Friday, November 11, 2016

Performative Verbs

Performative verbs are verbs which convey a speech act when they are uttered. In other words, they communicate actions which are performed in speech. Examples of performative verbs include apologize, insist, promise, recommend, and quit. 

In contrast, non-performative verbs are independent of speech. The verb run isn't a performative verb. The sentence I run every week doesn't perform the act of running. Other non-performative verbs include dance, sing, sleep, swim and walk.

Here are five sentences with performative verbs:

I apologize for being late.
I insist you come with us.
I promise to read your book.
I recommend a red wine.
I quit.

Many verbs can be classified as performative verbs. When uttered, they perform the action which they convey. Performative verbs are often used in present tense. 

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