My textbook says:

Some verbs used as performatives with the present simple in affirmative (= positive) sentences (apologize, deny, guarantee, promise) have a similar meaning with either the present simple or the present continuous in negative sentences . . .

As an example, the textbook gives the following sentence:

I don’t deny / I’m not denying taking the books, but Miguel said it would be okay.

I understand that both the present simple and the present continuous can work with performatives in negative sentences.

But the textbook says it works only with “some verbs used as performatives in affirmative sentences . . .” Do I understand correctly that there are some verbs used as performatives to which this rule (using the present continuous in negative sentences) doesn’t apply?

  • 1
    I think you should probably parse the cited textbook as Some verbs which are used as performatives... (i.e. - if the verb is being used as a performative). I can't think of any performative usage where negated present simple and present continuous aren't equivalent. But I have trouble imagining a context where you (as the reigning monarch) might say, for example, I don't dub you Sir Askalot or I'm not dubbing you Sir Askalot, so it's not easy to say whether those two are "equivalent". Jan 7 at 18:05
  • ...but arguably #1 I don't advise you to go and #2 I'm not advising you to go could be distinguished on the grounds that #1 would almost always have to mean I advise you not to go, but #2 could be seen as simply stopping short of making a specific recommendation (it's your decision, and I'm not trying to push you into going if you don't want to). But analysing written text like this is a bit of a mug's game. Competent speakers would probably make their intended meaning crystal clear by intonation. Jan 7 at 18:12


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