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I remember vaguely that there is an encompassing terms for these words when used in a sentence. Something that represent it is not a normal factual claim, but something that is subjective to the speaker.

Google search has not been helpful since I can't seem to find the right keyword.

So, what is it?

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  • What do you mean by “when used in a sentence”? All the verbs are meant to be used in sentences. Do you mean some specific, particular usage? Could you provide some examples? When used in sentences like ‘I believe you’, ‘I'm thinking about you’, and ‘I feel good’ they behave just like the rest of the verbs, there's nothing special about them and they have nothing particular in common. – Yellow Sky Feb 26 at 7:09
  • I mean a linguistic term for sentences containing those "believe" verbs. Or perhaps the types of the verbs themselves. So something to fill in the blank in: "____ verbs are verbs which express the subjective view of the speaker." – justhalf Feb 26 at 7:28
  • The verbs you mention fit the "reporting verb" category used in pedagogy, though it does not fit your definition. You may have remembered which verbs fit the category but misremembered its criterion. – Nardog Feb 26 at 18:27
  • Yeah, I was thinking that it should be a more formal term in linguistics. – justhalf Feb 26 at 18:29
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    Verbs of cognition. – BillJ Feb 27 at 11:40
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A quick lookup finds the term cognitive verb in this reference (A. Fetzer, “And I Think That Is a Very Straightforward Way of Dealing With It”: The Communicative Function of Cognitive Verbs in Political Discourse). I think, this is a standard way to address these verbs.

A more differentiated view with further partition in verbs of feeling, verbs of perception, and verbs of cognition is used in this paper (V. G. Miglio et al., Spanish lo(s)-le(s) Clitic Alternations in Psych Verbs:A Multifactorial Corpus-Based Analysis) and the title suggest psych verbs as an umbrella term for them.

EDIT: Search engine tesuji to find the terms: Use Google Scholar as search engine and enter the search terms feel think believe linguistics verb

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  • First time seeing the term "tesuji" being used in general. Anyway. For the term, looking up "cognitive verbs" only bring up educational/pedagogical resources, and not linguistic sources. Is it used in the linguistics community? – justhalf Feb 26 at 9:22
  • It is definitely used, but not necessarily well-known. When you want to use it in a paper it is probably a good idea to introduce the terminology with some example verbs and a short definition. – jk - Reinstate Monica Feb 26 at 10:07
  • I also found "responsive verbs" to be used to describe these kind of words, even though I don't feel that's the answer either. But I'm starting to think that maybe my question doesn't have a definite answer. – justhalf Feb 26 at 18:58
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    Different theories use different terms. A skeletal categorization of verbs is found, among other places, in Natural Semantic Metalanguage. These particular ones are stative complement-taking verbs that serve only to identify the subject as the source of the concept or emotion stated in the complement clause. "Cognitive" is as good a name for them as any, but it also covers hundreds of other verbs that behave differently; it's not a good choice to name these three verbs alone. – jlawler Feb 26 at 20:25
  • Thanks all! At the end I think "cognitive verbs" or "verbs of cognition" fits the bill best, as explained by jlawler above. – justhalf Mar 1 at 4:00

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