Helping or linking verb


Is "am" in I am working a linking verb or a helping verb?

asked May 12 '14 at 17:18 Joe doc New member

1 answer


This is a good question, Joe, and not an easy one to answer. 

We have to determine whether 'working' is a participle or part of the present progressive verb form.

The context is what will help us to answer this question. Could 'working' be used as an adjective modifying 'I'?  Not very easily in this sentence. The working I is doing something.  This doesn't make sense to me.


Look at this set.

The telephone is working.

The working telephone is on the desk.

A telephone is inanimate, but it can be working or non-working.  In this sentence, 'working' seems to be more like a predicate adjective that part of the verb. The phone is not performing a task; it is simply operable.


I am working.

With this sentence, we could add a function that the subject is performing and still make sense.

I am working on the report.

I would say that in your example, 'working' is part of the verb and 'am' is an auxilliary verb.

link comment answered May 14 '14 at 18:41 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

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