Signal Verbs

When writing a paper that includes other writers’ voices, it can be helpful to vary the word choices to make your writing more active and descriptive. One way to do this is to use signal verbs, which are verbs that indicate how someone is expressing their ideas. Signal verbs can be used to give variety and context to writing, indicating agreement, disagreement, interaction, point of view, etc. Signal verbs indicate how someone is saying something, rather than just that they are saying it.

The following are example sentences using some of the most common signal verbs to demonstrate how signal verbs create more active sentences and provide stronger context for your readers.

  • The Learning Hub’s tutors agree that writing is challenging but can also be very rewarding.
  • The Learning Hub argues that strong note-taking skills make you a better reader.
  • Tutors claim getting started on a project early will result in a better grade.
  • Ray concluded the help her students received from The Hub improved their writing skills.
  • Students often disagree on the best way to outline a paper, but that’s okay!
  • Students discussed their time management strategies in The Hub’s Academic Skills workshop.
  • The students can explore the various resources available on The Learning Hub’s website.
  • The student’s grades illustrate the benefits of visiting The Learning Hub.
  • The writing tutor observed her student working hard revising her paper.
  • The student says that her writing tutor helped her get an A on her paper.
  • The Learning Hub’s website shows how students can make an appointment with a tutor.
  • The sign out front states The Learning Hub’s business hours and contact information.
  • Professor Ramirez suggests that his students attend Hub workshops for extra credit.
  • The Learning Hub supports the idea that good pre-writing strategies result in a stronger paper.
  • The Learning Hub’s tutors think every student can succeed if they put in the work.

While the previous examples use some of the more common signal verbs, the following is a list of additional words and phrases you can use to make your writing more interesting, specific, and active. However, be sure to look up the definition of any word you don’t know so that you are using the right word/phrase for your context and purpose.


List of additional signal verbs

acknowledges,  addresses,  adds,  admits,  advises,

affirms,  agrees,  allows,  analyzes,  answers,

argues,  ascertains,  asks,  asserts,  assesses,

believes,  categorizes,  charges,  cites,  claims,

comments,  compares,  complains,  concedes,  concludes

concurs,  confirms,  considers,  contrasts,  criticizes,

critiques,  declares,  defines,  delineates,  demonstrates,

describes,  determines,  disagrees,  discovers,  discusses,

disproves,  disputes,  emphasizes,  envisions,  evaluates,

examines,  explains,  explores,  expounds,  expresses,

finds,  furnishes,  identifies,  illustrates,  inquires,

insists,  interprets,  investigates,  iterates,  lists,

maintains,  makes the case,  measures,  notes,  objects,

observes,  offers,  opposes,  points out,  posits,

postulates,  presents,  proposes,  propounds,  proves,

purports,  qualifies,  questions,  rationalizes,  refers to,

refines,  reiterates,  remarks,  replies,  reports,

responds,  reveals,  reviews,  says,  sees,

shows,  speculates,  states,  stipulates,  stresses,

submits,  suggests,  summarizes,  supports,  supposes,

surveys,  synthesizes,  theorizes,  thinks,  traces,

views,  warns,  writes