Signal Verbs

When you are summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting from a source, use a signal verb to signal or alert the reader that the information that comes next are the words, sentences, or ideas from another source, and not yours alone. Use the present tense of the verb, and if there is more than a single author, drop the “s” from the ending of the signal verb since the subject is plural.

These are some examples of what it looks like to use a signal verb:

Williams (2015) states, “....” (p. #).,
As the prominent psychologist Pavlov (1920) argues, “....” (p. #).
Williams and Bartlett (2015) describe….
In her book, Title of Book, Williams (2015) maintains that….
In the article, “Title of Article,” Williams (2015) claims that “....” (p. #).
Williams (2015) agrees when she presents….
Williams (2015) disagrees when he criticizes, “....” (p. #).


Examples of Signal Verbs

acknowledges
adds
admits
advances
advises
agrees
analyzes
announces
argues
asks
assesses
assures
attacks
backs
believes
calls for
calls on
categorizes
cautions
challenges
cites
claims


comments
compares
concedes
concludes
concurs
condemns
conjectures
consider
contends
continues
credits
criticizes
debates
declares
defends
defines
demands
denies
describes
details
designates
disagrees
disputes

emphasizes
explains
endorses
estimates
expects
expresses
favors
finds
grants
hints
holds
identifies
illustrates
illuminates
implies
indicates
infers
informs
insists
introduces
laments
lays out
lists

maintains
notes
observes
offers
opposes
outlines
pledges
points out
points to
poses (question)
postulates
praises
predicts
promotes
proposes
presents
proclaims
promises
qualifies
questions
recalls
recommends
records

refuses
regards
rejects
relates
replies
reports
requests
reveals
says
shows
speculates
spells out
states
stresses
suggests
supposes
testifies
tells
theorizes
thinks
urges
warns
wonders
writes