Notice how the first sentence here is my own argument. Below are some guidelines and tips for using signal phrases. State the text from which the quote has been pulled. Remember that you are required to cite your sources for paraphrases and direct quotes. We’ve discussed note-taking strategies and the difference between summarizing and paraphrasing. Signal phrases are introductory words that help integrate quotes into a paper. The examples use MLA format. Below is a list of verbs that can be used in signal phrases: acknowledges  adds admits affirms agrees answers argues asserts claims comments concedes confirms contends counters counterattacks declares defines denies disputes echoes endorses estimates finds grants illustrates implies insists mentions notes observes predicts proposes reasons recognizes recommends refutes rejects reports responds reveals speculates states suggests surmises warns writes, Adapted from A Writer’s Reference with Writing in the Disciplines 7th ed. Privacy Statement | Accessibility, Advice on Setting Up and Working with a Writing Group, Avoiding Fragments with Dependent Clauses. ˜ In other words, X believes _____. Legal scholar Terrence Roberts offered a persuasive argument: “….”. 3. Signal phrases usually come at the beginning of a sentence before the source material, but they can also occur in the middle of a source or at the end. At this point, we’ve covered most of the skills needed to write interesting and effective papers. Create a smooth transition by referencing the current discussion. All of the writing lessons are informed by personal experiences and classroom observations that led to improved writing practices in student papers. Signal phrases are introductory words that help integrate quotes into a paper. Often, there is no introduction of the quote and no context given for it. Without them, your quotes feel like they’ve been dropped in the middle of the paper without any context. To avoid monotony and repetition, try to vary both the language and placement of your signal phrases. Here’s the trick to making that happen. Context is the key word here. It shouldn’t feel abrupt or stilted. Signal and Lead-in Phrases. Resources developmental writing for Students and Teachers. Visit Mason’s Safe Return to Campus Plan for COVID-19 updates. It only takes a few words, but they make a big difference in the way a paper reads. Shifting between your words and the words of experts should be fluid. The secret to integrating our quote smoothly is to add a couple of introductory words that set up the quote and place it within the context of our own argument. In this paper, we are going to cite Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as one of our critical sources. Without them, your quotes feel like they’ve been dropped in the middle of the paper without any context. by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers, © Copyright 2020 George Mason University. This skill will help set your writing apart, and it will demonstrate that you can effectively join the critical conversation. As part of Mason's Safe Return to Campus Plan, all classes and associated instructional activities—including final exams—will be conducted virtually beginning November 30, while most campus facilities will remain open. Secondly, I mentioned the author of the quote (Plato) and the text the quote came from (Allegory of the Cave) in my signal phrase. Signal phrases usually include the author’s name but can also include the author’s job title or background (“reporter for Washington Post,” “researcher,” “senator,” “scholar,” and so on) and/or the title of the source. If you have a question about this website, please contact us via the “contact” page. Master the signal phrase and you’ll be quoting like a boss in no time. By marking the boundaries, you also provide a smooth transition for the reader between your words and the source. Do you want to perform a Demtia Test or Menopause Test? We have learned about thesis statements, topic sentences, and transitions. ˜ Basically, X is saying _____. In the previous lesson we learned about picking the right quotes to support your argument. Effective Verbs for Introducing Quotations Oftentimes in academic writing, you decide to use outside sources to enhance your argument and make it credible. A signal phrase introducing a paraphrase: According to a recent survey from Pew Research Center, more than 50% of adults in the U.S. play video games, with 21% engaging in this activity on a daily basis. The trouble is we know what we want to say, and sometimes it can be tricky to incorporate the words of others into our argument without it feeling forced to an outside reader. The nutritionists Young and Robinson propose that an iron-fortified soy sauce is the solution to the anemia problem in the young women of rural China. They act as a bridge between your argument and the critical sources you use as support for your argument. Let’s pretend we are writing a paper about personal enlightenment and the acquisition of knowledge. Even good writers can struggle with proper integration of quotations. The CEO of Lighthouse Consulting predicts “a year of exciting, challenging endeavors that will expand the company’s horizons and stimulate growth throughout the company.”. Explaining Quotations: Every paragraph must show clarifi cation, interpretation, or necessary analysis of a supplied quotation or paraphrase. This argument is supported by Plato in his Allegory of the Cave when he asks “How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?” (22). Choosing Between Infinitive and Gerund: “To do” or “doing”? Eight: Signal Phrases & Smooth Connections. Combining Clauses to Avoid Comma Splices, Run-ons, and Fragments, Common Writing Terms and Concepts Defined, Guidelines for Posting to Discussion Boards, Hedges: Softening Claims in Academic Writing, How to Edit Your Own Essay: Strategies for ESL Students, Improving Cohesion: The "Known/New Contract", Introduction Sections in Scientific Research Reports (IMRaD), Conclusion Sections in Scientific Research Reports (IMRaD), Introductions and Conclusions for Humanities Papers, Online Resources for Improving Grammar and Word Choice in Writing, Quotation, Paraphrase, Summary, and Analysis, Same Form, but Different Functions: Various Meanings of Verb+ing and Verb+ed, Searching for Sources on the Mason Library Databases, Sending Email to Faculty and Administrators, The Three Common Tenses Used in Academic Writing, Using Reduced Relative Clauses to Write Concisely, Word Order in Statements with Embedded Questions, Writing a Scientific Research Report (IMRaD), Writing Personal Statements for Health Professions, Online Resources for Improving Word Choice and Grammar, Personal Statements for Graduate School Applications, An Introduction to Strategies for Structuring and Writing Reviews of the Literature, Algunos recursos en línea para la gramática y el vocabulario en español, Abstracts in Scientific Research Papers (IMRaD), Signposting Language for Improving Cohesion. Finally, we will discuss how to use signal phrases to properly integrate those quotations in the paper so they seamlessly connect your argument with the broad critical conversation. That’s a no-no. Words that introduce Quotes or Paraphrases are basically three keys verbs: This website is created by a former college writing professor with several years of experience teaching Developmental Writing and composition to students of varying ages and backgrounds. In some cases, such as a literature review or the use of a well-known author, specific information about the source is important for the reader to know. These are the three crucial elements of a good signal phrase: If you include these three elements in signal phrases for each of your quotations, you will be in good shape. You want the quotations to feel like a natural part of the paper. The lessons are presented free of charge for use in college writing classrooms or for personal study. In most citation styles, including APA, MLA, and Chicago style, you can add variety to your research writing by not always using the same sentence structure to introduce quotations, paraphrases, or pieces of information borrowed from different sources. Later, you can learn variations on this basic formula, but for now you won’t go wrong to simply stick with it for all your quotes. It tells the reader who you are quoting and from which text. This offers the research author to have the fi nal word in a paragraph. So, we have the quote we want to use, and we know the place in our paper we want to put that quote. Why do we use them?There are three important reasons to use signal phrases: To mark boundaries: Signal phrases mark boundaries between your words and the source’s words. All Rights Reserved. When you quote another writer's words, it's best to introduce or contextualize the quote. The first instinct of beginning writers is take a quote and drop it in the middle of a paragraph.