Lesson plan

Verbs Working Together: Helping and Linking Verbs

Linking and helping verbs may not be the most exciting or understood verbs — but they are still important! Learn and practice these parts of speech. Learn and practice these parts of speech with this lesson that incorporates interactive exercises.
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Students will be able to identify helping verbs and linking verbs and use them in a sentence.

(5 minutes)
  • Have students work with a partner or small group to list as many verbs as they can in three minutes. Students will likely list all action verbs and that’s okay.
  • After three minutes, have the group with the most verbs read theirs aloud.
  • Now, ask if anyone had any of the following verbs: is, has, does, can, could, must, be, are, have, do, will, would, may, been, am, had, did, shall, should, might, being, was, and were.
  • Students may be surprised or confused as, most likely, no one will have these verbs.
  • Explain that these are called helping verbs and linking verbs and that they are often overlooked but are very important.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that helping verbs allow us to speak with more specificity. They allow us to tell if something is likely to happen or if it should happen.
  • Give the example: "I do my chores," "I should do my chores," or "I will do my chores." Discuss the difference of these three sentences. Do they mean the same thing? How are they different?
  • Explain that linking verbs are simply verbs that don’t show action; rather, they show state of being and connect the subject to the predicate. There is no action, the verb provides a status. Give the example: "I am tired," or "She is late."
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Helping vs. Linking Verbs.
  • Review the instructions and do the first six problems together.
  • Instruct students to work with a peer or in small groups to finish the sheet, composing sentences of their own.
  • Review the examples that your students have generated.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Helping Verbs and Linking Verbs Story.
  • Review the instructions.
  • Instruct students to complete the activity.


  • Do a shared writing activity, starting the story as a class. Think through each sentence as you write it together and include helping and linking verbs.
  • Once you think students have the idea, have them start their own.


  • Have students examine an excerpt of text from a book they are reading and identify linking and helping verbs in the story.
  • Challenge students to write sentences that have both helping and linking verbs.
(5 minutes)
  • Write the sentence on the board: "I was early but I will help clean after the party."
  • Have students identify the helping and linking verbs.
  • "Was" is the linking verb and "will" is the helping verb.
(5 minutes)
  • Discuss: What would our language be like without helping or linking verbs? How would communication be different?

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