Using Signal Phrases
Whenever you include another person’s idea in your writing, you should credit the source of the information. You can use a signal phrase to "signal" to readers where the information comes from.
An effective signal phrase identifies the title and author and uses a vivid verb to introduce the source's idea.
When writing signal phrases, replace bland verbs (is, was, were) with vivid verbs (describes, insists, reports). Here are some examples of strong verbs:
Your Turn Add signal phrases to the following sentences. Make sure to identify the title and author and use a vivid verb. Reword other parts of the sentence as needed. The first one is done for you.
- It was about how autumn leaves change because they lose their green pigment.
(Title: "Why Do Leaves Change Color?" / Author: Desmond Lee)
The article “Why Do Leaves Change Color?” by Desmond Lee reports that autumn leaves change because they lose their green pigment.
- A boy is stranded in a vast wilderness and must survive.
(Title: Hatchet / Author: Gary Paulsen)
- It was about the unique composition of quasicrystals and how their discovery was controversial.
(Title: "When a Crystal Becomes Nobel Worthy" / Author: Ishmael Crowder)
- Students need to be alert, vocal, and willing to act in order to stop bullying online.
(Title: Standing Up to Cyberbullies / Author: Piper Scott)
Using Signal Phrases by Thoughtful Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at k12.thoughtfullearning.com/minilesson/using-signal-phrases.