verbs help describe previous work experience and show off your accomplishments without using the same words repeatedly.

Common Action Verb Examples

Arrive Ask Bake
Build Buy Cry
Dance Dream Drink
Eat Go Help
Kick Laugh Listen
Move Open Play
Read Run Walk

Resume Action Verbs

Achieved Built Delivered
Designed Founded Hired
Improved Increased Integrated
Maximized Organized Overhauled
Oversaw Pioneered Planned
Reduced Simplified Streamlined
Supervised Transformed


See if you can form in your own action verb definition. Now that you’ve seen a list of action verbs and resume action verbs, why not take some time to learn about MLA format and APA format? Once you’re done, let’s move on to discussing the linking verb.

What is a Linking Verb?

To be, to feel, and to become are linking verbs examples. But what are linking verbs specifically? Before you read a linking verb definition, look at this useful reference on linking verbs and check out the examples of linking verbs they provide.

What is a linking verb? A linking verb connects a subject to the words that describe what the subject is. Linking words, unlike action verbs, do not describe actions. Instead, a linking verb definition describes a state of being.

Examples of Linking Verbs

Examples of linking verbs include: to be, to become, and to seem. These three examples are always linking verbs. In addition, you have a linking verb: to appear, to feel, to look, to smell, to sound, and to taste. These words act as either action or linking verbs, depending on whether they express an action or not. Here are some linking verb examples.

  • Pete is my favorite dog.
  • That car was incredibly fast.
  • I am happy that I passed my math exam!
  • The house smells like the ocean breeze.
  • Nancy feels a bit sick today.

Although linking verbs such as, smells and feels, can describe actions in the above examples, they help connect the subject to the predicate. They aren’t used in these examples of linking verbs to express any action but instead describes a state of being. Sometimes an action word can be considered both an action or a linking verb. Linking verb examples include remain, prove, and grow but depending on the context in which the word is used can also be defined as action words.

Add this to your linking verb definition and you are one step ahead of the game in knowing linking verbs. Answering what is a linking verb and continuing reading will help you further your understanding.

What are linking verbs? Use these examples of linking verbs when someone asks what is a linking verb? You’ll be able to write up your own linking verb definition in no time and create personalized linking verb examples. Quick tip: Is your next academic paper due soon? Try out the paper checker from Citation Machine Plus. In addition, Citation Machine Plus also comes with tools for creating citations in MLA format and more citation styles.

What is a Helping Verb?: The Auxiliary Form

In some sentences you have multiple actions or linking verbs. One action or linking verb is often more important in the sentence than the other. The second action or linking verb simply provides additional meaning and assists the main word. Turns out a helping action assists with answering what are linking verbs and linking verb examples.

So, what is a helping verb exactly? Well, a  helping word adds both emphasis to your sentences and describes the possibility of something happening. There are two types of helping verbs: auxiliary and modal.

Auxiliary words include the tenses of to be, to have, and to do. If you find a sentence with multiple action or being words, such as to be, to have, or to do, then you know these words are in their auxiliary form. Here are some helping verb example sentences that include an auxiliary:

  • Jacob is running another marathon this weekend.
  • Her father has not made dinner for us yet.
  • I am reading my favorite book right now.

What is a Helping Verb?: The Modal Form

The second type of helping verb is known as a modal. Modals include the words: can, could, might, may, should, shall, will, would, must, and ought to. You can use a modal helping verb to discuss possibility and obligation. Here is a modal helping verb example:

  • May I use your bathroom please?

More than likely you can, but there’s a chance that whoever you’re asking will not let you use the bathroom.

  • You must make this basket to win the game!

You might need to, but there’s a chance that you miss the basket and lose the game. 

  • Could Steve give me a hand with the groceries?

Helping words can also be used in the past perfect, present perfect and future perfect tenses. Look at these examples of a helping word at work:

  • He will finish doing his chores before playing outside.
  • Lily has delivered the packages to the post office.
  • My uncle has a lot of board games to pass the time with.  

As you can see the perfect tenses are italicized whereas the helping verbs are bolded. In this case, the tenses takes the form of to be and to have as the helping verb in the sentence indicating points in time when the verb was or will be completed. The bolded word is identified as the main verb.

One more thing before jotting down what is a helping verb; adverbs that appear in between action words do not count as helping words. For example words like not, always, never, often and sometimes are just some of the few. Think you’re an expert now? Try creating your own bullet points or test yourself on what is a helping verb. Mastery over helping verbs doesn’t come overnight and will truly help you define what is a linking verb and a linking verb definition

Now you know all about the types of action, linking, and helping verbs and their many forms! Use them to accurately describe who you are and the actions you’ll take in your writing and speech. See if you can answer the following and practice resume action verbs:

  • In your own words, what is a helping verb and can it help define what is a linking verb?
  • What are linking verbs?
  • Examples of linking verbs that can be action verbs?
  • What are your own linking verb examples?
  • Your own action verb examples?
  • What is an action verb?
  • What are some good resume action verbs?
  • What are the differences between a helping verb, action verb, and a linking verb?

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?