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Synthesis Words and Sentences

This handout should help you develop your synthesis writing style. An effective synthesis requires precise
wording and seamless transitions between sentences.
Here are a few verbs you might use to introduce an authors idea, paraphrase a major concept:
argues
indicates
proposes
believes

underscores
advises
implies
maintains

recommends
speculates
emphasizes
stresses

asserts
claims
suggests
highlights

reveals
points out
concludes
says

Here are other words that you can use to show similarities or differences between texts:
agrees
disagrees
relates
whereas
similarly

conversely
objects
although
however
on the other hand

as opposed to
in agreement with
in opposition to
in accordance with
on the contrary

Since a synthesis essay requires you to show how ideas relate to one another, you need transitions between
sentences to help your reader make connections. You can use some of the following words/sentence structures
to help your reader understand how the different authors ideas relate to one another. The bold words help the
reader follow your ideas and make connections between ideas. Notice how the paraphrase in each of these
examples is simple and concise. Theres no need to be wordy or use exceedingly long quotes. Effective
paraphrase in a synthesis essay helps you explain the major ideas/themes of your sources without losing your
own voice in the process.
Example 1: While Vicks argues that recipients of welfare should undergo mandatory drug testing to save the
government money (21), Smiths study reveals that states who have implemented these drug testing policies
have actually lost money because no state caught enough people abusing the system to warrant expensive,
widespread drug testing (45).
Example 2: York maintains that mandatory minimum sentences keep people in prisons longer than they need to
be, thus incurring further financial burden on the government and its tax payers (3). Similarly, Coy concludes
that lawmakers should abolish mandatory minimum sentences to keep prison costs low (16).
Example 3: Watts suggests that counselors make the clients reality their reality when working with clients in
therapy so that the counselor does not project his or her own preconceived biases onto the client (25). Along
those same lines, Parr stresses that effective therapists are inherently nonjudgmental people who do not try to
force their beliefs onto the client (52).
Example 4: Santorum asserts that while climate change is probably real, America by itself will have zero
impact on solving the global warming problem by itself (65). However, Mann reveals that if the United States
continues to emit greenhouse gases at its current level, our country alone would cause just under a 1 degree
Fahrenheit warming by the end of the century in addition to the 1 degree warming increase we have produced
since the Industrial Revolution (34). Contrary to Santorum, Mann argues, That is hardly zero impact (103).