Active verbs when analyzing, evaluating, or describing the work of an author or critic
Active Verbs for Critical Essays (57b)
Try the following active verbs when analyzing, evaluating, or describing the work of an author or critic.
Try to avoid words like “seems” or “appears” as they express a lack of critical confidence. Avoid the verb “to be” (is, are, was, were, etc.).
Choosing an appropriate “signal” verb demonstrates an understanding of an author’s purpose and an evaluation of an author’s effectiveness
Active or “signal” verbs for evaluating sources and analyzing literature:
acknowledges leaves us with
asserts points to
expresses tells us
implies wants to
Source: Harnack, Andrew, and Eugene Kleppinger. online! a reference guide to using internet sources. New York: St. Martin’s, 1996.
Updated 5/20/02 KM
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