Hedging / Caution Phrases
An important feature of academic writing is the concept of cautious language, often called “hedging” or “vague language“. In other words, it is necessary to make decisions about your stance on a particular subject, or the strength of the claims you are making.
Introductory verbs: e.g. seem, tend, look like, appear to be, think, believe, doubt, be sure, indicate, suggest
Certain lexical verbs: e.g. believe, assume, suggest
Certain modal verbs: e.g. will, must, would, may, might, could
Adverbs of frequency: e.g. often, sometimes, usually
Modal adverbs: e.g. certainly, definitely, clearly, probably, possibly, perhaps, conceivably,
Modal adjectives: e.g. certain, definite, clear, probable, possible
Modal nouns: e.g. assumption, possibility, probability
That clauses e.g. It could be the case that . e.g. It might be suggested that . e.g. There is every hope that .
To-clause + adjective: e.g. It may be possible to obtain . e.g. It is important to develop . e.g. It is useful to study .
Hedging Language Exercise
Rewrite these sentences using hedging language.
1.Playing violent video games causesmore aggression, bullying, and fighting
2.Mars is the focus of much scientific study andthe foremost planet for human colonization.
3. News reports can never be trusted because of media bias, journalist interpretation and agenda setting.
4.The main concerns for the future generations are global food supplies and population growth. Both of these have to be addressed by international leaders within the next five years
5. Most people think that Climate Change is caused by human activities.
6. The key factor of divorce is gender hierarchy and gender inequality.
7. The impact of the UK’s ageing populationwill lead to increased welfare costs. Consequently, this will result in higher taxes and an increased retirement age for younger people.
8.Everybody agrees that the main cause of the financial crash was subprime mortgage lending.