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 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.
2. 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 / INSTITUTIONAL 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 #2: Cautious / tentative language
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 example) Time: 60mins & homework. Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]. TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP