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GEN BUS 360: Workplace Writing and Communication (Spring 2022)

Attributive Tags or Signal Phrases

Attributive tags, which are also called signal phrases, alert the reader that you are beginning to paraphrase or quote a source. Attributive tags also demonstrate the authority of your sources; giving proper credit to your sources demonstrates careful research and distinguishes your ideas from those of your source authors.

 

Approaches to Attribution

The following sentences show different ways of providing attribution in APA; attributive tags are bolded:

 

According to Kanter’s (2016) New York Times article, the E.U. plans to nearly double military spending in the next year.

A recent New York Times article reported that the E.U. plans to nearly double military spending in the next year (Kanter, 2016).

James Kanter (2016) explained that the E.U. plans to nearly double military spending in the next year.

 

Verbs for Attributive Tags

When your tag or signal phrase includes a verb, choose one appropriate for the context. Is your source arguing a point, making an observation, reporting a fact, drawing a conclusion, refuting an argument, or stating a belief? By choosing an appropriate verb, you make your source’s stance clear. In APA, sources are usually referred to in past tense. 

 

acknowledged

commented

endorsed

reasoned

added

compared

granted

refuted

admitted

confirmed

illustrated

rejected

agreed

contended

implied

reported

argued

declared

insisted

responded

asserted

denied

noted

suggested

believed

disputed

observed

thought

claimed

emphasized

pointed out

wrote

Content Credit

Content on this page was created by the Business Communication team at the Wisconsin School of Business.