What are Performative verbs?

Performative verbs describe the actions we do as we speak. The verb and the action must be the same. The verb is the action that we do as we speak. The sentence begins and ends at the same time that the verb is used. The action begins and ends as we speak. The first person (I or we) is normally used. The present simple is used to enable an action and a verb to start and end at the same time. Check out the italicized words below. Do you see the effect in these examples?

• I apologize for hurting your feelings. (I’m not just saying it. I’m doing it.)

performative verbs

• I’m not working here anymore. I quit. (I’m not just saying it. I’m doing it.)

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Examples of performative verbs

Examples of performative verbs include the following:

Accept, admit, agree, apologize, congratulate, declare, demand, deny, disagree, forbid, forgive, give up, guarantee, insist, invite, order, predict, promise, quit, resign, recommend, refuse, request, suggest, surrender, thank and warn.

Reporting verbs

Many performative verbs are also reporting verbs, which means that we say what other people say instead of repeating exactly what they say.

If someone says, “thank you,”
you can say, He thanks you.

Find out more about performative verbs, which you will find in the syllabus of our course called Verb Tenses, Moods and Phrases. If you are interested in taking this course, check out our learning management system (LMS.)

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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