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Using Sources

Signal Phrases

Whether you are quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing, you can use signal phrases to tell readers that you are about to introduce a source. Signal phrases usually contain the following:

  1. Author's Name
  2. Verb that indicates the author's attitude or approach


The table below shows a list of commonly used signal phrases:

Author is neutral

Author suggests

Author argues

Author agrees

Author disagrees

comments
describes
explains
writes
says

concludes
finds
predicts
suggests
supposes

claims
contends
defends
insists
maintains

admits
agrees
concedes
concurs
grants

complains
deplores
disagrees
laments
warns

Aaron, J.E. (2016). The little, brown compact handbook: Research and writing. Pearson Education Inc.