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Quoting, Summarizing, and Paraphrasing : Introducing quotations

Introducing quotations

Using signal or lead-in phrases is an excellent way to give your reader the necessary context to understand why you think the quotation is important to your discussion: 

A signal phrase usually names the author of the source, gives the publication year in parentheses, and often provides some context. It commonly appears before the source material. To vary your sentence structure, you may decide to interrupt source material with a signal phrase or place the signal phrase after your paraphrase, summary, or direct quotation (A Canadian Writer's Reference (5th ed.), Hacker & Sommers, p. 453)

Example: Gore (1992) asserted the importance of considering the environmental effects of technological advances and noted that, “the appropriateness of a technology becomes increasingly important as its power grows and its potential for destroying the environment expands” (p. 146).

Verbs in signal phrases

Use active and descriptive verbs in your introduction of a quotation: 

admitted    contended reasoned
agreed       declared refuted
argued denied rejected
asserted emphasized reported
believed insisted responded
claimed noted suggested
compared observed thought
confirmed pointed out wrote

(Source: A Canadian Writer's Reference (5th ed.), Hacker & Sommers, p. 454)

For more information, please visit "Verbs for Referring to Sources" (University of Toronto). No matter how you choose to incorporate the idea into your text, you want to make it clear that you are referring to someone else’s idea, not claiming it as your own.


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Author credit

Adapted from "Using someone else's words: Quote, summarize, and paraphrase your way to success" © Center for Teaching and Faculty Development at San Francisco State University. Adapted with permission.