Using language with a suitable amount of caution can protect your claims from being easily dismissed. It also helps to point the degree of certainty we have in terms of the data or support.
Compare the following two short texts, (A) and (B). You will notice that even though the two texts are, in essence, saying the thing that is same (B) has an important number of extra language all over claim. A amount that is large of language is performing the purpose of ‘hedging’.
Compare the next two short texts, (A) and (B). What number of differences do you see in the second text? What’s the function/effect/purpose of each and every difference?
You shall probably observe that (B) is much more ‘academic’, but it is important to know why.
(A) Extensive reading helps students to boost their vocabulary.
(B) Research conducted by Yen (2005) seems to indicate that, for an important proportion of students, extensive reading may play a role in an improvement in their active vocabulary. Yen’s (2005) study involved learners aged 15-16 within the UK, although it may be applicable with other groups. However, the study involved an sample that is opt-in which means that the sample students might have been more ‘keen’, or more involved with reading already. It could be helpful to see perhaps the findings differ in a wider sample.
(Please note that Yen (2005) is a fictional reference used only for example).
The table below provides some situations of language to make use of when knowledge that is making.
Look for examples of hedging language in your own reading, to add for this table.
Phrases for Hedging
Language Function with Example Phrases
a minority/majority of
a proportion of
to a point
has the looks of
is similar to
shares characteristics with
appears to be in line with