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Explore the helpful verbs you can use when citing academic work

In many kinds of academic writing you'll need to cite work that you've read.

As long as the source is properly acknowledged citation can be done through direct quotation, or by paraphrasing or summarising what an author has written. But however you decide to use a citation, you may need to use a reporting verb to integrate it into your text.

In the following case, we've used the verb 'to find':

Malley (1998, p.26) found that study skills are increasingly used by Higher Education institutions.

Verbs you can use

This table shows useful reporting verbs for citing others. These verbs are not all interchangeable — make sure you've read the source carefully and clearly understand the author’s claim(s) before choosing a verb. It's up to you to report others’ work accurately.


Reporting something the author did Reporting something the author stated Reporting the author's opinion
Acceptable  Stronger Acceptable Stronger
  • observe
  • discover
  • notice
  • demonstrate
  • find
  • report
  • describe
  • determine
  • discern
  • show
  • assess
  • study
  • analyse
  • calculate
  • examine
  • investigate
  • identify
  • prove
  • establish
  • conclude
  • comment
  • describe
  • discuss
  • point out
  • note
  • remark
  • write
  • affirm
  • emphasise
  • stress
  • maintain
  • stipulate
  • explain
  • conclude
  • clarify
  • identify
  • accept
  • believe
  • consider
  • view
  • see
  • question
  • query
  • think
  • suggest
  • propose
  • suspect
  • speculate
  • argue
  • assert
  • claim
  • contend
  • deny
  • recommend
  • reject
  • advocate
  • maintain
  • conclude

If you're unsure about the exact meaning of any of the verbs in the table above you should consult a dictionary which shows the word's usage, such as the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary.

Do you want help with citations and using reporting verbs?

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