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Reporting Verbs

Explore different ways of referring to literature and foregrounding your voice.

Reporting verbs help you introduce the ideas or words of others as paraphrase or quotation from scholarly literature. Always accompanied by a reference, they indicate where you’re drawing on other people’s work to build your own argument. They also indicate your stance (agree, disagree, etc) on the scholarship you’re describing, highlighting your critical contribution. There are lots of reporting verbs to choose from and, depending on the context, they might be used to convey more than one stance, so you’ll notice that some appear in more than one category. 

The following reporting verbs have been organised according to the critical stances they signal.

Neutral description of what the text says

Reporting verbs

  • Observes 
  • Describes 
  • Discusses 
  • Reports 
  • Outlines 
  • Remarks 
  • States 
  • Goes on to say that 
  • Quotes that 
  • Says 
  • Mentions 
  • Articulates 
  • Writes  
  • Relates  
  • Conveys 


Abrams mentions that culture shock has “long been misunderstood as a primarily psychological phenomenon” (34)  


Chakrabarty outlines the four stages of mitosis (72-3)

Acceptance as uncontested fact, having critiqued it

Reporting verbs

  • Recognises 
  • Clarifies 
  • Acknowledges 
  • Concedes 
  • Accepts 
  • Refutes 
  • Uncovers 
  • Admits 
  • Demonstrates 
  • Highlights 
  • Illuminates 
  • Supports  
  • Concludes 
  • Elucidates 
  • Reveals 
  • Verifies  


Abrams refutes the idea that culture shock is a “primarily psychological phenomenon” (34)


Chakrabarty demonstrates that mitosis actually occurs over five stages (73)

Recognition that this is one perspective on or interpretation of an issue or conclusion, and others might be possible

Reporting verbs

  • Argues 
  • Reasons 
  • Maintains 
  • Contends 
  • Hypothesises 
  • Proposes 
  • Theorises  
  • Feels 
  • Considers 
  • Asserts 
  • Disputes 
  • Advocates 
  • Opines  
  • Thinks  
  • Implies  
  • Posits 


Abrams contends that culture shock is socially produced (38)


Chakrabarty hypothesises that metaphase is a more complex process than previously thought (77)

Agreement with that perspective, interpretation or conclusion

Reporting verbs

  • Shows 
  • Illustrates  
  • Points out 
  • Proves 
  • Finds 
  • Explains 
  • Agrees 
  • Confirms 
  • Identifies 
  • Evidences  
  • Attests  


Abrams points out that culture shock is a “stress response mechanism” (34)


Chakrabarty proves that mitosis is irreversible, once triggered (80)

Disagreement with that perspective, interpretation or conclusion

Reporting verbs

  • Believes 
  • Claims 
  • Justifies 
  • Insists  
  • Assumes  
  • Alleges 
  • Denies 
  • Speculates  
  • Disregards 
  • Supposes  
  • Conjectures  
  • Surmises 


Abrams’ analysis disregards the neurochemical factors that contribute to culture shock (36)


Chakrabarty speculates that “metaphase is the most important stage of mitosis” (78)

Slight reservations held - probably true but being cautious

Reporting verb

  • Notes 
  • Asserts 
  • Suggests 
  • Challenges 
  • Critiques  
  • Emphasises 
  • Declares 
  • Indicates 
  • Comments 
  • Upholds  


Abrams asserts that theories of culture shock have moved away from psychological explanations.


Chakrabarty emphasises the role of metaphase within mitosis (78)