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.)

I apologize

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

I quit

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 this: He thanks you.
Thank you.

Watch the video below.

Find out more about performative verbs, which you will find in the syllabus of our course called The Twelve Verb Tenses in English and Some Time Expressions or Verb Tenses, Moods and Phrases.

You can also enroll now in either course:

The Twelve Verb Tenses in English and Some Time Expressions.


Verb Tenses, Moods and Phrases.

A List of Performative Verbs and Example Sentences

We have received some requests for a comprehensive compilation of performative verbs and more example sentences. In response to these inquiries, we present below a curated list of performative verbs along with accompanying examples. While it may not be an exhaustive inventory, we have made an effort to include as many performative verbs as possible. We hope you find this compilation both informative and enjoyable. Thank you for reading this article and visiting our website.

  • Accept
    • I accept your offer.
  • Acknowledge
    •  I acknowledge the importance of your contribution to the team.
  • Admit
    •  I admit my mistake.
  • Advise
    •  I advise you to do more exercise.
  • Affirm
    • I affirm my commitment to this project.
  • Agree 
    • We agree on the terms of the agreement.
  • Apologize
    •  I apologize for the inconvenience caused.
  • Appoint 
    • I appoint Mr. James as the head of the committee.
  • Argue
    • I argue that freedom of speech is a fundamental right.
  • Assert 
    • I assert that I am innocent of the crime.
  • Assure
    • I assure you that I will support your cause.
  • Beg 
    • I beg you to forgive me.
  • Blame 
    • I blame my colleague for the error.
  • Challenge
    • I challenge you to a rematch.
  • Claim
    • I claim that the accident was not my fault.
  • Command
    • I command you to leave immediately.
  • Concede
    • I concede defeat. You win.
  • Condemn
    • I condemn you for your actions.
  • Confess
    • I confess that I made a mistake
  • Confirm
    • I confirm that I will attend the meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
  • Consent
    • I consent to the proposal.
  • Declare
    • I declare my intention to run for public office.
  • Dedicate
    •  I dedicate this book to my parents.
  • Demand
    • We demand justice.
  • Denounce
    • I denounce the exploitation of workers in sweatshops.
  • Disagree
    • I disagree with you.
  • Encourage
    • We encourage all of you to pursue your dreams.
  • Forbid
    • I forbid you from entering my bedroom.
  • Foresee
    • We foresee a bright future for the company.
  • Guarantee
    • We guarantee customer satisfaction.
  • Insist 
    • I insist on paying for dinner.
  • Instruct
    • I instruct you to submit your report by the end of the week.
  • Invite
    • We invite you to ask questions.
  • Offer
    • I offer my support to those affected by the recent earthquake.
  • Order
    • I order you to follow the instructions provided without question.
  • Persuade
    • I persuade you to invest in this project.
  • Praise
    • I praise you for your hard work.
  • Predict
    • I predict that this candidate will secure a landslide victory in the election.
  • Promise
    • I promise to be on time.
  • Propose
    • I propose a new initiative.
  • Recommend
    • I recommend that you read this book.
  • Refuse
    • I refuse to sign this contract.
  • Request
    • I request a refund for the defective product I purchased.
  • Suggest
    • I suggest trying a different approach.
  • Swear 
    • I swear to tell the truth.
  • Tell
    • I tell you, this new restaurant serves the most delicious food.
  • Thank
    •  We thank you for your generous donation.
  • Threaten
    • I threaten to expose your secret if you don't cooperate.
  • Urge 
    • I strongly urge you to take action.
  • Warn 
    • I warn you not to touch me.
  • Welcome 
    • We welcome you to be a part of our team.
  • Wish
    • I wish you a happy birthday.


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