Speech Acts According to Searle

John R. Searle classified the speech acts into five, namely, assertives, directives, commissives, expressives, and declarations.

  1. Assertives refer to utterances that function as assertions or statements of one’s belief. For instance, you may describe what you have just observed, “Mina is a good singer.”
  2. Directives are utterances that function as commands or requests, making someone do something. An example of a directive utterance is “You should stop smoking.”
  3. Commissives are utterances that act as a promise to do something. For instance, you may plan to have better grades this semester and so you say, “I promise to study harder.”
  4. Expressives refer to acts that express feelings, such as gratitude, regret, or admiration. A congratulatory remark is an example of an expressive speech act.
  5. Declarations are acts which perform an action by changing the state or external situation of the people or things involved in the communication. For instance, the utterance, “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” changes the relationship of two people.