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Assertives

Assertives

Have you ever thought about why we all have different views? How do we differentiate between something we know to be true and something we know to be false?

You may be wondering what this has to do with the English language, but don’t worry! In this explanation, we will be exploring how we can express what is true through the language we use. Our particular focus will be on assertive speech acts and why they are used. We will also look at examples of the different types of assertive.

What Is A Speech Act?

A speech act is an utterance that has a purpose in communication. Whenever we speak, we are also carrying out an action. These actions are called illocutionary acts, and are broken down into five categories: assertive, directive, commissive, expressive and declarative.

Assertive Meaning

An assertive speech act (also known as assertiveness) is an utterance in which the speaker confidently expresses a point of view or statement of fact.

Assertive Behaviour

If someone is being assertive or is using assertive behaviour, it usually means they are expressing themselves in a straightforward and honest way.

Assertive Communication

Assertiveness can be carried out both through verbal communication and through non-verbal communication. Assertive non-verbal communication would be through actions such as having confident posture, a certain facial expression and decisive actions.

Assertiveness Techniques

There are different types of assertives that people can use to convey a point. Some examples of assertives include:

  • Asserting
  • Stating
  • Suggesting
  • Boasting
  • Complaining
  • Claiming
  • Reporting
  • Concluding
  • Believing
  • Explaining

Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

Assertiveness Examples

Let us take a look at some examples

Asserting

Asserting is the act of confidently and directly stating something. Asserting can either be positive or negative.

“I’ve spent a lot of time straightening my hair today.”

“This song is definitely one of my favourites.”

“I’ve always hated wearing high heels.”

Stating

Stating means to make a clear declaration of something that is either true or false. Making a statement does not always require proof, but it depends on what is being said and the knowledge that the speaker and listener already have about the topic.

So when do we know if a statement is true without the need for evidence? In philosophical terms, there are two types of statements: analytic and synthetic.

Analytic and synthetic

Analytic refers to statements that are true or false because of the definition of the words themselves. We do not need proof that these statements are true, as the truth is in the subject of the sentence itself.

“All squares have four sides.”

“Cats are animals.”

“Earth is a planet.”

Assertives, Earth, StudySmarter"The Earth is a planet" does not need proving as the truth is in the subject of the statement itself. - pixabay

Synthetic refers to statements in which the truth is not contained in the meaning of the words, but instead through experiences in the world. They often require proof that what is being said is true, as not everyone shares the same experiences or knowledge of the same events.

“It rains a lot in England.”

“My kitchen walls are grey.”

“There is a bird in the tree.”

Suggesting

By suggesting something, you are putting forward the idea that something may be true; you are inviting the listener to consider your suggestion. A suggestion does not explicitly state anything, it instead implies something, which leaves room for the listener to either agree or disagree with the speaker.

“That other hat may fit you better.”

“The ending of this chapter suggests that the book will not have a happy ending.”

“If I could make a suggestion, I think we should work together as we are a good team.”

Boasting

Boasting is the act of showing off about something you have done or said. It is a way for the speaker to feel good about themselves and what they have done. Boasting may also be used as a way of comparing what you have done to the actions of others.

“I’m the best at baking cupcakes.”

“I won the art competition, I’m so proud of myself.”

“I beat Jess at a game of tennis.”

Complaining

The act of complaining means to convey unhappiness or annoyance with something. This may be because of something someone has said/done, or because of an event that happened. There may be a need to provide proof, but it is not always necessary.

“I had an awful day.”

“Kevin was being really loud on the bus, it was so annoying.”

“The steak is not cooked enough.”

Claiming

By claiming something, you are professing that it is true, although you likely do not have significant evidence and cannot prove that it is a complete fact.

“She claims to have been bitten by a spider.”

“I challenged the claim that all women are sensitive.”

“They always claim that they don’t have enough money.”

Reporting

Reporting refers to documenting and announcing something you have done or seen.

“I saw a fox running across the road at 7 pm last night.”

“She reported that she found a cat in the tree.”

“I reported to the police that there was a robbery.”

Concluding

The act of concluding means making a deduction about something being the case after you have looked at significant evidence or proof.

“The film had a satisfying ending.”

“My dad is taller than Sarah’s dad.”

“After reading a variety of genres of books, I have come to the conclusion that thrillers are my favourite.”

Believing

To believe something means to have the opinion that something is/is not the case without concrete evidence of the truth.

“You'll win the race, I just know it!”

“I think that there is life on other planets.”

“I believe there is a God.”

Assertives, a man praying, StudySmarterBelieving in God is a matter of opinion - some people choose to believe and some choose not to believe. - pixabay

Explaining

The act of explaining refers to a speaker describing something in detail with relevant facts to make it clearer to a listener.

Instead of simply saying “My dad doesn’t have a job”, you could elaborate by explaining “My dad doesn’t have a job because he was made redundant.”

Instead of “I’m upset”, saying “My date didn’t show up last night so now I’m upset.”

Instead of “She is in the hospital”, saying “She is in the hospital as she broke her leg.”

In conclusion, all of the above utterances are used to assert different things; from a fact or a suggestion, to a complaint or a belief.

Assertives - Key Takeaways

  • Assertive speech acts are utterances that devote a speaker to something they believe to be the case.
  • Assertives can either be true or false.
  • Assertives often need proof or evidence of the truth, although this is not always the case.
  • Examples of assertives include: asserting, stating, suggesting, boasting, complaining, claiming, reporting, concluding, believing, explaining.

Frequently Asked Questions about Assertives

Assertive language refers to language that confidently states something you believe to be true.

To write an assertive statement, you express what you think in a direct and confident way. Stand up for what you believe in or feel! Don't forget, a statement ends with a full stop.

An assertion is a confident statement of the truth or a belief.

If something (a speech act or action) is assertive, it means that it is delivered confidently and perhaps forcefully.

If someone is being assertive or is using assertive behaviour, it usually means they are expressing themselves in a straightforward and honest way.

Final Assertives Quiz

Question

What is a speech act?

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Answer

A speech act is an utterance that has a purpose in communication. 

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Question

We carry out actions when we speak. What are these actions?

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Answer

Illocutionary acts

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How many categories of illocutionary acts are there?

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Answer

5

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What are the five types of illocutionary act?

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Assertive, directive, commissive, expressive and declarative.

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Question

What is an assertive speech act?

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Answer

An utterance in which the speaker confidently expresses a point of view or statement of fact. 

Show question

Question

What is assertive behaviour?

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Answer

If someone is being assertive or is using assertive behaviour, it usually means they are expressing themselves in a straightforward and honest way.

Show question

Question

True or false: Assertive communication can only be carried out verbally.

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Answer

False

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Question

What's an example of non-verbal assertive communication?

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Answer

Having a confident and tall posture, a confident / unwavering facial expression and decisive actions and movements.

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Question

What are these examples of?

Asserting, stating, boasting, claiming, reporting, believing

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Answer

Assertiveness techniques

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Question

True or false: Asserting can only be positive utterances.

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Answer

False

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Does stating always require proof?

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Answer

Not always, it depends on what knowledge the interlocutors already have of the topic.

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What are the two types of statements?

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Answer

Analytic and synthetic

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What type of statement refers to something that doesn't proof?

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Answer

Analytic

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What are synthetic statements?

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Answer

Statements that are made where the truth is learned through lived experience.

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Question

What type of statement is this:
"It rains a lot in Wales"?

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Answer

Synthetic statement 

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What does a suggestion do?

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Answer

It implies something and gives the listener the option to agree or disagree.

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What type assertive speech act is used when showing off about something?

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Boasting

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What type of assertive speech act conveys dismay or annoyance?

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Complaining

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True or false: When you claim something to be true, you often cannot prove that it is a complete fact.

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Answer

True

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What type of assertiveness technique allows you to document or announce something?

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Reporting

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What is a concluding assertive speech act?

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A speech act that makes a deduction about something after significant evidence.

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Which assertive speech act is based on opinion?

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Believing

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What is an explaining assertive speech act?

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Answer

A speech act that describes something in detail with relevant facts.

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Question

True or false: An explaining assertive speech act requires the presentation of facts or proof.

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Answer

True

Show question

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