WRITING / Hedging / Caution phrases 

 Hedging / Caution Phrases

Hedging Language

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 .

Source: http://www.uefap.com/writing/feature/hedge.htm

Hedging Language Exercise

Rewrite these sentences using hedging language.

1.Playing violent video games causes more aggression, bullying, and fighting.

2.Mars is the focus of much scientific study and the foremost planet for human colonisation.

  1. It is assumed that playing violent video games may cause more aggression, bullying, and fighting.


  1. Mars is certainly the focus of much scientific study and often considered the foremost planet for human colonisation.

For a detailed worksheet and another 6 exercises – buy the Hedging #1 download below.


Hedging #1: Cautious language exercises

This worksheet is for teachers or students. It provides an overview of hedging / cautious language and 8 exercises to practise using hedging language to demonstrate caution. (see worksheet example)  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]. / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP



Advanced Academic Hedging Lesson 

Aim: To support students in their understanding and use of hedging (cautious/tentative) language.

Time: 60 minutes plus homework task.

hedging language verbs & adverbs
hedging language probability

 Hedging #2: Cautious / tentative language [new 2020]

This lesson supports students in their understanding & use of cautious / tentative language.The lesson includes six tasks of guided practice & two tasks of freer practice (see worksheet exampleTime: 60mins & homework.  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]. / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP


Institutional Membership Download: here

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