Hedges ( just ) - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Hedges (just)

from English Grammar Today

We use hedges to soften what we say or write. Hedges are an important part of polite conversation. They make what we say less direct. The most common forms of hedging involve tense and aspect, modal expressions including modal verbs and adverbs, vague language such as sort of and kind of, and some verbs.

Tense and aspect

I wondered if I could have a word with you? (less direct and more polite than Could I have a word with you?)

Modal expressions

The answer could be that the trees have some sort of disease. (less direct than The answer is that …)

Maybe we should have a word with him about it? (less direct than We should or we must have a word with him about it.)

This is possibly the best performance in the Olympics.

Vague language

It’s sort of difficult to say. (less direct than It’s difficult to say)

Could you just post this letter for me?

Verbs (feel)

Some verbs (such as feel, suppose, reckon) can be used to hedge personal statements, that is, to make personal statements less direct:

We feel he should let them decide whether to buy the flat. (less direct than He should let them decide …)

I reckon that’s the best answer to the problem. (less direct than That’s the best answer to the problem.)

Hedges in academic writing

We use certain types of hedging in writing, especially in academic writing, so that statements don’t seem to rely simply on personal opinion.

We often use structures with it in the passive such as it is argued that and it has been agreed that:

It has been generally agreed that these new video phone technologies will transform everyday life. (a more cautious and less personal statement than I agree that …)

(“Hedges ( just )” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
by ,
May 25, 2016
by Liz Walter Enough is a very common word, but it is easy to make mistakes with it. You need to be careful about its position in a sentence, and the prepositions or verb patterns that come after it. I’ll start with the position of enough in the sentence. When we use it with a noun,

Read More 

Word of the Day

ultraviolet

Ultraviolet light has a wavelength that is after the violet (= light purple) end of the range of colours that can be seen by humans. Light of this type causes the skin to become darker in the sun.

Word of the Day

convo noun
convo noun
May 23, 2016
informal a conversation The convo around concussions mostly focuses on guys who play football, but Chastain thinks that this whole thing could be a headache for women too.

Read More