The words seem, look and appear are Copular Verbs. Does ‘copular verb’ term sound unfamiliar? Ok. No problem. This verb is a special kind of verb which is used to show a link between a subject and an adjective or noun complement. Some most frequently used other such verbs are sound, taste, feel, go, turn, stay, remain, keep, get, grow, be, become etc. Look at the following examples where copular verbs are used :
1. Peter, you look tired today. (noun complement ‘tired’ denotes the state of the subject ‘Peter’).
2. The night gets deeper.
3. The food in the fridge turned sour. (noun complement ‘sour’ indicates the state of the subject ‘the food in the fridge’).
4. Karim is my elder brother. (subject-complement same person).
A copular verb expresses either that the subject and its complement denote or indicate the same thing or that the subject has the attribute denoted by its complement. In other words, they usually describe the state of a subject (person or thing) and make a connection between a subject and an adjective or noun complement. Try to understand the usages of copular verbs from the examples given above. Well, in the fourth sentence above, the copular verb ‘is’ indicates that the subject and its complement are the same person.
Some more examples where copular verbs are used :
1. Honey tastes sweet.
2. The milk has gone off.
3. My younger sister just got married.
4. This food item does not taste spicy.
Copular verbs like seem, look, appear etc. are always followed by adjectives, not adverbs. See the examples below :
1. My teacher looks angry today. (copular verb). But my teacher looks angrily at me. (right as in this sentence, look is used as an ordinary verb).
2. The girl looks intelligent (not intelligently). But the girl always speaks intelligently. (right). Here the verb speak is an ordinary verb.
Copular verbs like become, get, grow, go etc. are used to talk about change. Look at the sentences below :
1. You are getting older.
2. Your hair is turning grey.
3. The leaves in the tree are going reddish.
4. The girl is getting reddish with shame.
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