Business & Technical Writing/VERBS


Hi Dan,

Hi, just want to know the difference among linking verbs, helping verbs, and verb be.

Thank you.

There are some pretty involved explanations of these verbs online, so I recommend you do a search on each term for more information and examples. But briefly

1. Linking verbs do not express action. Rather they connect the subject to additional information about it.

2. Helping verbs stand before the main verb in a sentence to form a verb phrase. "Sheila can ride her bike." "Can" is a helping verb.

3. The verb "be" in all its forms does not indicate action, but rather existence or a temporary or permanent state. Sentence constructed around forms of "to be" are generally considered weaker constructions than sentences formed around action verbs. For example:

"There are many ways to skin a cat." is a weaker construction than "I can skin a cat in many ways." "There are" is a form of "to be."

Hope this helps, but do go search out more information on your own.

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Dan Smith


I have been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years, taught speech and English composition at the university level, and have developed speech and English composition courses and seminars for businesses. I am experienced in editing a wide variety of materials, especially business, scientific, and other academic papers. I am familiar with all the major style guides.


I have edited any number of graduate papers and other technical materials in such advanced fields as clinical psychology, civil and electrical engineering, and semiconductor fabrication. I have extensive experience in working with non-native English speakers.

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