|Verbs for Referring to Sources|
|Written by Martine Johnston, International Student Centre|
You can indicate your attitude to the sources you cite by choosing specific verbs to refer to them. Don't just keep repeating "Smith says." There is a wide choice of such verbs in English. Use a dictionary to check that you have chosen a verb with the nuance you intend.
Here are some grammatical patterns to follow in using these verbs:
Pattern 1: reporting verb + that + subject + verb
Note that these verbs all differ in meaning-they cannot be used interchangeably. For example, the verb argue in sample sentence (a) indicates your judgement that the author's conclusion is based on evidence and reasoning, but that other conclusions might be possible. The verb demonstrate in sentence (b) indicates your judgement that the researchers' evidence and reasoning are so convincing that no other conclusion is possible.
Beware of using the verbs discuss or express followed by that. For example, it is incorrect to write, "The reviewer expressed that the movie is not worth seeing." You can, however, write the following: "The reviewer expressed the view that the movie is not worth seeing."
N.B.: Verbs in this category may also appear in a subordinate clause beginning with As:
Pattern 2: reporting verb + somebody/something + for + noun/gerund
Pattern 3: reporting verb + somebody/something + as + noun/gerund/adjective