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Words to use in your writing

What writers do
Describing what academic writers do
claim
propose
put forward
suggest
advocate
recommend
argue that
hold that
question
take issue with
suspect
doubt
query
introduce
survey
outline
remark that
note that
point to
refer to
point out that
support
back
adopt
accept
agree with
approve
concur with
espouse
entertain
flirt with
toy with the notion that
explain
explicate
give an account of
formulate
elaborate
spell out
expound
unpack
describe
depict
formulate
portray
describe
sketch
evoke
illustrate

Rob McCormack

emphasise
concentrate on
focus on
highlight
stress
insist
analyse
examine
explore
assess
dissect
consider
interrogate
probe
over-state
exaggerate
is obsessed with
generalise
extrapolate
extend
sum up
summarise
recapitulate
acknowledge
admit
concede
accept
allow
reject
argue against
disagree with
deny
contradict
assume
take for granted
presuppose
*shows
*demonstrates
*proves
*justifies
*substantiates
*accounts for
argue for
* indicates that
you think the
writer really has
succeeded. For
example they
really did prove
or demonstrate
something

talks about
uses the term " ..."
wrote that
remarks that
writes:
has little to say
about
notes that
allude to
hint at
imply
suggest
mention
refer to
cite
quote
bring up
adduce
invoke
paraphrase
reveals
uncovers
exposes
shows
illuminates
makes clear
clarifies
elucidates
sees that
discerns
examines
uncovers
discovers
unearths
finds
elaborates
presents
captures
highlights

describes
sketches
portrays
depicts
pictures
conceptualises
models
documents
frames
envisages ... as
figures ... as
reads ... as
construes ... as
interprets ... as
represents ... as
envisages ... as
outlines
captures
delineates
sees ... as
thinks of it ... as
views ... as
looks on ... as
describes ... as
regards ... as
reply to
respond to
expose
answer
dispute
object to
criticise
undermine
ask
pose the question
raise the question
raise the issue

influenced by
influenced by
follows
draws on
embraced
assimilates
repeats
relies on
based on
develops
takes up
restates
revives
adopts
espouses
appropriates
continues
is indebted to
inherits
is in the tradition of
adheres to
turns back to
modeled on
returns to
resurrects
appeals to
Influenced
inspired
persuaded
provoked
aroused
impressed
stamped
promoted
fostered
foreshadowed
was a precursor of
shaped
pointed the way towards
filtered down

distinguishes
separates
demarcates
separates out
isolates
untangles
unravels

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

Describing what a writer does (1)


Claims that

Overlooks

Picks out

argues that
claims that
suggests that
wants to suggest that
is committed to the view that
takes the view that
takes a stand
declares that
advocates
defends
tries to show that
thinks that
advances the view that
theorises that
contends that
asserts that
maintains that
espouses the notion that
affirms that
insists that
puts forward the view that
postulates that
upholds the view that
recommends that
supports the view that
backs the view that
takes seriously the view that
is a proponent of the view that
adopts the view that
makes the point that
proposes the view that
concurs with As view that
endorses As view that
follows As view that
reiterates As view that
holds that
is obsessed with
is preoccupied with
tries to make a case for
tries to persuade us that
attempts to establish that
attempts to show that

does not address


forgets that
doesn't treat
doesn't consider
does not mention
fails to register the fact that
loses sight of
glosses over
fails to see that
misses the point
does not grapple with
has very little to say about
side-steps
fails to notice that
passes over
neglects
doesn't realise
deals cursorily with
ignores
fails to see
doesn't touch on
is oblivious to
excludes
fails to take account of
doesn't take into account
underestimates the significance of
ignores the evidence showing
doesn't mention
doesn't capture
forgets that
passes over
leaves out
misses
does not speak of
omits
fails to see
refuses to deal with
remains silent on
confuses
fails to distinguish
mistakes
conceals
obscures
veils
distorts
misrepresents
blurs
equivocates
glosses over
conflates

focuses on
refers to
attends to
mentions
identifies
designates
deals with
is concerned with
looks at
speaks of
speaks about
addresses
points to
points out that
adduces
reminds us that
calls our attention to
directs attention to
makes much of
singles out
gives prominence to
stresses
insists on
emphasises
pays close attention
looks closely at
illustrates
goes into the details of
fleshes out
spells out
delineates
turns our attention to
probes
picks out
concentrates on
is mainly concerned with
considers in detail
foregrounds
accentuates

Rob McCormack

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

Describing what writers do (2)


Disagrees with

how a writer argues a case

is suspicious of
is sceptical of
is uneasy with
criticises
is aware of the dangers of
doubts
has reservations about
objects to
objected that
opposes
rejects
challenges
questions
seeks to undermine
wants to expose
sharply disagrees with
critically examines
debunks
sees through
denies
attacks
charges that
protests against
replies
dismisses
calls into question
breaks with
goes beyond
refutes
refuses to accept
shatters
takes issue with
contradicts
answers
disputes
contests
discounts
breaks with the notion that
tries to reduce
denies
disavows
accuses of
alleges that

tends to analyse in isolation from


attempts to steer between the dangers
of
introduces the concept of
ends up with
tries to deal with
offers this definition
avoids
situates within the context of
poses the question
she goes on to assert
which leads him to
provides a way of linking
seeks a truce
succumbs to
commences with the proposition that
begins by discussing
wants to avoid
to buttress his interpretation
resorts to
wrestles with
tactic
strategy
move
outflanks
thinly disguises
diverts attention away from
falls back on
deploys the argument that
handles
intervenes in
explains away

Rob McCormack

response
response to
reaction to
way of coping with
way of handling
rejoinder to
answer to
reply to
retort to
rebuttal of
grapple with
confrontation with

idea of
theory of
interpretation of
notion
schema
concept
view
account of
vision
metaphor
picture
sketch
image
sense
figure
model
conception
conceptualisation
portrayal
characterisation
depiction
understanding

approach
paradigm
culture
ethos
tradition
ideology
discourse

way of speaking
vocabulary
terminology
language
syntax
code
reading
construction
construal
grammar
language game
form of life
voice

the claim that


proposition that
proposal that
thesis that
claim that
suggestion that
point that
hypothesis that
statement that
belief that
argument that
representation of
description of
point of view
perspective
angle
slant
framework
framing
standpoint
stance
location
viewpoint
point of view
position
assumptions
set of concerns
attitude

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

Summarising another writers view


Of course
Admittedly
Certainly
It is true that
There is no doubt that
Obviously
Even though
Despite
At first glance it might seem that
A quick reading might suggest that
At first blush it might seem that
At first it might appear that
initially it might seem that
A superficial reading might suggest that
At one level
On the surface
However
Still
Yet
Nonetheless
Nevertheless
In any case
For all that
In spite of
After all
All the same
On the other hand
By contrast
omitting
Briefly,
Without going into details,
Briefly put,
For our purposes,
More to the point
Above all
In the final analysis
For the moment it will suffice to
I shall restrict myself to
I want to bracket the question of
Except for
Leaving aside
Apart from

regarding matter
Regarding
As for
As regards
When considering
In reference to
Concerning
With regard to
bearing on
With reference to
In the case of

Essentially,
Usually,
Naturally,
Not surprisingly,
Surprisingly,
Ironically,
Happily,
Certainly,
Eventually,
Finally,
Similarly,
Obviously,
Typically,
Even more importantly,
notably,
worse,
Inevitably,
Significantly,
Ultimately,
Strictly speaking,
Specifically,
Briefly,
Put differently,
Yet precisely,
Logically,
Initially,
Superficially,
Generally,
Alternatively,
Presumably,
Generally speaking,
Consequently,
Undeniably
Undoubtedly

However, ...
Yet, ...
Even so, ...
But, ...
Nevertheless, ...
in fact, ......
what this leaves out is the fact that.....
in practice, .....
more important is the fact that ......
more central is the fact that ......
more to the point is the fact that ....
what needs to be noted is the fact that .....
this contradicts the fact that ......
this neglects the fact that.........
this ignores the crucial fact that ........
this would be true only if .....
all this amounts to is the claim that .....
it should not be concluded from this that .......
there are other ways of looking at this. For example, ....
it is significant that .......
this is of less importance than ........
it should not be concluded from this that .....
this line of argument leads to .....
this would imply that ......
this obscures the importance of ....
this underestimates the significance of ....
this underestimates the importance of .....
this would create more problems than it solves.
this must be counter-balanced by the fact that......
this does not mean that.......
the assumption underlying this is that
the consequence of this would be that
this implies that ..
if we turn our attention to the .........
if we take into account the fact that .....
underlying this is the more important issue of .....
this is an unusual case. A more typical case would be ......
this is too vague. It would be more accurate to say that ......
this contradicts the fact that ......
this ignores the crucial fact that ........
this presupposes that .......
from the point of view of......

It is worth noting
It is important to recall that
Not surprisingly
It is important to note that
It is worth pointing out that

Rob McCormack

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

Meta-discourse
Meta-discourse means: talking directly to the reader about what they are reading.
A reader needs to know the relationship between what they are about to read and
what they have already read. This relationship has to be clearly sign-posted in
your writing. You should use meta-discourse (talk directly to the reader) at the
beginning of sentences so the reader knows beforehand how to interpret what is
coming.

Yet...
But...
Since...
In contemplating this...
There is ....
But it is not ...
The consequence has been that ....
Essentially ...
In itself ...
None of ...
To this end ...
We have seen ...
What needs stressing is that ...
It might be thought that ...
It is often argued that ...
It is a widespread assumption that ...
It might seem that ...
Initially it might seem plausible that ...
At first glance ...
It has become fashionable to say ...
Of course ...
But even ...
Perhaps ...
A word, finally, on ...
Obviously ...
The view suggested here ...
Moreover ...
Not only ...
And just as ... , so too ...
Hence ...
In theory ... , in practice, however, ...
That is, ...
The theory was that ...
More generally, ...
Indeed ...
In so far as ...
To say that ... is true, but misses that point that ...
Whatever the actual ... the fact remains that ...
But the point is that ....
All that is being argued is that ...
So, for instance, ...
On this view ...
Instead ...
This last point leads directly to the next more serious objection that .....
Typically ...
Moreover ...
One way of summarising this would be to say that .....
Thus ...
While ...
Now ...
Meanwhile ...
But whereas for ...., for .......

Rob McCormack

Contrasting this situation ....


A crucial distinction ...
As a result ...
But what has to be noticed is that ...
In particular ...
Nevertheless ...
Above all ...
It is clearly not ...
Again, ...
In short, ...
It is just as convincing to argue that ...
On of the reasons why ...
Admittedly ...
But even though ...
Likewise ...
More to the point ...
Once more the facts speak plainly ...
In ......'s phrase, ...
Basically ....
And, since ...
On the other hand, ...
Especially significant is the fact that ...
By contrast, ...
Characteristically, ...
To take a simple example, ...
It is true that ...
In this sense ...
The astonishing thing is ...
It would be an exaggeration to say that ...
By contrast ...
By comparison ...
This meant above all ...
It is an interesting fact that ...
But here again ...
In that sense ...
Seen in this light, ...
A second perspective ...
Now, it might seem ...
At any rate ...
It seems fair to say that ...
Against this, one could argue that ...
Certainly ...
Essentially ....
Here ..

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

What you are talking about


fact

trend

context

amounts to

situation
state of affairs
phenomenon
event
mechanism
process
structure
role
demands
principle
level
force
network
individual
type
case
category
element
totality
system
structure
boundary
parameter
side-effect

development
tendency
direction
tension
tenet
theme
motifs
point

circumstance
occasion
condition
juncture
locus
context
background
setting
backdrop
situation
space
place
region
sphere
ambit
site
environment
atmosphere
climate
location
stage
moment
period
intersection
time
mood
milieu
arena
terrain
locale
epoch

approximates to
mimics
passes itself off as
in effect
functions as
has proved to be
counts as
is supposed to be
takes the place of
stand in for
replaces
substitutes for

elements

features
properties
attributes
marks
parts
characteristics
aspects
dimensions
respects
senses
problems
strands
facets
sides
spheres
sectors
areas
planes
levels
ingredients
components
factors

impulse

need
drive
imperative
motive
goal
problem

discrepancy
dilemma
scenario
exemplar
field

subject
topic
choice
status

is an instance of
is a case of
is an example of
is a sample of
is a paradigm of

Rob McCormack

a form of
a sort of
a species of
a version of
a variant of
a type of
an inflection of

could be called

has been treated as


is usually seen as
should perhaps be interpreted as
might usefully be taken as
might loosely be called

issue

a question of
what is at issue
argument
claim
contention
reason
theory
discussion
controversy
debate
exchange
question

what is called a

treated as
viewed as
labeled as
designated as
thought of as
taken to be
perceived as
seen as
classified as
defined as
portrayed as
depicted as
considered as
usually considered as
interpreted as
referred to as
taken as

conclusion
principle
move

is an illustration of

a kind of

step
consideration
cause
influence
explanation
construct

tries to

purports to
attempts to
wants to
looks to
hopes to
wishes to
intends to
sought to
is concerned to
managed to

had the capacity to


was able to

expression of

reflection of
symptom of
sign of

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

How typical is it?


important

occasionally

deep-rooted

of itself

essential
central
crucial
primary
major
key
fundamental
basic
critical
substantive
underlying
core
significant
decisive

randomly
sometimes
fortuitously
arbitrarily
by chance
fitfully
optional
contingent
arbitrary
by happenstance
by chance
by coincidence
conjuncture
gratuitous
simply happened to be

dominant
serious
chief
pervasive
enduring
determining
integral
prime

rarely

pivotal
seminal

in itself
per se
by its very nature
on its own
for its own sake
inherent in
necessarily
inevitably
essentially
inherently
by its very nature
simply from the fact that
in its own right
integral to
internal to
characteristic of
It is precisely
It is no accident that
It is no coincidence that
of necessity
irreversible
entirely
the very itself
alone
automatic
as such
ipso facto
per se
of the essence of
always
every
all
universally
unequivocally
constant
endemic

genuine

positive
suitable
neutral
necessary
vital

usually

generally
mainly
ordinarily
In general
In the main
nearly always
for the most part
almost always
invariably
largely
As a rule
in the main
Characteristically
Invariably
typically

Predominantly
Mostly
Often
regularly
Normally
recurrent
the bulk of
often the case
recurring
persistently
typical
normal
natural
almost

to all intents and purposes


virtually
adds up to
approaches
tantamount to
goes a long way towards
relatively
overall

Rob McCormack

unusual
exceptional
sometimes
seldom
infrequent
coincidental
almost never
unlikely

distinctive

characteristic
unique
indispensable
representative
paradigmatic
pre-eminent
predominant
significant

exceptional

aberrant
anomalous
unusual
uncharacteristic
not typical
incongruous

prominent

marked
salient
outstanding
notable
dramatic

exception

oddity
discrepant
discrepancy
exception
anomaly
rarity
deviant
abnormal
atypical
unnatural
eccentric
curious
out of keeping
exception
unusual
uncharacteristic
not typical
anomalous

exactly

perfectly
properly
intensely
specifically
precisely
in full
simply

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

Explaining why things happen


You analyse or account for something by examining:
- causes
- underlying structure
- function within a larger system
- intentions or purposes
- the significance or meaning
- classifying as a member of a group
- situating within a context
causes

triggered

makes possible

necessarily

caused
led to
influenced
produced
resulted in
created
inspired
generated
hardened into
brought about
contributed to
gave rise to
initiated
inaugurated
is a source of
yielded
unleashed
fostered
spawned
engendered
shaped
facilitated
permitted
allowed
created the conditions for
encouraged
gave scope to

sparked off
induced
touched off
precipitated
catalysed
kindled
ignited
was a catalyst for

lets
allows
permits
creates the conditions for
renders possible
conducive to
enables
forms
sustains
was responsible for
forms the basis for
makes possible
provides
engenders
is a condition for
is a precondition for
is a prerequisite for
is indispensable for
is a necessary condition
for

inevitably
inescapably
ineluctably
had to
must
cannot help but
is dominated by

developed into

evolved into
merges as
grew into
unfolded into
sprang up
erupted
changed into
became
made possible

paved the way for


made an opening for
cleared the way for
created the conditions for
prepared the ground for
laid the foundations for
laid the groundwork for
prepared the way for
created a climate for
cleared a space for

Rob McCormack

helped
focused

gave coherence to
mobilised
organised
crystallised
channelled
particularised
condensed
fused
coordinated
harmonised
integrated
gave expression to
was a vehicle for
orchestrated
gave added impetus to
plays a part in
facilitated
contributed to
fostered
encouraged
gave scope to
accelerated
intensified
reinforced
helped
assisted
supported
contributed to
triggered
nurtured
nourished
provided a context for
enabled
fortified
rejuvenated
propped up

makes

necessitates
imposes
obliges
compels
leaves no choice
entails
implies
guarantees
constrains
limits
antecedent to
ensures
dominates

cause and effect

... is a consequence of
....is a result of
.... is an effect of
.... is produced by
... is caused by
... influenced by
.... is affected by
... is an upshot of
... is an outcome of
... is a repercussion of
.... stems from
... arises out of
... springs from
... grow out of
... is a source of
... derives from
...is shaped by

needs

requires
depends on
demands
cannot function without
restricted to
presupposes
is predicated on
is grounded on
conforms to

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

Relationships between ideas or facts


compatible with

conflicts with

has affinities with


correlates with
congruent with
related to
corresponds with
connected with
parallels
homologous with
in harmony with
in accord with
inseparable from
closely associated with
in combination with
merged with
associated with
coupled with
supported by
cross-fertilised with
linked with
akin to
goes together with
blends with
inextricably bound to
concomitant with
common
includes
join forces
reinforce one another
closely connected with
intersects with
is linked to
mutually support one another
welded together
interrelated
interlocking
alliance
affinity

contradicts
opposes
undermines
clashes with
inconsistent with
discordant with
distinct from
in tension with
does not fit easily into
precludes
competes with
rivals
diametrically opposed to
excludes
antagonistic to
alien
incommensurable
hard to reconcile
not to be equated with
gulf
in contradiction with
mutually exclusive
limits
constrains
sets a boundary
juxtapose against
tension
Evidence

reintegrate
is tied in with
interact
mixed up with
entangled with
intertwined with
tangled
involved in
forms part of

suggests
indicates
points to
shows
demonstrates
proves
justifies the claim that
accounts for
explains
provides evidence for
implies
leads to
provides grounds for
confirms
lends weight to
helps answer
sheds light on
illuminates
serves as a clue to

share

focuses on

is common to both
conjointly
corresponds to
correlative
isomorphic with

focuses on
centres on
pivots on
revolves around
matrix
turns on

unite

Rob McCormack

separate
distinctive
concentrated
unique
precise
homogeneous
specific
self-sufficient
tangible
single
differentiated
autonomous
distinct
self-subsistent
determinate
irreducible
impervious
singular
blended
diffuse
implicit
tangible
fragmentary
contradictory
episodic
diversified
complex
complicated
suffused
heterogeneous
shifting
ephemeral
repressed
displaced
ambiguous
precarious
vacillates
paradoxical
indiscriminately
undifferentiated
vulnerable
turbulent
difference

distinction
duality
dichotomy
conflict
contradiction
opposition
polarity
division
collision
clash
struggle
alternative
impasse

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

Something is a symptom of something else


shows

underlies

blocked

means

reveals
indicates
discloses
shows up
means
represents
symbolises
embodies
expresses
mirrors
exemplifies
reflects
shows evidence of
manifests
is an extension of
is rooted in
brings out
gives voice to
bears the trace of
is an index of
marks
provides a clue to
discloses
conveys
signifies
designates
refers to
is emblematic of
illustrates
epitomizes
condenses
distills
crystallises
encapsulates
articulates
evokes
mediates
is directly related to
an expression of
a reflection of
a symptom of
a sign of
a manifestation of
a vehicle for
a symbol of
an indication of
a focus for
permeated by
dominated by
exacerbated by
an indication of
an example of
a clue to

ensures
governs
necessarily entails
organises
holds together
determines
structures
controls
dominates
shapes
underpins
lies behind
constitutes
subsumes
manipulates
pulls the strings
uses
subordinates
subjugates

obstructed
prevented
excluded
obstructed
restricted
repressed
eliminated
occluded
closed off
cut short
undermined
undercut
vitiates
destroyed
wiped out
distorted

employs
deploys
uses
via

hides

conceals
obscures
barrier
obstacle

Rob McCormack

for the purposes of


in order to

crisis

upheaval
crisis
turning-point
critical juncture
break
escalate
turbulent
vulnerable
overcame

exemplifies

renders
is subject to
is a necessary product of
organised around
emanating from
vehicle for
founded on
reproduces
derived from
translated into
transmits
modeled on
is a function of
follows from
is an outcome of
is driven by
exercised through
built into
embedded in
inscribed in
depends on
is grounded in
functions according to the
law of
a set of rules
a syntax' a code
a language
a mechanism
a law
tends to

prone to
leans towards
inclined towards

10

Student Learning Services, Victoria University

Words to use in your writing

How things appear or seem


ambiguous

resembles

ambivalent
complex
problematic
fluctuating
permeable
equivocal

bears a resemblance to
synonymous
akin to
analogous
the equivalent of
equates with
equivalent to
comparable

unclear

obscure
invisible
hidden
opaque
concealed
blatant

clearly apparent
obvious
glaring
salient
transparent
perceptible
fairly straightforward
manifest
spurious

professed
ostensible
seeming
illusory
semblance
in the guise of
masquerades as
dressed up as
deceptive
distortions
supposed
facade
chimerical
absence
without
lacking
devoid of
lacks
minus
does not have
does not possess
owing to the absence of

Rob McCormack

unlike
meaningfulness

it makes no sense to speak of


it is clear that
pointless
there is no point in trying
meaningless
unthinkable
coherence
relevance

relevant
pertinent
irrelevant
extraneous
has nothing to do with
scope

encompasses
includes
ranges over
covers
draws in
incorporates
wide-ranging
extensive
widely
vast
varied

11

evaluation
dubious
worthless
inadequate
has no weight
carries no weight
deluded
distorted
misleading
biased
crude
vague
unsupported
erroneous
meaningless
unworkable
nominally
obsolete
arbitrary
fruitless
subjective
obsessive
illogical
ill-conceived
trivial
irrational
wrong
inadequate
controversial
one-sided
plausible
unsubstantiated
unsophisticated
shallow
unclear
eccentric
unsystematic
sterile
false
unscientific
unreliable
unwarranted
dogmatic
obscure
extremist
peripheral
unimportant
unsatisfactory
untenable
invalid
doubtful
contentious
ambiguous
partial
exaggerated
muddled
far-fetched
purely rhetorical
facile
shortcomings

Student Learning Services, Victoria University