Say What?: Verbs of Attribution

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Seattle 6.jpgIt's always important to give proper credit by citing your sources. Generally, in academic writing you will be following the author and date format inside parentheses. Yet you may have already introduced the source, and want to refer to it again in another sentence later in your paper. You can use what's known as a verb of attribution to connect the source material to the statement. Below are common verbs of attribution.

                         acknowledge, add, admit, advise, agree, allow, analyze, assert,

                         believe,  charge, claim, comment, compare, concede, conclude,

                         consider, contend, criticize, declare, describe, disagree, discuss,

                         dispute, emphasize, endorse, explain, express, find, grant, illustrate,

                         insist, interpret, list, maintain, note, object, offer, point out, reason,

                         refute, reject, reply, report, respond, reveal, see, show, speculate,

                         state, suggest, suppose, think, write

These verbs are also useful for non-academic citing. Think about it: magazines and newspapers use sources, but you never see them inside parentheses. Here's an example from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on January 14, 2011.

Fruit flies show how to simplify computer nets
By David Templeton,

And you thought the fruit fly was just a pesky little insect that likes rotten apples.                           

Actually the fly, or at least its nervous system, has inspired a better way to organize and operate computer networks, especially wireless sensor networks.

Ziv Bar-Joseph, a computational biologist at Carnegie Mellon University, was studying the fly when it struck him that its nervous system of hairlike structures that allow it to feel and see was not only doing what computer networks try to do but did it more simply.

A study by Dr. Bar-Joseph and five co-authors, published today in the journal Science, reveals that the fly's nervous system serves as an efficient model for organizing numerous cells to operate in unison to accomplish prescribed tasks. The group used that knowledge to write a computer algorithm, or program, to better operate computer networks.

Read more:


Notice the bibliographic information of the article written by Dr. Ziv Bar-Joseph is given, but it's within the text of the article, and it doesn't include the actual name of the article in Science. However, a reader with an interest could go and find the specific article in a library if he/she wanted to. And what better library could you got to than the Seattle Public Library. Hence the photo I took during my trip to the AMS Conference last week. (It's all about the photo!)

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