Academic Word List hedging

Academic Word List generalizing/ hedging practice

Make a generalization using one of the words below or on that topic. The part in brackets is optional. Make sure you are careful to make the generalization accurate, including your level of certainty or uncertainty. Your partner will attempt to make you change your statement, by arguing that your level of certainty or estimate of how common it is are wrong, i.e. that they should be stronger or weaker, and/ or by asking questions.

Suggested language

But isn’t it more like…?/ I’d say (it’s more like)…/ I’d change that statement (slightly) to say…

Do you (really) mean (to say)…?

How common do you think that is?

How sure are you about that?/ What makes you so sure/ unsure?

I think it’s (slightly/ quite a lot/ a lot/ far) more/ less common than that.

I think that’s a bit of an overgeneralisation/ exaggeration./ Isn’t that (a bit of) an oversimplification?/ That is a bit of a stereotype, isn’t it?

I think you can be more certain about that. – I don’t think you can be so sure about that.

I wouldn’t go so far myself. – I’d go further and say…

Is it really so much/ many/ little/ often/ seldom/ likely/ unlikely?

Isn’t that a bit out of date?

That’s a bit vague./ I think you could be more precise.

What makes you think that?/ What evidence is there that…?/ Do you have any figures on that?

abandonment (of pets)

abstract art

abstracts (in academic papers)

academic standards (in high schools nowadays)

access (for disabled people)

acquisitiveness (= a nicer way to say greedy or consumerist)

adaptability (at work)

inadequacies (of young people)

inadequate (infrastructure/ reforms)

(foreign) aid

alternatives (to the present economic system)

ambiguity (in politicians’ statements/ newspaper editorials)

amendments (to the national constitution)

use of analogies (in fiction)

analytical (people)

appendices (in academic writing)

underappreciated (professions)

unapproachable (people)

inappropriate (things to read on trains)

arbitrary (decisions by school teachers)

(the national) assembly (of this country)

assessment (in universities)

assignments (in universities)

assistance (for single parents)

assumptions (people from this country have before travelling abroad)

attachments (to your hometown/ to emails)

unattainable (national goals/ goals of parents for their children)

attitudes (towards immigration)

(recognized) authorities (on academic areas)

automation (in factories)

availability (of credit)

awareness (of equal opportunities)

beneficiaries (of the present social welfare system)

bias (in newspapers/ on TV)

capabilities (of graduates)

chemicals (in food)


(interest in) classical music

coincidences (luck, and fate)

(relationships) with colleagues

(TV) commentators

commodity (prices)

uncommunicative (teenagers)

incompatible (couples)

compensation (given by courts in this country)

concentration (of power and money in the capital city/ powers of young people)

concepts (that should be taught at school)

inconclusive (conclusions in academic writing)

(bad) conduct (by teachers)

(the usefulness – or not – of academic) conferences

conflict (in married couples)

conformity (in this country)

consensus (decision making)

inconsistency (in what politicians say)

(national) constitutions

construction (by the government)


contemporary (art/ fiction)

contradictory (statements by politicians in the same party)

controversy (on Twitter)

unconventional (lifestyles)

convincing (other people)

cooperation (between academics)

corporate (responsibility)

creativity (in schools)

(consumer) credit

cultural (training)

(strong) currencies

(economic) cycles

All the vocabulary not in brackets above is from the Academic Word List. Ask about any words you don’t understand.


PDF version for easy saving and printing: awl-hedging

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