A link verb links a qualification to the subject. The most commonly used link verb is zijn (to be). It is easy to see how the link verb zijn connects the subject with a qualification:
||link verb FF
In the above example, the complement (the qualification) is a noun. There are, however, other types of words that can qualify as complements, the most common being the adjective. In fact, with the exception of verbs, all words that are linked to the subject by a link verb are complements.
Just like in English, link verbs can generally be recognized by the possibility of adding 'to be', e.g. "he remains (to be) a lawyer", "he seems (to be) upset". The Dutch link verbs are:
||to get, become
||to stay, remain
||to be called
This is the list that most Dutch children are taught at school and perhaps you have seen it before yourself. In this case, you may have noticed that I added a verb to the traditional list: raken. This is a synonym for worden, and fully deserves to be mentioned in this list.
A few notes:
- Heten can also mean 'to be called' as in "Ik heet Bieneke" ("I am called Bieneke")
- Schijnen is also used as a translation for 'to shine': "Het licht schijnt in mijn ogen" (The light is shining in my eyes”).
- Voorkomen has several meanings. As a link verb, it means 'to appear' or 'to show as'. It is, however most often used in the sense of 'to occur'. The verb voorkomen ('to appear' or 'to occur'), with the stress over the prefix, is separable. See also the chapter about compound verbs. Another meaning of this verb is 'to prevent'. However, used in this sense, it is an inseparable compound verb. The stress lies over the verb: voorkomen. Recall, that this is in indication that the compound verb is inseparable.