In discussing other authors’ work, you have many words to choose from. You can, of course, always report that the author ‘says’ or ‘writes’ things, but this likely becomes repetitive. In this blog post, we’ll show you what other verbs you can use - and how Writefull can help you choose one.
To fully inform the reader, you’ll want to indicate any intentions or attitude of the author whose work you've read. The author may discuss or report on something with a neutral attitude, but he/she can also show a strong stance, or be careful instead. Below, you see several verbs to use in each of these three cases.
Neutral: demonstrate, show, point out, report, observe, examine, describe
Careful: propose, imply, recommend, suggest, speculate, hypothesise
Strong: assert, emphasise, claim, challenge, reject, refute, maintain, argue
In the Writefull editor, you can browse more verbs and phrases to use. Writefull’s Sentence Palette gives you template sentences to paste straight into your text.
Look up how words are used
If you’re not entirely sure how to use a verb, enter the verb into Writefull’s search bar and look at the results (see below). Writefull shows you snippets of texts from scientific journal articles. The example below shows that the verb ‘speculate’ is normally used when referring to authors that are careful, which is also reflected in surrounding words like ‘may’ and ‘might’. We also see that ‘speculates’ is usually followed by ‘that’ and a statement.
Compare two verbs within your context
Maybe you’re not sure which of two verbs to use. Again, clear up any doubt with a search in Writefull. Say you want to explain that an author shows an increase of something in his/her paper, and you’re doubting between the verbs ‘reports’ and ‘describes’. As you see below, Writefull’s results show that ‘report’ is more commonly used in this context; moreover, looking at the results, we see that the verb ‘reports’ is normally used for a person reporting an increase, while ‘describe’ mostly refers to things describing it (a term, a source, a report, an effect, a theory). This shows us that ‘reports’ is best to use.
Feeling lazy? Get a list of verbs that fit your context
If you’re completely unsure of what verbs fit your phrase, add an underscore to your Writefull search and see what comes up! (see below)
Give it a go!
Now that you know these tips and tricks, try adding some variation to the reporting verbs you use. Writefull is here to help you out. Get free access at www.writefull.com.
About the author
Hilde is Chief Applied Linguist at Writefull.