Reporting Language

What happens when you’re writing something – say, a writing assignment for a class – and you have to introduce words or ideas that someone else said or wrote?

You need…

Reporting Language!

Reporting language (or reporting verbs) are used in writing to introduce outside sources to your reader. Whether you are quoting or paraphrasing someone else, you need to introduce it by naming the outside source, and perhaps even his or her credentials or occupation.

For example:

Anthropologist Reginald Smith argues,“Globalization causes unemployment for American workers.”

Author’s last name + a reporting verb


A generic term like “researchers” or “studies” + a reporting verb

Reporting verbs are used to report information in the present tense (as in newspaper articles), like these:



Examples of reporting language:

Smith argues, “…..”

Miller contends that “….”

Studies show….

Researchers claim…

Important!: Reporting language is about conveying the information from your source and not expressing judgement. Reporting verbs are generally neutral.

(FYI: This post does not cover methods of citation, such as APA or MLA, but academic writing does generally require following a proper citation method.)

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