The category of achievements forms one of the four cornerstones of Vendler's (1967) aspectual classification, among accomplishments, activities, and states. Examples of achievement verbs are given in (1) [arrive, be born, begin, convince, depart, die, discover, find, forget, hear, …]. A long-standing intuition about achievements is that they denote instantaneous events. In Vendler's words, achievements occur at a single moment (p. 103) and involve unique and definite time instants (p. 107). Similarly, Freed (1979, p. 51) states that [a]n achievement essentially names an event that has no duration. Putting the same point in yet another way, Mourelatos (1981, p. 192) writes that achievements can be indefinitely placed within a temporal stretch, but they cannot in themselves occur over or throughout a temporal stretch.
There are two versions of the paper, the shorter published version and the longer unpublished version. The latter properly contains the former.
In Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory VII, Aaron
Lawson (ed.), pp. 276–293. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications,
Cornell University, 1997.
For the longer unpublished version:
Paper, shorter published version
I also keep a local copy of the same file, just in case. :-)
Paper, longer unpublished version, 1997