What Is Hedging in Academic Writing?
“Hedges” or “hedging devices” in modern linguistics are linguistic means that allow the author to distance himself or herself from the propositional content of the utterance, presenting it more as an opinion than a reliable fact. Representatives of the English-speaking academic environment have long drawn attention to the fact that hedging plays a crucial role in scientific discourse, where often we have to deal with subjective interpretations of facts, and therefore it is important to present provisions with maximum accuracy and caution, demonstrating due respect for the opinion of colleagues and opening up a discursive space for discussion.
Many emphasize the need for learning hedging in English courses for professional and academic purposes. In this respect, information on the most frequent lexical hedging devices that can be obtained as a result of case studies of scientific texts in various fields can help you. Most of these studies are carried out on the basis of scientific articles. However, if you don’t have time for studying and researching, we are going to tell you how to use and where to find hedging expressions in academic writing.
Types of Hedging in Academic Writing
- Reporting verbs: suggest, indicate, argue, point to/out, imply, predict, assert, posit, postulate, submit.
- Tentative cognitive verbs: estimate, assess, evaluate, conclude, assume, expect, consider, deem, feel, interpret, perceive, regard as, think, conjecture.
- Tentative bunch verbs: appear, tend, seem, look.
- Indefinite adjectives: large, significant, substantial, major, small, considerable, central, modest, sizable, main, negligible, principal, pronounced, reasonable.
- Adjectives for probability: likely, consistent with, possible, plausible, attributable to, potential, apparent, prone to, suggestive, unlikely, preferred, alternative, not inconsistent with.
- Adjectives of indefinite frequency: average, pervasive, typical, widespread, common, general, usual.
- Adjectives for approximation: close to, approximate, proximate, back-of-the-envelope.
Adverbs and adverbials
- Indefinite adverbs and adverbials: rather, significantly, primarily, substantially, largely, mainly, partly, mostly, quite, widely, considerably, partially, relatively, substantively, in part.
- Approximative adverbs and adverbials: approximately, around, nearly, almost, about, over, roughly, more than, at least, on the order of.
- Indefinite adverbs and adverbials of frequency: often, typically, frequently, generally, commonly, in general, sometimes, usually.
- Adverbs of probability: potentially, likely, possibly, apparently, arguable, perhaps, probably, theoretically.
- Tentative cognitive nouns: estimate, hypothesis, assumption, estimation, interpretation, concept, assessment, conclusion, view, belief, idea, scenario.
- Assertive nouns: implication, prediction, argument.
- Nouns of probability: probability, potential, possibility, trend, likelihood, odds, prospect, tendency.
Quantifiers: many, some, most, little, much, part of, few, a number of.
Modal verbs: may, can, could, might, should, would.
Hedging in Academic Writing: Examples
In order to understand how to use hedges, let’s consider some examples of hedging in academic writing.
- I suggest that the world’s first fast food restaurants were opened in the USA.
- I expect standard phrases when talking to my mom.
- I feel that they will not raise my salary.
- He perceives interior design as an exciting experience.
- I thought that I would say goodbye to her earlier than she did to me.
- It seems it was a huge house where dinner doesn’t end.
- But strange people suddenly come to visit, who look exactly like members of this family.
- They have a large collection of Hollywood blockbusters.
- The dog was rather small.
- Uniqueness plays the central role.
- There are main reasons of destructive relationships that can negatively affect your life.
- A possible way out is to help her recover.
- The author of this text is the blogger who seems to know absolutely everything about average people.
Adverbs and adverbials
- It is rather obvious that every year, October 31, on the eve of All Saints Day, the western world celebrates Halloween.
- This legend influences mainly on them.
- Mostly, children are afraid of huge dogs.
- Despite this hypothesis, I prefer to work at home.
- I believe the idea to spend more time with friends is great.
- Tom presents an important conclusion about it.
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