I came across a sentence when I was doing school exercises. I had to fill in the blank with a verb in its most appropriate form, choosing between present perfect and present perfect continuous. The sentence was:

He (not stopped) nagging since he arrived.

I also have to give an explanation why I use present perfect (He has not stopped nagging since we arrived).

My question here is: is the verb stop in this context (or always?) a performative verb? If not, what would be a good explanation why not to use the present perfect continuous?



This is not a performative verb.

"Generally, the performative verb . . . is in the simple present active and the subject is I, but the verb may be in the simple present passive and the subject need not be I: Smoking is forbidden; The committee thanks you for your services. A test for whether a verb is being used performatively is the possible insertion of hereby: I hereby apologize; The committee hereby thanks you. In hedged performatives, the verb is present but the speech act is performed indirectly: In saying I must apologize for my behavior, the speaker is expressing an obligation to make an apology, but implies that the acknowledgement of that obligation is the same as an apology. In contrast, I apologized is a report, and Must I apologize? is a request for advice."

(S. Greenbaum, The Oxford Companion to the English Language, 1992)

"By saying we apologize we perform an expressive act simultaneously with the naming of that expressive act. It is for this reason that apologize is called a performative verb, defined as a verb denoting linguistic action that can both describe a speech act and express it. This explains why we can say that we are sorry, but not that we are sorry on someone else's behalf because be sorry only expresses, but does not describe the act of making an apology."

(R. Dirven and M. Verspoor, Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics. John Benjamins, 2004)

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    What stop is is an aspectual verb. Many languages have aspects instead of or in addition to tenses; English doesn't have morphological aspects like (say) Lushootseed, but it has predicates to express the same concepts (start, begin, continue, remain, finish, end, stop) as aspectual inflections. Every language does, whether they inflect for aspect or not. And, like all special semi-grammatical predicates, these verbs have all kinds of exceptional syntax. – John Lawler Nov 16 '15 at 17:08
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    @John Lawler I can't think of how to say 'excellent' in a way back-handed enough not to be cloying. // Would you say Cobuild's classification of 'stop nagging' (along with 'avoid looking at' / 'risk trying' / 'go shopping', comprising Cobuild's four 'meaning groups' in this classification of V + ing-form 'Structure I') as verbs in phase is helpful? (• Structure I: Verbs in phase : She started walking. • Structure II: Verb with Object He liked dancing with her. • Structure III: Verb with Adjunct They ended up fighting.) – Edwin Ashworth Nov 17 '15 at 13:03

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