The University of Sydney
The Write Site
Home Glossary Site map Help
Module 1: Grammar Module 2: Sources Module 3: Structure
Home » Module 2 Unit 4: Reporting evidence » Strategy 1: Using evaluative verbs - page 1/5
Unit 1:  About sourcesUnit 2: Evaluating sourcesUnit 3: Quoting & paraphrasingUnit 4: Reporting evidenceUnit 5: Referencing

Language strategies: Endorsing & distancing

Strategy 1: Using evaluative verbs

English has a large range of verbs that are used to report what other people say, write and think. There are neutral verbs and evaluative verbs.

Neutral verbs

Some verbs are called neutral because they do not convey a particular attitude to what is being reported; they imply neither endorsement of nor distance from the evidence or views being reported.

Some common neutral verbs:

say, state, report, inform, refer to, comment on, mention, conclude

Evaluative verbs

Some verbs are not neutral. They carry a particular meaning which conveys the writer's attitude to the evidence reported. This attitude is communicated to the reader, which helps the reader to understand what weight, authority, accuracy or relevance the writer attaches to the source material being reported - i.e. if, or how strongly, the writer endorses it.

Some common evaluative verbs:

suggest, imply, indicate, support, point out, establish, show, prove, confirm, validate


think and try

Read the sentences and locate a neutral verb that is used to report evidence in each one. As you decide, click on your choice. If you are correct, the verb will be highlighted.

Now, locate and click on the evaluative verbs in the next two sentences. This time, take a moment to read the associated comment when your choice is confirmed.