I have been wondering about this question for a long time but I was hesitant to ask as it seemed a very small one. But I must ask it now:

Is the verb To be linking verb or auxiliary verb(helping verb)?

I think it can be used in both ways but when I went through the internet it says to be is always a linking verb(they're even called true linking verb). Could you please shed some light on it?

For example:

  1. He is a teacher (is- linking verb)
  2. He is working now (is- auxiliary verb)
  • 1
    The verb "be" is always an auxiliary verb, even when it's the only verb in the sentence. Copula "be" is so-called because it provides a syntactic link relating a predicative complement to the subject, as in "Ed is nice / a teacher". Incidentally, I strongly advise dropping the term 'helping verb'. It's nonsense.
    – BillJ
    Jan 7, 2021 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


"To be" is both a linking verb and an auxiliary verb.

It is a linking verb in sentences such as "he is a teacher" or "he is sick".

It is obviously an auxiliary in sentences such as "he is working" or "he was taken away".

It would not traditionally be considered an auxiliary in "he is a teacher" or "he is sick", but a case can be made for so considering it. "To be" always, including in these sentences, forms negations and questions in the same way that auxiliaries do, i.e. "he is not" and "is he...?".

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