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Signal Phrases

When you choose to use quotations, make sure that they are integrated smoothly into the text of your paper. Readers should be able to move from your own words to the words you quote without feeling an abrupt shift. Signal phrases provide clear signals to prepare the readers for the quotation.

Choose a verb that is appropriate in the context. Here are some example signal phrases:

  • Argued
  • Asserted
  • Believed
  • Claimed
  • Commented
  • Disputed
  • Illustrated
  • Implied
  • Pointed out
  • Reported
  • Suggested
  • Thought
  • Wrote

Ease the Reader Out of a Quotation

When you use a quotation, help the reader make a smooth transition back into your own words. To do this, follow up the quotation with a sentence or two of your own that reinforces or expands upon it.

Try Not to Overdo the Quotations

If you include too many quotations in a research essay, readers may form the impression that you cannot think for yourself. Use direct quotations only when a source is particularly clear or expressive.

Similarly, try to avoid too many long quotations. Or if you use them, be sure that you spend time discussing them in your own words. Connect your ideas with those of your source’s.

All information written on this page has been excerpted from the official handbook of the IUP writing center:
Hacker, D.
A Writer’s Reference. (2003). (5th ed.). Boston: St. Martin's. 

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